Going back to 2008, Texas A&M has faced one of the teams playing in the national championship game in all but 3 seasons (2010, 2011, 2014). The trajectory of the program’s standing over the last decade is trending undeniably upward: a conference change, a Heisman, an SEC Coach of the Year, a trio of top-2 overall draft picks, the highest profile coaching hire in recent memory, and so forth. The Aggies have gone bowling for ten straight seasons, a school record that shows no signs of cooling down any time soon.
For the first time in A&M history, both of the teams playing in the national title game were regular season opponents. Not only that, but they played both of them relatively well. It’s a far cry from watching an Oklahoma or Texas team that beat the Aggies by 2+ scores get rolled by SEC squads like the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
We’re in the middle of it now, and we’re managing to hold our own. Watching Clemson and Alabama play out this current national title rivalry series has been a breath of fresh air after the stale aura of Alabama dominance that seemed to permeate college football once Saban’s machine got up and humming to his exacting standards. We wanted someone to challenge Alabama, and now we have it. And the scheduling gods did us a favor with the timing of this Clemson series, even though it’s daunting as hell when you’re staring at that future schedule in the long and brooding offseason.
But if you’re scared of losing, you shouldn’t be playing the game. This isn’t a Texas-type situation where Internet badasses can convince themselves that they aren’t really afraid of losing to the Longhorns by grandstanding on recruiting rankings or revenue or other meaningless garbage fed into the maw of the unrelenting cesspit of the Internet. No, with Clemson and Alabama we have to play the games, and we played them reasonably well in 2018.
Tonight when you watch, try to forget all the bullshit noise. Forget about “Alabama/Clemson Fatigue.” Forget the counterarguments that if you have “Alabama/Clemson Fatigue” you are a bad football fan. Just watch two incredible, undefeated football teams playing their fourth straight national title tilt and realize that we played Clemson to the wire and put up a respectable show in Tuscaloosa. And we get to try it all over again in less than a year.
The next step is winning one of those games. That’s what Jimbo Fisher will be thinking about tonight. Enjoy the ride.