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College Football Playoff

If Georgia wins that game, and they should’ve, they’re in the playoff. But they blew it.

December 03, 2018 - 9:59 am
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The college football playoff rankings get a lot of run. Way too much run. Because they matter exactly one time all season. Everything leading up to yesterday is just a phony TV show with a bunch of smoke, mirrors, and justifications that will change on a weekly basis.

But the one time they do matter was yesterday, and here’s what we have, and stop me if you’ve heard this before. 

The number one team in the rankings is: Alabama

The number two team in the rankings is: Clemson

The number three team in the rankings is: Notre Dame

Same as they’ve been for a while now. So the only drama would be who would be in fourth place.

And the fourth place team, the one with the right to face Alabama in the semifinal is….Oklahoma.

Of course they are. It was the most logical step to take. And yes, I know that Georgia fans are outraged. And I know they want to truck out the argument that Georgia is the team that Alabama wants to face the least. Just ask Nick Saban.

Alabama and Georgia have played twice in 2018. In the 120 minutes of regulation football that they have played, Alabama has led for 1 minute. And they are 2-0 in those games.

The national championship game and Saturday’s SEC title game. Both games have been classics. Truly games for the ages. And I would like nothing better than to see a third part of the trilogy.

So it’s a good argument. It’s just not good enough. 

As good as Georgia is, they weren’t getting in with two losses. Not ahead of a conference champ in Oklahoma who avenged it’s only loss. No chance. 

And you can say that’s lame or that’s conservative from the committee, but that’s just the way it is. And it goes a little deeper than that. Georgia is 1-2 against teams in the top 11. If you have a losing record to teams in the top eleven, one of those losses was by 20, and zero wins against teams in the top four, can you really argue that you belong in the top 4?

Before I get into Georgia, a moment for Ohio State fans. You have absolutely no right to complain about anything. If you get smashed by Purdue on national television, you don’t get to complain about anything. And if you barely escape Maryland, you don’t complain about anything. I don’t know if it’s part of the committee’s criteria, but if it isn’t, it should be. 

I don’t care if you beat a wildly overrated Michigan team. You lost to Purdue.  You got hammered by Purdue.  Just like you got hammered by Iowa last year.  It cost you then, and it’s costing you now: you shouldn’t be surprised by this: it happens to all the time now.  You cannot have that bad of a loss and try argue you’re one of the four best.  You’re not.  Game. Set. Match. Sit down. Shut up. 

Now, back to Georgia. The Bulldogs had a very simple task Saturday night. Win and you’re in. And they were winning.

Hell yes they were winning. They went up 7-0, then 14-7, 21-7, and were up 28-14 in the third quarter. They had turned Nick Saban inside out and pretty much ended Tua’s Heisman campaign. 

And then came the play. You know what I’m talking about.

That wasn’t just ill-advised, that was moronic. I know you have that play in your back pocket and you’ve had it there for a while. But there is a time and a place to break it out and 4th and 11 with three minutes left in a tied SEC title game is neither the time nor the place. That’s the place for a punt and let your defense go to work against Jalen Hurts, the backup who hasn’t played much this year.

Instead, Georgia went gadget and it went disaster.  

Kirby Smart is a hell of a coach. So I’m not going with some lame “Kirby Dumb” pun. But it sure wasn’t smart.  

Sure, if you get it, you’re a legend. It’s one of the brassest moves ever. But Alabama wasn’t fooled. So not only did Georgia call the play, they didn’t kill it. They actually ran it.

That’s a desperate play and a desperate move. You don’t need to do it. You’re tied. You’ve dominated not only this game by the last game. You have Nick Saban’s number. The apprentice is getting over on the master.

But that’s what Alabama does to you. It’s just like what New England does to teams. You always feel like you’re losing, even when you’re winning or you’re tied. They make you get out of character. They make you get desperate when you don’t need to be desperate. 

And it wasn’t long before that horrible play led to this incredible play.

Jalen Hurts, the guy who was benched in last year’s title game against Georgia, comes off the bench to win the game for Alabama. An absolutely incredible moment and impossible for you not to feel good for Hurts and how he’s handled everything. 

But that moment does not happen without Georgia handing it to them. And that’s why they’ll be sitting out the semifinal. Nobody to blame but themselves. 

It’s not an injustice. Win that game and you’re in. Lose two games and you’re out. Putting Georgia in after losing that game is the very definition of a participation trophy. You guys tried really hard and you played really well and you didn’t win, but here, take this anyway. 

Don’t get me wrong. I was impressed by a lot of what Georgia did on Saturday, just like I was impressed by what they did last year. Kirby Smart is building a monster. They are good. Very, very good. They might be the only team that could beat Alabama this year, but they didn’t beat Alabama this year and they are out.

They might be better than the other teams in the top four, but they shouldn’t be in the top four for the playoff. If you want to put them in the top four of your power rankings, go right ahead. Just don’t put them in the playoff. 

If Georgia wins that game, and they should’ve, they’re in the playoff. But they blew it. And they’re out. It’s very simple and there’s no need to make it any more complicated than that.