My first growl: A Clemson cub eyes NCAA Football Championship victory

My first growl: A Clemson cub eyes NCAA Football Championship victory

by Olivia DuBro, Editor-In-Chief

Ah, the College Football Playoff National Championship…

Filled with ruthless tackles, booming fans, Hail Marys, and touchdown celebrations. This sporting event is the New Year’s Eve ball drop of college sporting events.

The 2016 championship game is between the Crimson Tide of University of Alabama (#2) and the Tigers of Clemson University (#1).

Now, I know what you’re thinking– ‘She’s obsessed with Clemson; both of her parents studied there. She’s been accepted to the Class of 2020. She can’t possibly be impartial,’ but just because I’m attending Clemson University next year doesn’t mean I can’t put aside my bias for the sake of a silly football game . . .?

You’re right. I can’t, but I can tell you what it’s like to be a fan of a college football team who’s on its way to obtaining a national title.

(Fun fact: I actually visited and was accepted to Alabama, but nothing compares to the academics, atmosphere, and traditions of Clemson; Alabama trumps Clemson in football wins, but Clemson has the tradition noted as the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.)

During the regular season, Clemson Tigers went undefeated, beating big football powerhouses like Notre Dame (a thrilling game which I attended and roared at like a true Tiger) and Florida State (a nerve wracking game my family watched at home–R.I.P to the couches we jumped on after every big game.)

Alabama, too, had an impressive season. After a heart-wrenching loss to Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide proved themselves by winning all other games including Mississippi State and Georgia.

Alabama is a monster of a football team. They have won 15 National Championship titles, three of which have been in the past 10 years. Clemson, on the other hand, has won only a single National Championship in football wayyy back in 1981, but they’re no underdog. The boys in orange are equipped with a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, my future husband, Deshaun Watson. (A girl can dream.)

Clemson has been turning heads. No one expected a year like this, not even Tiger fans. In the past, the Tiger team has suffered crippling and unexpected losses to unranked teams, coining the term “clemsoning,”or “an inexplicably disappointing performance” as stated by Urban Dictionary, especially against unranked teams. I’ve had many a friend tease me about this ridiculous word, and I certainly have no problem spouting information to defend my team like a linebacker, but no one has shut down Clemson-haters like head coach and Clemson hero, Dabo Swinney.

When asked about “clemsoning” in a press conference, Swinney said, “…I mean I’m serious. I’m sick of it. I don’t even know why we bring up the daggum word… That’s our 33rd win versus an unranked opponent. We haven’t lost to an unranked opponent since 2011, but I have to come to a press conference in 2015 and get asked that?….It’s a lack of respect. It’s not doing your homework and paying attention to what reality is….Period….They’ve earned everything they got.”

Mess with the tiger, get the roar.

Seeing that Clemson has a perfect record, despite not having the favorable vote for any ranked team they played this year, I would say they’ve outlived the “clemsoning” title.

Notorious for his dance moves in the locker room, Swinney is a bubbly, passionate energy that most can’t help but love. (He even rewarded the town of Clemson with a 25,000 person pizza party after the team’s win against UNC in the ACC Championship game.) Here’s the catch: Swinney played for Alabama in college, giving this new-found rivalry a friendly twist.

Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, is a certified football coaching robot with an ‘on to the next one’ kind of attitude. He has been nicknamed the grimmest coach in college football. When asked if Saban would finally smile after the Crimson Tide’s dominating win over Michigan State in the Cotton bowl, Saban replied, “Well, we’ve got another game.”

While Clemson was taking 5 to enjoy pizza and their ranking at number 1, ‘Bama players were attending another grueling practice. Ain’t no rest for the wicked, I guess. I don’t know about you, but I know who I’d rather have as my coach.

If Clemson crushes the Crimson Tide like I’ve been dreaming, then Clemson will be the first team to have a 15-0 season since 1897 (Penn State), but (surprise, surprise) Clemson is not expected to win. Alabama is a seven-point favorite.

The two teams face off Monday, January 11, 2016 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Since my birthday is the 12th, all I’m asking for on my sweet 18 is a victory by my boys in orange.

As Dabo Swinney would say, B.Y.O.G.: Bring your own guts, boys!