Two national championships removed from an SEC hegemony, and here we are again. The world is putting its money on the machine with laser-like precision that has been the toast of other automatons who you call co-workers. That machine is the Alabama Crimson Tide, as controlled by its monomaniacal creator, Nick Saban.
For some of us, 2015 was a year of fulfillment, consistency and hope. For the rest, it served unpredictable dishes with sides of indifferent mediocrity, crushing despair and lukewarm-bordering-on-cold broccoli. That’s not to say that lukewarm-bordering-on-cold broccoli is necessarily bad, but it definitely could’ve been better.
No matter the feeling of leaving 2015 in the cracked rear view, a new calendar is upon us. With it comes so many more opportunities for change, inspiring moments in sports, reasons to believe, heartbreaking losses and chances to leave your friends hanging by staying in on a weekend night because you don’t want to deal with it. We at TwH get that. In that spirit, we gathered around our digital campfire and threw darts into our brains trying to pinpoint some of what we think may come to fruition in the coming year. Don’t quote us on this.
On Saturday night, for the first time since 1977, when Joe Montana led the soon-to-be national champion Fighting Irish to a 21-17 victory, Notre Dame visited Clemson in Death Valley. Because of Hurricane Joaquin, South Carolina Governor (and Clemson alum) Nikki Haley warned fans to avoid attending the game unless absolutely necessary. With playoff hopes in the balance for both teams, a muddy slugfest was all but inevitable. For all intents and purposes, this was to be the biggest college football game of the season thus far.
They weren’t going to let a little bit of rain stop them from enjoying themselves. Neither was I.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT)
If there’s anything you can say about Dabo Swinney, I think “he’s consistent” would be appropriate. From being enthusiastic in post game interviews that happen to be on live TV, to maybe being a little too blunt, (about athlete unions, or something that another coach didn’t say, or criticizing the on campus dorms at Clemson) to coming up on the losing end of “big games”, (5 straight losses to South Carolina, two straight double digit losses to Florida State) to being at the helm of the best 5 year stretch the school has seen in at least 20 years, what you see is what you’re going to get with “that boy.”
“WORST MOTHERFUCKER NEVER LOVED US.”
This is the first line from Drake’s “Worst Behavior.” I have been listening to this song a lot lately because I am one of those motherfuckers who never loved Drake, got a late pass and decided to listen to this album a month ago. This song has stood out to me because it’s Drake’s musical double middle finger salute. It may be counteracted by “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” but still, this song is the hardest I’ve heard by the rapper pejoratively referred to as Young Garnier Fructis by “Ghostface Killah.”
It’s a song that I didn’t see coming, but that’s because I never held any microscope to the former DeGrassi star. I just assumed Drake was going to keep doing Drake things, like sulking sensually. Nope, Drake has a breaking point when he can’t stop thinking about people like me who never thought he did anything other than the aforementioned. “Worst Behavior” is a Twitter rant, a response to being disrespected. It’s Roy Hibbert’s “y’all motherfuckers don’t watch us” set to a trap beat. It was the soundtrack to my attitude on Friday night, when my social media outlets filled with solid orange glee from Clemson fans.
Last year, Clemson and Georgia were both disappointed. They were both playing in non-BCS bowls and looking back at their schedules with questions of “what ifs” floating around all over the place. The Bulldogs were five yards away from the national championship game, while the Tigers were one night in September away from earning another ACC title and, consequently, another trip to the Orange Bowl. Both teams walked away from their lesser bowls with a win, top ten preseason rankings, a scheduled game on August 31st in Memorial Stadium and another “dark horse” label.