Love college football. Always have. Always will. It’s my clear-cut favorite sport. Has been since, oh, the start of my teen years when visions of a God-like figure wearing a red jersey, gray britches and G-marked lid came across my TV screen, his blistering speed making the No. 34 emblazoned on his attire just a blur.
In true Pennsy/Philly fashion, had followed Penn State and Pitt before then, and attended a Temple game or two. Even knew most of the name schools across the country as well.
But Herschel Walker, man, he got me hooked … as did the rest of his University of Georgia teammates during a magical, memorable run to a national title.
So, you might figure a certain allegiance might align behind these words and the most recent crop of Bulldogs, the helmet-and-pad descendants of Walker who attempted to replicate such glory …
Nah, not really.
Truth be told, have as much affinity for Alabama, Nick Saban, any other team in the Southeastern Conference and pretty much any other team in any other conference.
For me, it’s about the sport … and keeping it really, and, gotta say, anyone labeling Monday night’s championship game as “great” or solid evidence that the College Football Playoff at the FBS level is best as is – ummm, yikes.
Ya might wanna hold off on commenting in such a way until you sober up from the intoxication created by a dramatic ending.
Am all for an entertaining conclusion to any proceeding, but not gonna ignore, or blow off, everything that led up to it … and, in this case, we’re not even just talking what took place in Atlanta between the Tide and Dawgs, but what got them there.
For starters, how about we stop mocking the University of Central Florida for raising awareness to flaws in the current system and actually recognize the validity of that? Fact: Each of the nation’s top six teams can lay claim to four wins against top-25 competition as it stands in the final AP poll, but only one can claim no losses against top-25 competition – No. 6 UCF.
Not only did the Knights go spotless vs. any and all competition, they also beat the one team that topped both Nos. 1 and 2, ’Bama and Georgia, in Auburn. Rationalize or downgrade that Peach Bowl victory all you want, it’s still reality.
Sorry, just four teams in a playoff, when extending it to eight would mean just one more weekend of action and exponentially more credibility, is ridiculous.
For particulars, need look no further than Bama-Georgia itself. Yeah, the Tide overcame some obstacles. Saban made a brilliant switch at quarterback AND running back, but Bama didn’t play anything remotely close to “well,” and neither did Georgia.
To make matters worse, the Dawgs seemed more concerned with giving senior running Nick Chubb a career achievement going-away party than actually winning. His production was bad enough in the first half, just 16 yards on eight carries.
The second half was a momentum-killing masterpiece of epic proportions, and it’s not the fault of Cub, but the coaching staff for consistently putting the ball in his hands when it was clear he couldn’t anything. The guy had nine carries after intermission, five of ’em for losses.
One time he made headway after Sony Michel moved Georgia out of danger with four straight runs that totaled 31 yards to set up a first-and-10 at the Dawgs’ 41, Chubb followed up his own 7-yard gainer with a yard loss and then missed a blocking assignment on third down, paving the way to a drive-ending sack that kickstarted Bama’s rally from a 10-yard deficit in the fourth quarter.
For the game, Michel had 98 yards on 14 carries – not a single one resulting in negative yardage. Chubb? Try 25 yards on 18. Again, ridiculous.
Certainly, it was not great … neither was Bama missing a chip-shot field goal to win it in regulation, or both freshman quarterbacks taking sacks in overtime to put their teams in perilous positions.
Fortunately, Tua Tagovailoa connecting with DeVonta Smith provided a thrilling finish.
But it didn’t salvage the game, nor the playoff. Not for me, at least.