With both Clemson and Georgia spending today away from the gridiron, I started thinking about the rematch.
We know there’ll be one on Aug. 30, 2014, in Athens.
But what if there was a rematch before then?
What if the Tigers and Bulldogs meet again in Pasadena on Jan. 6, 2014?
That’s the date and that’s the place where the last national championship game of the BCS era will be held, and how cool would it be if the two teams that started out the season with one of the best games of the year met in the biggest game of the year?
OK, laugh if you like, but don’t dismiss the idea. It could really happen.
I actually started entertaining the notion on the Sunday after Georgia defeated South Carolina.
Following the Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss to the Tigers on Aug. 31, I felt sure Mark Richt’s team would get better and better as the season wore on.
However, I wasn’t sure they would get better in time to beat USC. If they didn’t, an 0-2 record would’ve all but ended their national title aspirations.
But now — after jumping to No. 9 in the country and showing that their offense should be able to outscore their foes until the defense gets up to speed — the Red and Black is back in the hunt.
After resting up today UGA gets North Texas next week, and then LSU will line up Between the Hedges.
If Georgia beats those Tigers, watch out.
While the Dawgs still have to play at an improved Tennessee team on Oct. 5 and have their annual throwdown against Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 2, I like their chances to run the table and win the SEC East.
And if Georgia gets to Atlanta with an 11-1 record, rest assured it will be within striking distance of a No. 1 ranking.
And who might be holding down that top spot in December?
It could very well be Clemson.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are already No. 3, trailing only Alabama and Oregon. And based on the way they’re performing and the fact that I don’t think they’ve come close to hitting their stride, they might just be the best team to play in Death Valley in 32 years.
North Carolina State will no doubt be up for the Textile Bowl next Thursday, and the Wolfpack is a quality team.
But even though it’s a road game, I don’t see Clemson losing it — or even coming close to losing it.
And a glance at the schedule shows the next best challenge before going to Columbia on Nov. 30 comes on Oct. 19 when Florida State invades Memorial Stadium.
That might be a battle between two Top 5 teams, and it will probably be the game that determines who’ll play in the ACC Championship Game.
If the Tigers take care of business against the Seminoles, only South Carolina will be standing in the way of a perfect regular season.
Obviously, a lot has to happen before 13-0 Clemson plays 12-1 Georgia in the BCS National Championship Game in January.
Then again, a lot has to happen for any team to put itself in that situation.
This scenario is as plausible as anything else with two and a half months left before bowl bids go out.
No doubt next season’s matchup between Clemson and Georgia will have Sanford Stadium bursting at the seams, and it might very well be the game of the day on opening Saturday.
Still, it’s fun to think that this season the schools might meet in the game of year — for the second time.