The time is nigh.
After what seemed an endless chasm of 8 days between Alabama’s desiccation of Washington and today, January 9th, the big event is only a couple of hours away. We’ve gone from overreacting to Clemson’s annihilation of Ohio State to thinking the Alabama will come in with a chip on their shoulder and back and forth at least three times all week.
The national media seems pretty split on this game, as does most of the U.S. really. With the recency bias of last week’s semifinal games mixed in with a strong national desire for Alabama to stop winning everything, Clemson has a really strong backing. Not strong enough, however, to erase the sense of inevitability of a Tide win from the minds of many— especially those with money on the line.
Sure, Clemson has the offense. But Alabama has the defense. Forget all the storylines of strengths and weaknesses for each team. This is #1 and #2, and it’s for all the marbles. These are elite, balanced units where the only weaknesses are relative.
Myself? I think Alabama wins by two possessions in a much less dramatic fashion than last year. Could I see the game going in pretty much any other direction, though? Yeah, I could.
If Clemson wins, they’ll redeem last year’s loss and officially establish themselves as part of the elite in college football (for those few that don’t already consider them to be so). If Alabama wins, then it will be their first undefeated season since the 2009 championship year, validation for perhaps the greatest defense in school history, validation for the greatest coach of all time, and a furthering of the gap between the best program of all time and the rest of the college football world.
It’s the biggest stage, the biggest moment. For most of the people out there, this will be one of the most prodigious and monumental moments of their entire lives. For half of them, it will end in exuberance, celebration, and accomplishment.
So, grab your nachos. Fluff up your favorite sofa. Use the bathroom before hand. This is it folks. The big one.
(and while you fret incessantly for the next few hours as anxiety takes over like I am, feel free to join in the comments with the rest of the RBR community).