Alabama Versus Clemson: The Game That Launched Both Programs Toward Dynasty Status

Alabama Versus Clemson: The Game That Launched Both Programs Toward Dynasty Status

As Alabama and Clemson play once again for all the college football marbles, this game in 2008 helped spark what these programs have become today.

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Most people who watch and follow college football could've never imagined what would happen to either team who participated in the first-ever Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on August 30, 2008. Alabama was the underdog against a top-10 ranked Clemson team. Looking back, it's hard to believe Alabama was an underdog in that game.

The 24th-ranked Crimson Tide dominated Clemson in that game, 34-10. Later that season, the Tigers would fire their head coach at that time, which was Terry Bowden. Little did they know that his successor, Dabo Swinney, would be the coach to allow this program to burst onto the national scene.

That year, the Tide went 12-2 in Nick Saban's second season as head coach, losing only to the 2008 national champions Florida and Utah in the Sugar Bowl that season. Clemson limped to a 7-6 record (ironically the same record Alabama had the year before), with Dabo Swinney taking over midway through the season. Dabo would later earn the full-time head coaching job.

Fast forward a few years to January 2016. These two teams faced off again, this time for a National Championship. Clemson entered the game 14-0, while Alabama was 13-1. In what was a classic game, which included a second-half comeback by Alabama in part due to a gutsy onside kick, the Tide beat Clemson 45-40 to win the National Championship for the 2015 season.

The next season, the two teams once again played one another for a National Championship. With Alabama leading 31-28 in the fourth after a Jalen Hurts touchdown drive, Deshaun Watson threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow to win the National Championship, 35-31, on the game's final play. That game marked the first time Nick Saban lost in a National Championship game.

The two teams once again played in the 2017 season, this time in the Sugar Bowl, which was one of the two semifinal games last season. Alabama won convincingly in that game, 24-6, behind an interception and touchdown reception by defensive lineman Daron Payne. Alabama went on to beat Georgia the following week in a second-half comeback sparked by true freshman sensation Tua Tagovailoa to win the National Championship 26-23, in what went down as an instant classic of a game, won by Tua's pass to Devonta Smith on 2nd & 26 in overtime.


On Monday night, Alabama and Clemson will once again play for all the college football marbles. Both teams enter the National Championship in the California Bay Area 14-0, with the winner being the first team to win 15 games since Penn did so in the late 1890s. Both teams have dynamic quarterbacks and playmakers on each side of the ball. While I hope that the Tide will roll to victory, this matchup could go either way.

Just imagine how different everything could've been for both teams had Clemson won that 2008 game against Alabama. Dabo would probably still be an unknown person, possibly taking a job at a lower tier program. Terry Bowden might still be the Clemson coach. Nick Saban might've had to take longer to build the dynasty he has built, with 5 national championships in 9 seasons.

Clemson may not have even won the 2016 season National Championship.

That game in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in 2008 helped launch both teams into the success they are currently seeing. Without that game, or even with a different result in that game, we might not have seen these two programs become as successful as they have.

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Family Is So Much More Than Shared DNA

Is family people who you barely talk to yet are related by some blood connection or is it people who have your best interest at heart and love you regardless?

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What exactly is a family? Is it people who you barely talk to yet are related by some blood connection or is it people who have your best interest at heart and love you regardless?

I feel like a majority of my life, I was surrounded by people who I was just related to by blood and who never really had my best interests in mind. They "loved" me but only like it was some sort of obligation for being a niece, cousin, or grandchild. Sure, I got nice gifts for my birthday and Christmas, but it felt like they were just throwing money at me to show affection. There was even a period of my life where I felt like I was in competition with my cousin to be seen or be the "favorite." It was a toxic environment, and I didn't even realize it until I got into high school. I just thought that's how a family was supposed to be.

Eventually, my parents and I grew distant until we were dropped by that extent of the family. We no longer wanted to be pawns in their little games. I'm from a small town with a huge Italian population. A family is everything! However, with the strange dynamic shift in my family, I always felt like I was missing out. I didn't understand why I didn't have a large family to have weekly dinners or cousins to hang out with.

Yes, we are "friends" on Facebook, but that is all artificial. They will like posts I made or comment "proud of you," but they do not call or ask to meet up. They only show public displays of affection and support, but they refuse to be there when you need them the most. When I turned 18, I asked for an explanation for the pain caused but was told I needed to get over it and move on. I'm sorry, but who gave you the right to tell me how I handle my trauma?

Yes, we are "friends" on Facebook, but that is all artificial. They will like posts I made or comment "proud of you," but they do not call or ask to meet up. When I turned 18, I asked for an explanation for the pain caused but was told I needed to get over it and move on. I'm sorry, but who gave you the right to tell me how I handle my trauma? Even though the pain of losing family members hurt, it ultimately was the best thing that happened.

I grew closer with my parents in ways I never thought I would. I have a very honest relationship with both of them. I know I am constantly supported by them regardless of my life decisions, and I am truly blessed for that.

It also made me aware that there is no singular definition of family. I considered my best friends to be a part of my family. They too are people I can turn towards for basically anything and everything. I will get calls and texts just checking in and asking how I am doing. I've even got small "thinking of you" gifts. All of this I never experienced with the people who are actually supposed to be my so-called "family." Anyone who is willing to be there for me as I am for them is family to me.

So to the ones who are always there for me whether near or far, thank you for showing me the true meaning of family.

Being related to someone by blood does not excuse the toxicity someone has. You are not forced to love someone who causes you emotional, physical, and/or mental pain just because you guys are related. We did not sign some contract that prohibits this foul treatment from those we may share the same DNA with.

If there is anyone searching for their own definition of family, don't worry, I'm here for you.

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Skipping Class In College Is Different Than Skipping Class In High School

I literally can't afford to miss class.

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Starting college right out of high school is exhilarating. Especially if you move away from home. You feel free. You can do whatever you want. And even better, you choose your classes.

The real pain is actually going to class. I don't understand how I was able to wake up at 6am, be at school at 7:30 to 3:30 and go to drama club or sometimes work from 4-10 and STILL go home and do homework for 3 hours. After one semester in college, I can't even go to 3 1-hour classes without feeling exhausted.

There are times when you wake up, contemplating your whole existence. You ask yourself, "Do I REALLY want to graduate?" or maybe you even be like, "Dropping out sounds so good right now." And this is especially if you choose morning classes.

No one is there to force you to go to class.

You have to decide if it is worth it.

Some classes do take attendance, and you end up using all your skips anyways. But going to class really is a challenge. I, personally, feel more inclined to do something if my mom is making me do it.

However, here, no one is here to remind me. I then remember that I am paying for this and so I have to go. I think to myself that I don't want to be a disappointment so I force myself to go.

Missing one day, however, will kill you. Lessons move so fast, that you could blink and miss something that will be on your final.

In high school, you skip class, and first they call your parents. Sucks, right? But you can go back to the class the next day and still be learning what you were learning a week ago. You miss one day and people notice. Your teacher notices, your classmates notice. Your friends definitely notice. You have multiple classes a day where you see multiple people for multiple hours.

And more often than not, your teacher will always let you do make-up work.

I want the college experience to be exactly as it is now, BUT with more skip days. My mental tiredness is important too!

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