Alabama may not have had a game this week, but there was plenty of compelling football to wrap up the season. As the committee convenes for what will be a fairly easy process with the possible exception of ranking the top three teams, what did we learn?
Big XII: Baylor vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma barely survived a Baylor team that lost its QB early in the second half, despite dominating the stat sheet. That’s what happens when your own starting QB is turnover prone. Their offense continues to move the ball against mediocre to bad defenses, but they consistently struggle in the red zone and the defense has improved from godawful to near mediocre.
The Sooners will now be the #4 playoff seed as the only one-loss conference champion. Based on what we have seen out of them for the majority of the season, they will serve as a veritable cupcake for either LSU or Ohio State.
SEC: LSU vs. Georgia
This game was never likely to be much of a contest had Georgia managed to stay healthy, but some unfortunate injuries turned it into a laugher. Georgia’s cornerbacks were suspect coming into the season and amazingly hadn’t faced a great passer in 12 games. They did on Saturday, and Joe Burrow and company lit them up with 349 yards on 38 attempts and four TDs with no interceptions. They lost another 50 yards and a TD on a wide open drop.
The Dawgs were able to shut down the run game of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but as we have said in this space all year, making teams one dimensional in this day and age makes very little impact on an elite passing team. If you want to win a national title nowadays, you’d better be able to pass the ball and slow the pass, and the Dawgs struggled to do either. Thus far Kirby looks like a one trick pony who is trying to recreate 2012 Alabama. He’d better modernize as his former boss has or he’s going to get passed up in the SEC pecking order.
Oh, and Jake Fromm looks absolutely terrible. I don’t know what has happened to that kid, but he is a legitimate liability at this point.
ACC: Clemson vs. Virginia
Big Ten: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
This one looked like a shocker early on, as Wisconsin maintained a 14 point lead for most of the first half. Most surprisingly, they were completely shutting down what had been a ruthlessly efficient Buckeyes offense all season while Jonathan Taylor was gutting the middle of the Ohio State defense.
When the switch went on though, it was palpable. The Bucks showed what they are capable of with a 27-0 second half whitewashing. JK Dobbins finished with 174 yards on 33 carries, and Fields had a pretty good passing line of 19/31 for 299. If there is a concern from this game, it’s that Fields looked a bit rattled early when Wisconsin completely snuffed out his ability to run. He didn’t look terribly comfortable when forced to be a passer. Still, this Ohio State team looks like one that has recruited like Alabama with better injury luck this season. They just keep executing until the talent at every position overwhelms you.
So, the college football regular season comes to a close. We know who the four playoff participants are, and there will be a raging debate over the top seed between Ohio State and LSU. It’s also a bit of a gut punch for Alabama fans, since the script went just as planned for the Tide to sneak in again save for the shenanigans in Jordan Hare. Utah showed itself to be wholly unworthy on Friday night and Oklahoma played to a regulation draw against a team that lost its QB. Had the Tide maintained that #5 spot, it would have been tough to justify the Sooners jumping over them. I would have liked to have forced the committee to make that choice.
Alas, it was not to be.
Your thoughts on Championship Saturday?