Clemson Had The Dude: Deshaun Watson
Why did Clemson win the national title? Sometimes, you have The Dude Thoughts on this in the Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy.
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
I was picked.
“The Dude abides. I don’t know about you but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.”
Sometimes, a team just has The Dude.
It’s my new favorite go-to line that makes me sound deeper than the puddle of thought that I actually am: the result dictates the narrative.
If Clemson had lost the College Football Playoff National Championship, or more specifically, had Deshaun Watson not marched the team on the game-winning drive, we’d be praising Steve Sarkisian, the Jalen Hurts run, the resiliency of the Alabama juggernaut, and on and on and on.
The Alabama Wins narrative would’ve been easy, and while the Crimson Tide had a whole bunch of dudes, in Tampa, it didn’t have THE Dude.
There’s a reason I’m making this dude thing annoying – it’s because that how everyone closed a conversation in the media hotel hospitality room, all the way up until the 4;30 am closing time, and in the elevators upstairs, and past the lobby bar, and at the front desk. In all the post-game analysis, and all the talk, and all the banter, it all came down to the same thing.
“Clemson just had The Dude.”
Mike Williams made himself some money, Jordan Leggett showed why he’ll be on fantasy teams for the next decade, the Hunter Renfro thing was cute and fuzzy, and Ben Boulware came up with a big boy performance, but this will always the Deshaun Watson game.
There were a whole slew of NFL talents on the 2006 Texas team that beat USC in that epic Rose Bowl for the national championship, but Texas had the guy – sorry, I’ve tired of the dude theme, too. That was the Vince Young game, just like Auburn had the Cam Newton game and season, just like Florida State had Jameis Winston.
Sometimes, an ultra-talented team has an ultra-talented top three NFL Draft-caliber quarterback, and that’s the difference. One team has the magical playmaker who just can’t be stopped in key, clutch situations, and the other team doesn’t.
That’s not to say that Marcus Mariota, Peyton Manning and others through the years didn’t have the talent or ability, and it doesn’t mean that the Winstons and Watsons of the world always won the biggest games, but in the right years at the right times, they were the ones who put their signature stamps on a team and a national title.
These were the ones who brought greatness to a game, sometimes facing big-time odds against them.
Watson struggled early, and he got knocked around, but he threw for 420 yards and three scores, and ran for one more against a defense full of ultra-motivated talents trained to slow him down. And when the team needed him the most, he pulled out an epic, unforgettable win because he was the best player on the field.
Clemson had him, Alabama didn’t.
You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. That’s what Clemson had.
Deshaun Watson was the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
The Dude – and all the Clemson faithful – abides.