So the Clemson Tigers have a chip on their shoulders? How about - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

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So the Clemson Tigers have a chip on their shoulders? How about the Crimson Tide?

Alabama and Clemson faced off in last year's national title game. (Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama Athletics) Alabama and Clemson faced off in last year's national title game. (Photo by Kent Gidley/Alabama Athletics)
Tampa, FL (WBRC) -

They've been waiting a full year for payback and the Clemson Nation is confident that they will get it.

In a game for the ages, the Crimson Tide held off the Tigers in last year's national championship game 45-40. This time around, the Clemson Tigers are healthy and ready to take down the top team in America.

But, not so fast! You see, while the Tigers have had a chip on their shoulders for the last 12 months, so too have the Bama coaches and players.

Say what? Didn't the Crimson Tide win the national championship last year? Well, yes, but they have not been happy.

The reason: The Bama defense gave up 40 points.

"I was hanging my head last year and my mom said, 'Why are you unhappy, you just won a national title.' I said it felt like we lost because we gave up so many points," said cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.

That theme played itself out Saturday as the Crimson Tide met the media in Tampa.

"Thinking of that game is real motivation because giving up 40 points was a lot. To play in a national championship game and let a team score 40 points, that's been our motivation all season," Bama defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson said.

And the Alabama players weren't done.

"We were happy that we won, but we were upset with the way we performed. It's definitely something we can improve on going into this game," defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said.

One problem for the Bama defense: Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson, a young man who Nick Saban has called the best player in the country, is back.

"He' s a great athlete, a great player, a student of the game. He can throw it and run it, so we have to do a good job with our reads," Alabama defensive back Ronnie Harrison said.

"He's probably the best quarterback we have faced all year, so we're going to have to do a good job keeping him contained," added defensive lineman Daron Payne.

The bottom line: A healthy, hungry Clemson team is looking to stop the Crimson Tide's 26-game win streak. But the Bama players have something else in mind.

"They have a chip on their shoulders, trust me, so we have to come well prepared and have a chip on our own shoulders," Linebacker Reuben Foster said.

Players from both teams enter Monday's big game with swagger and with attitude.

The team that carries the biggest chip just may be heading home with a championship on Tuesday morning.

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