POSTCARD FROM PARADISE
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. – How do you like the name this blog? It’s not exactly paradise here. It’s supposed to be upper 60s/low 70s and sunny here this time of year. Of course, when I arrived yesterday, it was 51 degrees and raining.
No, Paradise Valley is what they call the area from which I am corresponding today, and will be most of this weekend. Well, part of it anyway.
Stay with me.
I’m at the J.W Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort and Spa at the moment. I’m not actually staying here, mind you – can you say “ritzy?” — just dropping by because this is the headquarters for the College Football Playoff championship game and this is where I had to come to pick up my credentials for the big game.
Which is in Glendale, Ariz. Glendale is about 25 or so miles (or is it minutes?) west of here. That’s where the University of Phoenix Stadium is located and where Alabama and Clemson will face off for the national championship Monday night. But you don’t want to stay out there, which I found out after originally arranging to stay out there.
I’m staying in Scottsdale, which is not far from where this J.W. Marriott is, both of which apparently are part of “Paradise Valley,” or so I was told.
But the only media availability to access the team members of Alabama and Clemson is not at either location. That would be in downtown Phoenix at the Convention Center, which is a half-hour or so away depending on traffic. That happens early tomorrow morning (late morning back there in the ATL), so be sure to be monitoring your electronic devices for stories and information as I’ll be cranking it out as quick as they come out from there.
Tomorrow, I hope to get another audience with new Georgia head coach and still Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. I also hope to talk to Crimson Tide assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Mel Tucker, who by all accounts is soon to become the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator.
Just to bring you full circle, we’ll get back here to Paradise Valley on Sunday to the J.W. Marriott Camelback Inn for the head coaches’ news conference with Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.
And that’s it, as far as media availability.
I already had the opportunity to hear from Saban in Tuscaloosa this past Wednesday, and he succinctly summed up then the nature of this week’s proceedings.
“This is not a bowl game,” Saban snapped. “We don’t go out there and practice for a week. We’re in game week. We’ve got to get ready to play the game here. We’ve got to travel. We can practice out there once and kind of go from there.”
There definitely is a distinctly different feel to everything about this than other postseason games I’ve covered. This definitely a championship game and not some sort of celebration.
Alabama and Clemson didn’t arrive here until 7 p.m. ET Friday night. They’ll play the game Monday night and a national champion will be crowned.
Hopefully I’ll be able to find my way there to chronicle it.