TAMPA, Fla.—Rankman awoke early to his Thursday alarm and hopped on two Southwest flights heading south east,  only to touch down in Tampa hours later to learn Alabama and Clemson were playing Monday night for the championship of college football.


Wasn’t last year’s title game in Arizona good enough?

Now that was a game to remember, as much as I can remember it. What I recall mainly is Alabama Coach Nick Saban calling a surprise on-sides kick in the fourth quarter to keep the ball away from Deshaun Watson and Clemson’s offense.

It was a terrific, brilliant and totally out-of-character call that helped clinch a thrilling Crimson Tide victory. After the game, one corner of Saban’s mouth appeared to rise higher than the other to constitute what has largely been accepted since as a “smile.”

But here’s the thing: don’t expect that on-sides kick to work again on Clemson, right?

Rematches are almost always a bad idea–even if this one couldn’t be prevented after Alabama and Clemson won their national semifinal games…again.

This is different than Liz Taylor marrying Richard Burton a second time—that was a choice. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.