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BALLFIVE: Confidence leads to wins

College football’s national championship game was being played on Monday. For what was undoubtedly the most important part of the game, I was wrapped up in the Lady Tigers winning an important basketball game over Standing Rock.
After the Lady Tigers got done doing their thing, I got to watch some of the game. It was, of course, all Clemson by then. I didn’t get to see them beat Alabama. I just got to watch them finish beating Alabama.
So, Tuesday morning I brewed some coffee and sat down with the postgame experts on the television to hear their thoughts. Here’s what I think I learned.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was convinced he had a better team than coach Nick Saban did at Alabama. He sold it to his players, probably all year that they were the best team in all the land. Then the game started. The teams knocked heads up and down the field a couple of times, and all the kids on the Clemson side realized their coach had been right all along. They were the best team. Sometimes that’s all it takes. That kind of awakening spurs a team to playing like they cannot lose. And you know what? They can’t.
Don’t ever let anyone play the “choke” card with Alabama on Monday night. They did not choke. They simply got whooped by a better team.
You know, it’s funny in sports that way. Every time there is a big game, be it the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the World Series, or a college national championship, it doesn’t matter which sport, but one team loses. It seems like in the aftermath of these games, the sports world is not digging into why the winning team won, it is delving into why the losing team lost.
The very first thing I saw this morning was a tweet # Alabama chokes. Then the talking heads brought up the Tide going for it on fourth down and failing and having a fake field goal stopped short of the first down, as reasons Alabama lost. It’s an easier discussion than that. Alabama lost because Clemson was better. The talk should have been about Clemson, the national champions.
In truth, maybe I missed the part of the show that was all about Clemson, but I doubt it. It’s kind of a societal thing these days to talk about the negative aspects of anything.
So here’s a positive. In the second half saw couple of Clemson freshman, a quarterback and a wide receiver, who are going to be some kind of exciting tandem to see next fall. The Clemson Tigers are the new “It” in college football so there will be plenty of chances to watch Trevor Lawrence playing catch with Justyn Ross.
The Lady Tiger game last night was kind of an analogy of the national championship game.
The Lady Tigers were the better team last night. Coach Lindsey Bachman was sure of that and had tried to plant that in the girls’ collective brains. For a quarter, the Lady Tigers were the better team, but they weren’t playing better than the Lady Warriors. Then something clicked. The Lady Tigers realized Coach was right and they played like they were the best team on the court from the second quarter on.
The difference in the two games was a pretty big difference though. The Lady Tigers were playing in a game at the midway point of their season, while the Clemson Tigers were playing on the biggest stage of all. But in both cases, confidence and self-belief made the cream rise.