NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When you’re in the midst of a historic trilogy, it’s hard to appreciate what it will mean to the ages.
Alabama is focused on beating Clemson.
Clemson is focused on beating Alabama.
Taking time to savor the first two chapters between these college football juggernauts — and, ohhh, are they worth savoring — will only get in the way of preparing for the rubber match.
“I just try to take it day by day,” Alabama center Bradley Bozeman said. “I’ll look back on it when I’m 40 or 50 years old.”
No matter what happens Monday night when the top-ranked Tigers take on the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game, this remarkable three-year run seems assured of joining all those great sporting rivalries that were doled out thrice.
“We’re in a good place if we’re seeing them,” Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said of the Tigers. “So, no, I’m not tired of them.”
For whatever reason, the trilogy holds a special place in the sports lexicon.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from one side pulling off a sweep (Affirmed edged Alydar three straight times to claim the 1978 Triple Crown) to those who saved the best for last (Ali beating Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila” after they split their first two heavyweight bouts) to matchups that signaled a changing of the guard (Nadal’s epic victory over Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final after losing to his Swiss rival the two previous years).