Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Clemson shows a certain 1980 champ how to update the resume


Note if any of this sounds familiar.

There’s a certain southern program with a loud and proud fan base that had been stuck on pretty good for what seemed like an eternity.

Its most recent national championship was back well before the enlightened age of the internet, long before your phones talked back to you. Closing in on four decades of longing.

Its fans always saw the program as more than did the rest of the world that did not view college football through their warped prism. It always thought so grandly of itself, even if true grandiosity flitted like a butterfly just out of reach.

Thinking here of the university that won a national championship one skinny year before Clemson’s 1981 breakthrough.

The comparison came to a rather major divergence Monday night when Clemson unseated mighty Alabama on a last-second touchdown in a spellbinding national championship game. Despite occupying a different position, that was quarterback Deshaun Watson nonetheless playing the role of Herschel Walker.

And Georgia, you’re still on the clock.

So directly did Clemson coach Dabo Swinney seem to be addressing the Georgia faithful at one point last week that he should ask for a speaker’s fee. He was going on about how these championships don’t have to be the property of a very select few, and what a Clemson victory might mean to the rest of the yearning masses.

“I think it would hopefully inspire a lot of other programs,” he said. “Certainly eight years ago, I don’t think anybody saw us as a national championship contender. We were a solid program, but we weren’t a national championship contender.”

Imagine if you can, Georgia people, flipping the world’s perception on the irrefutable evidence of one galvanizing run.

It can be really satisfying apparently.

Man, was Swinney feeling it late Monday/early Tuesday. In his postgame presser, he made sure to point out that over the course of this one season, the Tigers had beaten the past seven national champions (Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and Auburn).

And to the victor goes the sweet privilege of settling old grievances with anyone who talked you down; of crowing alone and undisputed like a rooster at dawn. Imagine how fine that would feel, Georgia people.

Swinney doesn’t seem the vengeful type, but he did make sure to take care of a score with one Fox Sports talking head who in November had these words he’ll now be swallowing: “Clemson’s a fraud. Clemson is going to get their ears boxed by whoever they play (in the postseason). ... I don’t buy into Clemson. They are the New York Giants of college football.” (That transcript courtesy of CBS Sports.com).

The coach’s classic response/rant after undoing Alabama: “You got to change the narrative. Y'all got to mix it up. The guy that called us a fraud, ask Alabama if we're a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd? (I think he knew the name well). I don't know him, never met him. Ask Alabama if we're a fraud. Ask Ohio State if we're a fraud. Ask Oklahoma if we're a fraud. The only fraud is that guy because he didn't do his homework. I hope y'all print that.”

OK, we’ll at least commit it to digital characters here in the new age that has commenced since Clemson’s previous title.

Imagine how good and soul-cleansing it would be to remedy every petty slight suffered over the years.

That's what sustains a multitude of programs, not just Georgia’s.


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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.