Good gracious, what a CFP championship game Monday night.
Like most folks who were unaffiliated, I was pulling for Georgia. Those downtrodden, underdog Dawgs from Athens.
I found it funny that Georgia has this big reputation as a somewhat cursed program. Maybe my humor stems from when I first started paying a lot of attention to college football, and Georgia was one of the best programs in the country. I know they’ve had some rough patches, but I’ve never not thought of them as a top tier football program. And I’d be thrilled if my alma mater could have “disappointing” 8–4/7–5 seasons year-after-year. But it’s not like they have been averaging three wins a year for 50 years and suddenly jumped up into the elite.
But I understand where that comes from, with each of Georgia’s biggest rivals having won a national championship more recently than the Dawgs’ only title. And most of those schools have multiple titles over that span.
So UGa was a very good story and easy to root for, especially with them playing Alabama and evil Nick Saban.
Naturally everything went exactly like Satan, err Saban, wanted it to.
- Georgia steadies themselves after some nervy opening minutes, grab a lead, and slowly build it.
- Saban benches his starting QB, who has lost two games in three seasons, to play a true freshman who had yet to take a meaningful snap. IN THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. There will be books and movies and documentaries about that decision alone.
- Eventually Georgia is up 20–7 and Dawg fans, die hard and casual, were beginning to think, “OK, they can do this.”
- But the Tide start chipping away, their defense morphs into Ferocious mode, the offense starts moving the ball, and ties it on a gutsy fourth-and-goal play.
- They get the ball back, set up for a chip-shot field goal at the final whistle, and freaking miss it. Overtime! Even for those of us rooting for Georgia, you had to feel for the Alabama kicker in that moment. It’s not like SEC football fans are the most stable folks in the world, especially the most entitled of the bunch from Tuscaloosa. That kid was going to have problems had Alabama not pulled off the win.
- Georgia gets the lead on a field goal, make a huge sack on first down, there is a deep roar of anticipation building in the stadium, and then Tua Tagovailoa throws an insanely beautiful ball that Da’Vonta Smith hauled in for the win.
Yep, that’s exactly how Saban drew it up before hand. Give the anti-Alabama contingent hope, yank it away, give it back when it seemed impossible to give it back, then rip it away on a play that will live forever in sports history.
Throw in a handful of very controversial officiating decisions, a fight on the Alabama sideline, an Alabama player having to be removed from the stadium on a stretcher, and the President of the United States not knowing all the words to the National Anthem, and this game had about everything.
Now was it better than last year’s classic between Alabama and Clemson, that also came down to the closing seconds of regulation? I guess that depends on how you like your football.
Last year was all offense, fitting for the current era.
Monday had some big offensive plays, but was dominated by the defenses, a throwback to an older age.
The crazy thing to me is even without tons of offense, it still took roughly four hours to get Monday’s game in. (Old man grumble, grumble, grumble.)
Both great games and I guess you choose based on how you feel about Alabama. For me, these games are just further proof that the football gods hate me. As much as I dislike Alabama, I respect them. And since I’ve never liked nor respected Clemson, I was reluctantly pulling for Bama a year ago. Two years in a row I went to bed after midnight after watching a scintillating game that my team-for-the-night came up just short. Football is dumb.
As for the NFL playoffs, I believe this is the first year ever I’ve not made predictions. I didn’t feel comfortable offering picks since I haven’t watched the NFL this year. And, besides, we know that New England is winning again. Why bother?
I watched most of Sundays games, and then parts of the Chiefs-Titans game. We were hanging out at a friends house so that game was in the background. We had kind of lost track of the game, but knew the Chiefs had jumped out early. We also missed most of the controversial calls. But I did look up in the fourth quarter, saw the Titans had narrowed the margin, and said, “Chiefs still have plenty of time to blow it.”
Which I can’t take too much credit for because, based on catching up with Twitter later in the evening, most Chiefs fans were saying the same thing.
I’ve softened some in my stance about the Chiefs. I think some of that stems from the Royals 2014–15 runs, and seeing my hometown explode in pride in joy. Although I’m never going to be on the bandwagon for a Chiefs Super Bowl run, it would be cool to see Kansas City fired up as it was in those Octobers again. I wasn’t pulling for them Saturday – to be fair I was neutral as I wasn’t pulling for Tennessee either – that loss seemed a little cruel to me.
Which I know makes my Chiefs fans friends feel a lot better.
- Winning three games in a season would be cause for burning things in celebration. ↩
- Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Florida, and Auburn. Plus LSU and Bama, which are both lesser rivals. OK, that does suck! ↩
- I would have kicked the field goal, let me defense get the ball back, and won the game in regulation. But then again, kicking wasn’t such a sure thing, was it? ↩