Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Alabama and Clemson Are Playing for National Title

Clemson/Tide will keep playing until someone does something about it

People are tired of Alabama playing Clemson every year and say isn’t good for college football.

“When we play Alabama usually we’re in a championship,” Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell matter-of-factly says.

People say we need fresh story lines, different mascots, new coaches to heckle and hector.

People have had it with Nick Saban, up three touchdowns with the greatest roster of semi-pros ever assembled, smashing his headsets to smithereens over an illegal procedure call on his left tackle.

If only Dino at Syracuse could supplant Dabo at Clemson as our nation’s funny-named superstar coach.

Poor Tom Rinaldi of ESPN has jerked every tear out of Alabama and Clemson and is looking to move his violin section to another rivalry.

But here we go again. Alabama and Clemson ARE playing again and there’s nothing you, I or the lamppost can do about it. It's left-handed Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback for Bama and long-haired Trevor Lawrence for the Tigers.

Monday night in Santa Clara?

Oh yeah, for sure, but this is also an early-bird preview for next season’s national title in New Orleans.

It’s going to happen again, folks.

The big stars and coaches involved in Monday’s games are all going to be back. And the players lost will be replaced by waves of five-star recruits.

The offensive and defensive lines for both schools make the lines of your school look like the tug-of-war at your annual company picnic.

Alabama and Clemson have rendered moot all serious discussion about the College Football Playoff.

Four teams, eight teams, 16 teams—what does it matter until anyone can beat these two?

So long as Alabama and Clemson are rolling you don’t need a system to pick the top two teams in college football. Even the BCS would have gotten this right.

The answer for all the others is simple, but difficult: do something about it. Get bigger, stronger and tougher. The problem is college football is not an equal-opportunity employer. College rewards dictatorships, hoarding and strong-arming. It doesn’t mind school-yard bullies stealing your lunch money.

Unlike the NFL, there are no limits to how many first-round picks you can sign every year. There are no salary caps, franchise tags or players’ unions.

Saban and Swinney are simply the two best coaches at two universities that care very deeply about football. They operate in regions where you can haul in four-star recruits with a large net.

Schools look so good standing next to Alabama that places like Georgia can brag about almost beating the Tide several times since its last win over Alabama in 2007.

LSU can stay in the top 10 some years after losing, at home, to Alabama by the score of 29-0.

Florida can be the best three-loss team in America every year simply by missing Alabama on its schedule but knowing some year the schools will have to play.

Texas A&M paid Jimbo Fisher $75 million and was thrilled when he almost defeated Clemson in a season opener.

These are tough obstacle to overcome at a time when used-to-be somethings like USC can’t get out of its own way, Florida State is coached by Willie Taggart, Miami keeps hiring coaches from Temple; Ohio State keeps losing road games in the Big Ten and Auburn doesn’t play up to its potential until the Music City Bowl.

So buckle-up people. It’s Alabama and Clemson this Monday in Santa Clara and next year in New Orleans. Saban vs. Swinney, and Tua vs. Trevor.

Next year's title-game match-up will the fourth in the last five years.

"We're very familiar with Alabama," Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney says. "Same bat channel...You just turn the page, whatever year."

If you don’t like it, call your local Athletic Director. And then do something about it.

"I'm not going to apologize for having a great team and a great program, and a bunch of committed guys, and Coach Saban is not either," Swinney said Sunday in San Jose and next year in New Orleans.

Mark it down. We can’t wait to get to Bourbon Street and shuck some oysters.

Good news for this year’s Alabama-Clemson complainers: the game is right in the heart of Whine Country.

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Chris Dufresne
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