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Random Thoughts: National Championship Perfection

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The Alabama Crimson Tide are champs once again.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
Najee Harris and the other seniors finish their Alabama career with two National Championship rings.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Alabama Crimson Tide pulled off an incredible feat of a perfect 13-0 season and 11-0 in the SEC. All 13 of Bama’s wins came against Power 5 teams. The Tide won by an average of 29 points and only once (vs Florida) was the final spread less than a two touchdown difference.

For these achievements and more, this team should go down in college football history as one of the greatest. By comparison, the 2019 LSU team defeated 12 Power-5 teams (11 if you don’t count Vandy). Three of those opponents were within a touchdown or less in the final score.

ROLL T18E

CFP Championship:Alabama 52 Ohio State 24 - This game was scary for a little while but the Buckeyes could not match the unstoppable Crimson Tide punch for punch.

The score was 7-7 and then 14-14. When Alabama struck back and took a 21-14 lead, OSU again drove down the field to the six yard line but the Tide defense toughened and the Buckeyes had to settle for a field goal. This was a huge win for the Bama D. Trading field goals for touchdowns will get you a good deal of Ws. When Alabama again scored on their next drive, all of a sudden it felt like the Crimson and White seemed to take control at 28-17. As much as some Bama fans deride the defense and their DC Pete Golding, this unit had a really good game and year. Ohio State was held to 19 first downs, 194 passing yards and 147 rushing yards.

There will be Colt McCoy excuses but the Tide did not miss a beat when Jordan Battle was ejected for targeting in the second quarter and then DeVonta Smith exited the game early in the third quarter. Additionally, Bama was playing without Rimington Trophy winner Landon Dickerson and starting DB Malachi Moore.

DESI

That’s why they aren’t coaches.

LOL OF THE WEEK

NAME OF THE WEEK

anOSU RB Master Teague III. Really? You like the name “Master” so much you want to actually pass that on?

STAT OF THE DAY

DeVonta Smith with 12 receptions, 215 yards and three TDs... AT THE HALF!

ADOPT-A-TEAM

COUSINS

South Alabama - Holy cow! Look at the Jags! New head coach Kane Wommack and new OC Major Applewhite have somehow managed to convince former South Carolina and Utah starting quarterback Jake Bentley into transferring to USA for his bonus senior season (sixth).

Although Bentley was the starter for the two Utes (last time for that joke for awhile), he was not QB1 at the beginning of the season. Former 4-star Cameron Rising had transferred in from Texas and won the job. However, he was injured early in the second quarter of the first game against Southern Cal and was out the rest of the season.

Bentley had 6 TDs and 6 INTs in UU’s five game season of 2020. Though he is no Heisman contender, he is certainly an upgrade at the position for the Jaguars.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (9-3) wins the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
  • Air Force (3-3) had a brief up-and-down season. Under normal circumstances, they probably would have been a bowl team.
  • Navy (3-7) had a tough year. Losing 2019 AAC Offensive Player of the Year Malcolm Perry was a big part of that.
boxers

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT THEM

Below is the Preseason/Pre-cancellation fiasco Top 25 AP Poll:

  1. Clemson (38)
  2. Ohio State (21)
  3. Alabama (2)
  4. Georgia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. LSU (1)
  7. Penn State
  8. Florida
  9. Oregon
  10. Notre Dame
  11. Auburn
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Texas A&M
  14. Texas
  15. Oklahoma State
  16. Michigan
  17. Southern Cal
  18. North Carolina
  19. Minnesota
  20. Cincinnati
  21. Center Florida
  22. Utah
  23. Iowa State
  24. Iowa
  25. Tennessee

LET’S GO BOWLING

SEC 7-2 - All SEC opponents were ranked in the Top 25.
Big XII 5-0 - Only three wins vs ranked teams.
Sun Belt 4-1
Big Ten 3-2
MAC 2-0
MWC 2-1
AAC 1-5
Pac-12 0-2
ACC 0-6 - OUCH!
C-USA 0-6
Independents 2-1

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame who decides the Jim Thorpe Award. This trophy is supposedly given to the nation’s top defensive back. This year they gave it to ... wait for it ... TCU safety Trevon Moehrig. Who??? This guy didn’t even make first team All-American list put out by the AP, Walter Camp, FWAA (writers), AFCA (coaches), Sporting News, the Athletic, CBS/247, USA Today, and Phil Steele - meaning they all thought he was the third or fourth best safety, much less best DB. Do ya think maybe there is a little regional bias here? Or maybe we-tired-of-bammer-winnin-all-the-trophies bias? The Frogs went 5-4 in the B10 this season.

In other news, Patrick Surtain II was named first team All-American by the AP, Walter Camp, AFCA, AP, Athletic, CBS, ESPN, FWAA, Phil Steele, TSN, Phil Steele, and USAT.

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of THREE YEARS! - the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Often times voters fall in love with someone and refuse to REALLY look at what a player has accomplished.

How many of YOU did this in high school???

WHO WILL WIN

CLARIFICATION: This section is not who deserves to win. It is who the slobbering press and other voters will callously crush on.

Well, the voters did both this year: they drooled over the flashy shiny thing AND they actually picked the most outstanding player. However, they still reverted back to their bias and/or lazy-ass ways in making Sunshine number two. The dude was not even the best quarterback this year. Below are pre-National Championship Game stats:

Mac actually raised his completion percentage and QBR after Monday night to 77.4% and 203.1. He finishes the season with 41 TDs and 311 completions. After seeing Jones perform without DeVonta Smith and with Jaylen Waddle at half-speed, you have to wonder how many voters are regretting their runner-up choices.

WHO SHOULD WIN

CLARIFICATION: This section is for who deserves to win it.

The right guy won.

How awesome is this dude?

THE SICK REPORT

  • Team captain/legend Landon Dickerson got in for the last two snaps on kneel down plays. Is it dusty in here?
  • DeVonta Smith’s finger was dislocated. Saban: “they couldn’t get it back in. If they’d gotten it back in, he could have played. But then we wouldn’t let him.”
  • Jaylen Waddle was not himself but he showed some guts and still ran by guys, catching three passes for 34 yards and moving the chains.
  • Star DB Malachi Moore was in uniform for the game but did not play.
  • Ole Miss RB/OF Jerrion Ealy had shoulder surgery on Thursday and will miss the Rebs’ baseball season. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Ealy is a fine college football player, but he is not NFL caliber. He may want to consider hanging up the football cleats and concentrating on a potential career in baseball.

QUITTER HOLE

  • Former Alabama WR Tyrell Shavers is on the move again. After a year in StarkVegas (9 rec, 107 yds, 1 TD), he will try his luck out west at San Diego State playing for former Michigan coach Brady Hoke whose Aztecs were 4-4 in his first year.
  • Auburn RB DJ Williams is skipping town after rushing for 599 yards and 5 TD this season. Also leaving da plains is defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk who had 28 total tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss.
  • Oklahoma wide receiver Charleston Rambo, who had 312 yards and 3 TDs this season is hightailing it out of Norman for the Miami Hurricanes. He just completed his redshirt junior season for whatever that means now.
  • It’s old news on LSU tight end Arik Gilbert, but it just became official this past week. I know some of you all want him on Alabama but be forewarned that he brings baggage with him.
  • Godawful former Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano is heading to Pullman frickin’ Washington to play for Wazzu. That has to be the college football equivalent of Russian soldiers being sent to Siberia.
  • Former Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan already has a new home, transferring to Notre Dame. The senior missed all of 2020 after suffering a right foot injury before the season began and was replaced by freshman Graham Mertz. In reality, Coan is probably better than Mertz.

#LIFECHOICES

  • Ty’kieast Crawford was a 4-star OL prospect a year ago who at one time had an offer from Alabama among several other schools. He shocked everyone by committing and signing with Charlotte. He announced he will be transferring to Arkansas.

JUNIORS LEAVING FOR THE NFL

  • Seth Williams joins his Auburn WR teammate Anthony Schwartz on the Delusion Express for a practice squad coming to an NFL team near you. With Eli Stove balking at a bonus senior season, the War Tiger Plainsmens gonna have a lot of issues at wide receiver next year.
  • Li’l dude running back Jaret Patterson is leaving Buffalo after a few flukey performances against crappy underprepared MAC opponents.
  • Oft-injured Purdue WR Rondale Moore made it official by signing with an agent. He played in four games in 2019 and three of the Boilermakers’ six games this season. Moore totaled two receiving touchdowns over that span. Has he not been paying attention to DeVonta Smith???
  • Georgia center Trey Hill and DE Malik Herring have entered their names into the NFL draft. Neither player made the first or second All-SEC teams this year. They join junior cornerback Eric Stokes and sophomore outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari on the early exit plan from Athens.

STAYING PUT

It’s a little surprising that wide receiver Ty Fryfogle will be returning to Indiana for 2021. He had a breakout year with 37 receptions for 721 yards and 7 touchdowns in 8 games this season. This coming campaign will be his fifth competitive season. Before the NCAA made the rash decision to give everyone a bonus year, 2020 would have been his last year of eligibility.

KOACHES KORNER

  • As you know by now, Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian has taken the head coaching job at Texas. Oh by the way, the Crimson Tide play in Austin, TX on Sept 10, 2022 and host the Longhorns on Sept 9, 2023. A few more notches for Saban’s record vs former assistants are forthcoming.
  • Bill O’Brien, the former Texans and Penn State head coach, is expected to replace Sark as Alabama’s OC. BOB served under Bill Belichick at New England from 2007 to 2011. He won the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award while at PSU in 2012. Ironically, Gene Stallings (1992) is the only Bama coach to win that award. Saban won in 2003 while at LSU.
  • Former Bama DL coach Bo Davis is expected to join Sark’s Texas staff. He spent this past three seasons with the Detroit Lions. It is not his first time in Austin having coached the Longhorns from 2011-13. Davis served under Saban at LSU (2002-04), the Dolphins (2006), and Alabama (2007-10, 2014-15) before his NCAA excommunication for not being completely honest about some “creative” crootin practices.
  • Michigan has given Jim Harbaugh a four-year extension of a contract that was due to expire at the end of 2021. Although it is a bit of a surprising move, the deal is a university-friendly incentive-laden one. It also reportedly comes with a small buyout. Basically if Harbaugh doesn’t produce, he doesn’t get paid as much. It’s really not a bad deal for UM if they did not see any attractive replacement options out there who could do better. Harbaugh is just cocky enough to take the deal because he thinks he can achieve all the goals for maximum payout. Poor delusional soul.
  • Notre Dame made a genius stroke of hiring Marcus Freeman as defensive coordinator. He was the mastermind behind the Cincinnati defense that held opponents to 16.8 ppg this year. Thank goodness no SEC team picked him up.
  • Boise hired Oregon Ducks defensive coordinator Andy Avalos as their new head coach, who was a Smurf linebacker in the early 200’s - because, ya know, being an alum is SO important. He was an assistant at Boise 2012-18 before leading Mario Cristobal’s defense for the last two seasons. Avalos signed a 5-year contract at an average of over $1.5 million per year plus two sister-wives over age 14 of his choosing.
  • And you thought Auburn football was the only one run by outsiders. The decision to remove John “Doc” Holliday as head coach at Marshall after 11 seasons came from above the athletic director’s head, orchestrated by the West Virginy Guvnah himself who put the screws on the school’s board. Clearly, this guy saw teams like Coastal Carolina and Liberty, and is filled with hallucinations of glory: “that should be us!”
  • Holliday had winning seasons in each of the last four campaigns with four-straight bowl games appearances and eight in the last 10 years. This season, the Herd finished 7-3 after losing their last three including the C-USA CG and their bowl game against Buffalo who they faced without their star RB, left tackle, and leading tackler who all wussed out. Former Marshall QB Byron Leftwich was the first name on everyone’s lips but he is making a nice living as the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay with an eye on an NFL head coaching job someday soon.
  • Former Vandy flop Derek Mason agrees to be Auburn’s defensive coordinator. Former UGA and SCar OC Mike Bobo will be the offensive coordinator. Will Friend will coach the offensive line. He was a two-time All-SEC and four-year starting guard at Alabama. Bobo and Friend were together on staffs at UGA, Colorado State, and the Gamecocks.
  • Ghost Coach Dan Enos is on the move again. He will serve as offensive coordinator at Maryland in 2021 - unless a distracting squirrel runs by. It will be his sixth different school since 2017.
  • Urban Meyer says he is not interested in taking any head coaching jobs right now as it takes away from his time looking at himself in the mirror.
  • The following is not parody: RBR has heard from sources that Fat F*** Phil Fulmer did indeed go looking for violations within the Tennessee football program with the express purpose of finding a reason to fire Jeremy Pruitt for cause; in other words, termination due egregious acts by Pruitt so that the university does not have to pay him a buyout. Basically, FFPF is burning down his house to get rid of a mouse.

Black and White TV

TEEVEE

The Ohio State-Clemson Sugar Bowl barely edged out the Alabama-Notre Dame Rose/Jerry Bowl 19.15M viewers to 18.89M.

THIS WEEK

See ya next year!

LOOKING AHEAD (but, yes. Looking ahead)

The Senior Bowl in Mobile is Saturday, January 30. Thomas Fletcher and Deonte Brown will be representing Alabama. Landon Dickerson will also be present but obviously won’t play... or will he??? Nah...

SABAN vs. POP and BEAR

Rank Name Years Wins Losses Behind
1 Joe Paterno 46 409 136 148
2 Bobby Bowden 40 346 123 85
3 Bear Bryant 38 323 85 62
4 Pop Warner 44 319 106 58
5 Nick Saban 25 261 65 -
6 LaVell Edwards 29 257 101 -4
7 Tom Osborne 25 255 49 -6
8 Mack Brown 31 253 127 -8
9 Frank Beamer 33 238 121 -23
10 Lou Holtz 30 236 115 -25

Nick Saban adds another W to the stack. He has won six National Championship in the last 12 years. Take a moment to breathe that in. Half of the last twelve championships belong to the GOAT.

[For those of you new to RBR Random Thoughts, we count all on-field wins in Division I-A, aka FBS. So, before you go squawking about Frank Beamer, 42 of his wins came at Murray State. Brown had six victories in one season with Appalachian State when they were still in what was known at I-AA (FCS today). In addition, we don’t recognize NCAA sanctioned forfeits. If you won on the field, it counts in our books.]

#ALABAMA

  • Mac Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. He is the third Alabama quarterback to win the award after AJ McCarron (2013) and Jay Barker (1994). He also takes home the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. He is the first tide player to take the DOB.
  • DeVonta Smith was named winner of Paul Hornung Award, signifying college football’s most versatile player and the Fred Biletnikoff Award for top receiver. He was also honored with the AP and Walter Camp Player of the Year honors.
  • The Doak Walker Award honoring the top running back went to Najee Harris. He is the third Bama player to take the award behind Trent Richardson and Derrick Henry. NFL bust Toby Gerhart (7 career TD, 8 fumbles lost) from Stanford won over Mark Ingram in 2009. [still smh]
  • Alex Leatherwood took home the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman, offense or defense. Five Tide players have proceeded him winning this award. The most recent was Quinnen Williams for the 2018 season.
  • Landon Dickerson is the Rimington Trophy winner for top center. He is the third Bama player to be thus honored after Barrett Jones and Ryan Kelly.
  • Alabama wins the Joe Moore Award for the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit, thank you very much!
  • Thomas Fletcher earned The Patrick Mannelly Award for top senior FBS Long Snapper in the country. In case you are wondering, yes, this is a real award.
  • Walter Camp First Team All-Americans: Jones, Smith, Harris, Leatherwood, Dickerson, Patrick Surtain II.
  • Najee Harris breaks the SEC single-season TD record with 31. He and DeVonta finish one-two in scoring, Harris with a gigantic 180 points over Smith’s 150. Harris also ties Tim Tebow’s career SEC record of 57 TDs from scrimmage. He now holds school records in career rushing yards (3,843), career yards from scrimmage (4,624), career rushing TDs (46), and career scores from scrimmage (57).
  • Smith holds school and SEC records in career receiving yards (3,965) and career receiving touchdowns (46). He long ago eclipsed Amari Cooper and Chris Doering who had only 31 TDs each.
  • Will Reichard was perfect in a perfect season. He finishes fifth in the nation in scoring (126 points) and number one among kickers. He was 14-for-14 on field goals and made all 84 extra points. Lou Groza can kiss my arse.
  • Rumors have it that there have been talks about the Crimson Tide basketball team getting a new arena so that Coleman Coliseum can be used to store Alabama football’s trophies.
  • It’s been three long years since the last National Championship. Let’s not wait so long next time.

GAME 1: Saturday, September 4, 2021

Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0) vs Miami Hurricanes (0-0)

Bryant-Denny East, Atlanta, GA ~ Time/TV TBD

  • Announcers: Someone annoying with some know-it-all and a random blonde on the sidelines.
  • Eli Gold on Alabama Radio.
  • Alabama is 14-3 all-time against the ‘Canes. The two teams last met in the glorious 1993 Sugar Bowl when George Teague ran down and stripped Lamar Thomas, and Bama humiliated the cocky ‘U’ and their undeserving Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta 34-13.
  • Miami QB D’Eriq King has already announced he will be returning. Could Mac Jones come back for another season and maybe work on his doctorate?
  • It is WAY early to be setting lines but you would have to think Alabama would be favored by at least 10.

Poll

Should Mac Jones come back for another season?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Yes, he can get better.
    (73 votes)
  • 17%
    Maybe, depending how he grades out.
    (161 votes)
  • 74%
    No, he probably won’t improve his draft status.
    (697 votes)
931 votes total Vote Now

EPILOGUE

Five months ago, it looked like the doom and gloomers were going to put the kibosh on the 2020 college football season. To their grand dismay, we got through a full season of SEC football with only two scheduled games not played - less than Ohio State had as a team. As it turned out, moving forward was the correct decision and actually the best thing for these young men - and us, the fans, stuck at home. Despite several players and coaches catching the Captain Trips throughout the season, there was not a single case of serious hospitalization or worse, fatality. Proceeding with the season kept these young men engaged, healthy, and concentrating on their studies. It could turn out to be the best and most important stage of their maturity into adulthood.

For Nick Saban, this could be as close to perfection he has ever seen of his vision of The Process©. For a program that lost their Heisman runner-up QB, top two receivers, and best tackle to the top 15 spots of the 2020 NFL Draft, plus an injury to All-American candidate Jaylen Waddle, they truly enacted the notion of next-man-up to perfection, which is nothing short of remarkable.

For the college football fans, it gave us something to do and cheer for (or against). It gave us a little piece of normality in a warp speed-changing world. For Alabama fans, it gave us a magical season. Glory. Pride. Happiness. Number 18.

Once again, I humbly appreciate you reading my wacky rants every Tuesday and engaging in talk about college football. If I made you chuckle, I am glad. If I insulted you, it was all in fun. If I made you think and form an opinion, we all win. Thank you all and see you next fall.

ROLL TIDE!