There is still more than a month remaining before the start of the college football season, but anticipation is already growing about a potential rematch that could occur in the last game of the year.
Clemson and Alabama have met in the College Football Playoff each of the past four seasons and in the national title game three of the past four years.
The two teams are favorites to play for the national championship again in 2019, and players from both sides are already going back and forth.
Hours before Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Tigers players met with the media at the ACC Kickoff event in Charlotte on Wednesday, Nick Saban and Alabama players met with reporters at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama.
Saban claimed that “a lot of distractions” contributed to Clemson’s victory, while Moses said the loss was due to “preparation” and added “I wouldn’t say they were a better team.”
Clemson offensive lineman John Simpson responded to those explanations. He isn’t buying what Alabama is selling.
“Nobody wants to give us our credit. Nobody ever gives us our credit when it’s due. It’s obviously due,” Simpson said. “I mean, what more can we do? We beat them twice, and we beat them pretty good the second time, so why is there an excuse?”
Clemson’s win over Alabama in January marked the second national title for the Tigers in three years. Clemson beat Alabama in both of its national championship victories and has faced the Crimson Tide each of the past four seasons in the College Football Playoff.
Clemson also faced Notre Dame in last year’s College Football Playoff and Simpson added that last year, “I personally feel like Notre Dame was the best team that we played. Notre Dame was really good. I think Notre Dame was better than Alabama was.”
“Alabama, they’re good, they’re great. They’ve been great for so long. So now that they’re losing, no one wants to see that.”
There has also been a narrative floating around this offseason that Alabama lost to the Tigers because it was worn out from playing an SEC schedule.
Clemson safety Tanner Muse believes the conference affiliation had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
“I take pride in the ACC. I feel like it’s got a lot of good teams, and we go through the same thing. We both play 15 games. I don’t see it as that. You get hit the same amount of times as the other team, so I don’t really know how that plays (a factor),” Muse said. “It really comes down to how well you play... I don’t see it being any different, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10. They’re all great conferences, Power 5 conferences, so it is what it is.”