Thursday, January 4, 2018

College Football: It's Bowl Season!!!!! (Part IX) [UPDATED]

Well, we've made it.

39 bowl games down and one to go.

Unfortunately after all of this mess we're left with what is basically the SEC Championship game part II, between two teams that play exactly the same style in a match-up no one outside the SEC really wants to see.

Yes, Paul Finebaum is happy, as is the CFP Committee, CBS and ESPN, their prime TV property once again shows up as their invitational intended.  What we're left with is a mess of a playoff where the one remaining undefeated team wasn't even given a chance to try and match up with the invited teams.

Yes, the apologists will tell you that UCF's bowl win over Auburn was meaningless, that all of the SEC losses in bowls mean nothing EXCEPT in the games in which they won.  Those bowls meant something.  Because their wins were in the playoff games, and against teams such as Michigan where they were obviously interested in playing.  OF COURSE Mississippi State wanted to beat Louisville, but LSU didn't care what happened against Notre Dame.

The B1G? Well, they just got good match ups you see.

And that's the thing about bowl season, it IS largely meaningless in determining conference strength, even the playoff games that matter, because you're talking about a single game played over a month after the regular season ends. The participants are selected by a secretive cabal whose prime goal is to be a gatekeeper of the system for a select few blue-blood teams and provide TV something they think people will want to see.

Why do SEC teams get preferential treatment?  Because they draw a lot of eyes to the TV screen.

Were both SEC teams good enough to be in the playoffs?  Obviously yes, because both won their semi-final games and they will meet in the final.

Did both SEC teams "deserve" to be in the playoff?  Of course not. But the CFP isn't about "deserve" it's about right and privilege. Especially the privilege of certain power 5 conferences over another.

All of that is moot now that the games have been played, because what you're left with is a rather unappealing match up between two teams who play the exact same style of football, with one head coach being the former defensive coordinator for the other.  Stop me if you've seen this story before.

On a quick aside, since we last spoke I had a horrific 6-12 run which lowers my overall bowl record to 35-33.  I missed badly on both CFP semi-final games and had a generally rotten New Year's Day.

Now, to the game:

CFP Championship Presented by AT&T. 8:00PM. ET. Monday, Jan 8th.

[12-1]Alabama vs. [12-1] Georgia. (-3.5) T: 46

It's Saban vs. a former assistant, which typically doesn't work out well for the former assistant. Here's the thing about Alabama, they are not a great team. Their quarterback, Jalen Hurts, is a terrible passer of the football. This severely limits what Alabama is able to do offensively.  But (and there's always a but) what they can do they do very, very well. They also play some vicious defense and will be one of the better run stopping teams that Georgia has seen this year.

Georgia is more talented offensively, but they have a frustrating habit of going away from what they do really, REALLY well, which is running the ball.  Freshman QB Fromm showed some poise against Oklahoma, but the Sooner defense is nowhere near the quality of the Tide defense. If Georgia wants to have a chance they're going to have to do two things:  1. Run the ball early and often with success. 2. Use their excellent speed at Linebacker to slow down Alabama's screen passing attack.

The hype men are going to promise us a better game than we're going to end up having. It will be a snooze-fest on Monday and another data point in the "evil always wins" ledger.

Pick: Alabama to cover +3.5 and UNDER.

Amazingly, this line has completely flipped toward Georgia.  I'm loving Alabama +3.5 here although I'll admit that I probably won't make it past halftime actually watching the game.

Alabama 17  Georgia 9

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