Dave George: What a great game! Wish I had seen it!


How jealous can one man be?

So many of you were up and hyperventilating Monday night at the exact moment Dabo Swinney decided to reject the safer field-goal route into overtime and go for the win against Alabama instead. It must have been glow-in-the-dark magic.

In my case, however, the dreaded sofa monster was making all the decisions, drooping and finally slamming eyelids down long before midnight.

Just like that, one of the greatest national championship games ever played was reduced to ESPN’s edited highlights. Unsatisfactory in every way, which may have contributed to this manic flow of morning-after thoughts on Clemson’s 35-31 victory and the glorious circus appeal of college football in general.

1. Only loony Les Miles could have felt completely comfortable taking a snap with six seconds remaining like Clemson did.

Even with one timeout still in hand, there was no guarantee that the clock could be stopped in time for another play, especially if Deshaun Watson had found his receiver covered and been forced to pinball his way through traffic toward the goal line.

2. Angry Alabama fans will long remember this as the year that new FAU coach Lane Kiffin left the program one week before the national title game and cost Nick Saban another championship, but that’s not entirely fair.

Steve Sarkisian was doing just fine as the Crimson Tide’s playcaller until running back Bo Scarbrough broke his leg in the third quarter. Bottom line, the Tide scored 31 points against a Clemson defense that shut out Ohio State the previous week. Kiffin couldn’t have done much more.

3. So much has changed since Clemson’s first national title 35 years ago that it doesn’t even seem like the same game.

I covered the Tigers’ 22-15 Orange Bowl win over Nebraska on Jan. 1, 1982. Didn’t matter that Clemson was undefeated. Las Vegas listed the ACC champions as 4 ½-point underdogs that night. Look at the conference’s reputation now.

4. Difficult to believe that Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have never met as head coaches, but it’s coming, and quick.

Alabama and Florida State will play the first regular-season college game at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 2, 2017. If AP voters rank them 1-2 in the preseason poll, and that might happen, it would mark the first time the top two teams have met on the opening Saturday.

5. The Florida Gators are revving up early, too, with a game against Michigan at Jerry’s World in Texas on that same opening weekend.

Truth is, Jim Harbaugh would probably be more concerned about facing the South Florida Bulls right now. Jim McElwain will have to get his quarterback situation stamped, sealed and efficiently delivered this summer in order to change my opinion on that.

6. Miami found its way back into the AP Final Poll at No. 20, but the news gets even better.

The Hurricanes don’t have to play Clemson or Louisville in 2017. Can’t do much about that trip to Tallahassee, but all in all this is about as favorable as it gets for Mark Richt in his mission to make Miami matter again. Another shot at Notre Dame, this time at Hard Rock Stadium, will help only if the Hurricanes get it right.

7. Former Boynton Beach High School star Lamar Jackson will face more skepticism in his bid to win another Heisman.

Louisville’s three-game losing skid to end the season included a 10-for-27 passing day and eight sacks for Jackson in a lopsided bowl loss to LSU. Some new star seems to come out of nowhere each season, of course. Used to be Lamar, but now they’re all coming for him.

8. Not many college fans shed a tear when Nick Saban and Urban Meyer get tripped up on the verge of another championship.

Better enjoy the moment. These guys are recruiting machines with a long list of top assistants and they’re going to be favorites to make the College Football Playoff field until some NFL team coughs up enough money to drag them away.

9. The next three national championship games are scheduled for Atlanta, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Stephen Ross and Hard Rock Stadium have just got to get in on this when the bidding on future sites comes up again. Miami hasn’t had one of these since Alabama-Notre Dame on Jan. 7, 2013, and the next national semifinal in the Orange Bowl is two years away.

10. Gee, it’s been almost two minutes since anybody mentioned Lane Kiffin.

His first two assignments as FAU’s coach are a home game against Navy and a trip to Wisconsin. Don’t feel bad for the guy, though. The dead period for recruiting ends Wednesday and Lane needs a big battle flag to wave.

Meanwhile, stay away from sofas and recliners and all other comfortable TV room furniture. They are mindless contraptions with no appreciation for history in the making, plus they eat remotes.



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