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If Clemson beats Alabama, it will take a great performance to do it

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If Clemson University is indeed to knock off the University of Alabama Monday night, it will take an epic performance.

It usually does.

Alabama, it seems, is always sniffing around the championship. Don’t judge the Tide simply by the three titles it’s won in the last seven years. Judge them by their misses, too, misses that included memorable performances by such players as Ohio State’s Ezekial Elliott, Auburn kick returner Chris Davis, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Except for those, Alabama might have even more trophies.

For instance, there was last season, when the Tide dropped a 42-35 playoff game to Ohio State. Don’t forget, however, that it was a nail-biter of a game until late when Elliott broke an 85-yard run with 3:24 to play to put the game away. Alabama finished fourth.

The previous season, Alabama seemed headed for another title game when Davis caught a short field goal attempt and ran 100 yards down the left sideline for the upset. The Tide finished seventh in the AP poll.

Then there was 2010, when Newton’s fourth-quarter touchdown beat Alabama 28-27. The Tide finished 10th.

Coach Nick Saban‘s first shot at the title was in 2009 when the Tide finished sixth. Alabama led Florida going into the fourth period that year, but Tebow led the Gators to two scores for the win.

Always, it seems to take an effort-for-the-ages to beat the Tide. Remember, once it was Joe Montana who kept Alabama from winning one under Bear Bryant. Does Deshaun Watson have it in him? Wayne Gallman?

We’ll see.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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