There has been a lot said about the championship and what winning has meant to different people. The story of Clemson triumphing over Alabama has been compared to the story of David defeating Goliath. I don’t feel it is quite that much of an underdog win but it is pretty amazing that Clemson was able to beat a team that many said was unbeatable. It was truly an unforgetable night but what I think is more memorable is how we got there.
It started with a gutsy victory in Auburn. We made the decision to forgo a field goal and trust the defense to hold. That nearly cost the game when Auburn threw the ball into the endzone with seconds to go however the pass was incomplete. The next game we struggled against Troy and everyone wondered what was wrong with our offense as we pulled off a win by a difference of only 6 points against a non division 1 team. Three weeks later we are down in the fourth quarter against a strong Louisville team and it looks like all hope is lost until Watson leads the team in a final drive to take the lead 42-36. Then two weeks later the team struggles again against an unranked NC state team. I remember standing in Death Valley with my dad as NC state drove down the field and lined up for an easy field goal with two seconds on the clock. I remember saying “well, we had a good run” as I resigned us to a loss. Then the stadium erupts when the kick sails wide left and we win in overtime. The next game found us in the most hostile of environments playing a tough Florida State team who won the National Championship just a few years prior. We fought and clawed our way to victory. After the game FSU’s coach would go on record to call the ref’s officiating “cowardly, gutless, and wrong” after a controversial call in a crutial part of the game. Then came the stunning loss to Pittsburgh at home in Death Valley. That loss seemed to turn the team around. It was the wake up call they needed. They would go on to beat Wake Forest and have a commanding victories over South Carolina and Ohio State.
If any small event had gone differently they may not have made it to the rematch with Alabama. If any one of hundreds of plays had been different the whole season could have been different. It was meant to be. It was destiny. And it was awesome.