Tuesday, January 9, 2018

College Football: Roll Tide! (This is why we can't have nice things)

And just like that.   It's over.

After stumbling around on offense in the first half the Tide of St. Nicholas Saban corrected themselves, inserted one Tua Tagovailoa into the game, discovered what their offense looked like with the threat of the downfield pass, and won yet another CFP Championship.

Adding up all of the B(C)S and CFP titles that makes 4 for St. Nick, tying the late, great Bear Bryant and ensuring another round of S-E-C!!!! chants from schools such as Texas A&M and Mississippi State.

Before all of that however, the game was a snooze fest.

Georgia, oddly, started off by calling seven pass plays, in a game where it was obvious their best early bet was to feed the ball to Sony Michele, and save bowling ball Nick Chubb for the latter stages of the game.  Michele is a quicker back and was always going to be more effective than Chubb against a fresh, fast Alabama defense.  They would need quarterback Jake Fromm to make some plays, but more sparingly than they first thought.

Meanwhile Alabama starting QB Jalen Hurts proved what I had written about him earlier. He severely limits Alabama's offense through his inability to throw anything other than a screen pass, or a heave downfield.  Normally Alabama can overcome this by running the ball very effectively against lesser athletes, against Georgia however it wasn't working, at all.

But then Tagovailoa came in, Georgia suddenly forgot how to play winning football (hint: Don't try and run a kick-off out of the end-zone against Bama kids) and the rest was history.

Not a "game for the ages" as some are trying to say, but a close game as far as these things go and one that heads to overtime is always going to be overhyped in the short-term, especially by sports journalists who cannot figure out how to assemble a hot dog.

If, like many (including me), you find yourself waking up with Alabama fatigue I have some bad news for you.  The Crimson Tide are not going anywhere, and we're going to be stuck with them being players in the College Football Playoff as long as Saban decides to keep coaching.

Yes, his game plan is boring and NFL-level tedious.  Yes, the fans are only slightly less annoying than a hang-nail. And yes, SEC fans and pundits are among the worst bits of humanity.

But they win.  And Saban wins, and he's spent a decade now propping up an elevated vision of the SEC that's only accurate at the tip of the conference pyramid.  The relatively weak middle and bottom of that pyramid allows the apex predators (such as Bama and Georgia) to gorge annually.

Was the SEC the best conference this year?  I have no idea.  But I do know that you can't tell based on bowl games, or games played a full month after the season ended, nor can you make a determination when 7 conferences had no chance to say otherwise.

Going forward the only option is going to be to eventually expand the playoffs to an 8-team format.

Fortunately, I've some ideas on how to make that happen without a.) ruining the regular season (which the current format does) b.) adding a significant amount of games and c.) ruining the existing bowl season. I'll share these later in a separate post.

Until then.....Congratulations to the evil empire Crimson Tide for their CFP Championship.

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