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The unbearable likeness of Dabo Swinney
Jeff Whitten may 2017
Jeff Whitten

Oh, the horror.

I am of course referring to Monday night’s College Football Playoff Championship on ESPN brought to you by who knows how many advertisers who passed the costs on to their customers whether they like college football or not.

I spout that without knowing for sure who sponsored Monday’s blowout Clemson win, though I’d boycott them if I did.

What I do recall after going to bed at halftime was waking up to learn that Clemson won, handily, whipping Alabama like Alabama usually whips everybody else. Like a rented mule is how some put it. Others say brake shoes got beat off, and so on.

All fit. It was, from all I saw, read and heard, a beat down of epic proportions, one so bad that even Nick Saban, the great perfectionist of our time himself, didn’t get mad like he did when Georgia Southern under Jeff Monken ran triple- option through the Crimson Tide defense like certain four-letter excrement through a tin horn with that swirly Alabama A on it.

Nope. Saban just kind of said, “dang.”

I can respect that. Sometimes, all you can do is admit you got killed, buried, dug up and killed again, and move on to the next thing on your to-do list, like seeking revenge.

While the Clemson win was welcome for at least one of the Pembroke Mafia Football League members - that would be B.J. Clark, our erstwhile admiral in chief, and an ardent Auburn fan - for me it was about the worst thing that could ever happen with clothes on. And there was nothing I could do about it but not watch. Let me explain.

I am from South Carolina, and hail on my father’s side from a clan of sawed off South Carolinians who date back into the 1700s, with much of our history taking place in that area of the Palmetto State known as the Upstate.

You could find them on mill hills. Or running moonshine. Or both. Usually both. All within shouting distance of Clemson. In fact, at least one and probably more of my paternal ancestors are planted in the Old Stone Church not far from Clemson, and these days I have many a large cousin who wears that orange and purple proudly.

The same is probably true of my mother’s side of the family, which hails from Anderson and North Georgia and Virginia, I am told by my favorite confederate, Frank Grimm - though as I recall my mother’s supply of cousins were less interested in college football and more into professional wrestling, but I digress.

In short, none of my family went to Clemson (my sister did and it turned her into a hippy but that’s another story), but they brag on them Clemson Tigers.

All except one large cousin who likes Georgia, but then he’s the black sheep of that particular branch and married a woman from up North he met on the internet. He also likes weapons. They all do.

However, my grandfather, Henry Grady Whitten, never liked Clemson. I was told at one point this was because the school closed off much of the land he used to hunt back when hunting wasn’t a sport, but a way to help feed the family.

That turned my father, who worked briefly for Clemson College as a teen, into an ardent Gamecock, and as he married my mother and then joined the Army to see the world and get as far from the mill hills as possible, the Chicken Curse took hold and refused to let go. We’ve been Gamecocks ever since, no matter what corner of the world we inhabited.

Truth be told, had I been better at following Dad’s orders, I’d have my degree from USC in history or international studies or teaching and not writing this column, but I dropped out with about 30 hours to go and joined the Army.

I am as dumb as I look.

Years later, after getting out of the Army at Fort Stewart, I finished up a degree at Georgia Southern because I liked the triple option and they had girls. But as much as I rooted for the Iggles, Carolina remained in the DNA.

And for a Gamecock, the worst thing that can happen to you is Clemson winning the national college football championship and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney, that human marmot, grinning all over everybody. Again.

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