Here she is, folks. The final Blog Poll of a very weird, often halting 2020 College Football season that saw the Alabama Crimson Tide run wire-to-wire as the best team in the land, even if it the polls did not reflect that.
It was a year where the team that could retain the most normalcy had the best chance to hoist the trophy. With the greatest coach of all time on the Alabama sideline, you had to like the chances that this Alabama team would retain its focus, be stacked with leadership up and down the roster, see the emergence of several key freshmen, find a game-breaking tight end, and have so many other intangibles that championships need.
That perseverance and focus were rewarded come award season time: For just the third time in the last 25 years, a non-QB won the Heisman Trophy, and just the fourth time in 80+ years it went to a wide receiver. But, that was not all this team took it home. To list the awards Alabama didn’t win would actually be easier.
In the end, however, Alabama took home the ones that mattered the most — the Crimson Tide won their division, then won the SEC Championship, then exorcised the ghosts of 2014, beating the Ohio State Buckeyes to claim the school’s 18th national title. Perhaps more importantly, the win exorcised the lingering taste from the collective mouths of a team, program and fanbase still smarting from the beatdown two calendar years ago.
Though he won’t admit it, it was also a win that Nick Saban has tirelessly worked for the last 24 months; one he personally needed, not professionally. Still, in those professional terms, the win tied Nick Saban with sixth national titles at Alabama. And now, Saban takes a backseat to no one — if he still did — as the greatest to ever do it. The win vaulted Saban over Bryant with his seventh overall title, the most in major division college football history.
It has been a special run, this sixth title in 13 years; and this has by far been one of Alabama’s more special teams. Enjoy it.
Remarks follow below the final Blog Poll of the 2020 season.
2020 Blog Poll Finale
|20||San Jose State||15|
|CONSIDERED||No from the ACC or Pac 12. Yuck|
A few quick notes:
- In a statement season, the Group of 5 (and indie BYU) had a watershed moment across the country. The Sun Belt went 3-0 on the road against the Big 12 to open the season. That was followed up with Coastal Carolina and ULL being in the Top 15 by season’s end, with the Chanticleers’ Jamey Chadwell being named the national coach of the year. For an encore, the Sun Belt went 3-1 in bowl play. BYU finished in the Top 10 and destroyed most teams in their paths. Hugh Freeze’s Liberty team went 2-1 against the ACC, and 3-1 against ranked teams, and it handed Coastal their only loss of the season. Army returned to its 10-win form, and knocked off West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. Cincinnati went 10-1, finished in the Top 10, gave UGA all they could handle in the Peach Bowl, and were a legitimate claimant to the final playoff spot. San Jose State had its best season in over 70 years, and dethroned Boise State atop the Mountain...and so many other moments. It was a great, great year for the midmajors, and our blog poll has reflected that all season.
- The Texas A&M Aggies finish second in our blog poll. But this should surprise no one. For the better part of two months, I’ve had the Aggies ranked second. Following its loss to Alabama, Texas A&M then beat Florida. After that season-defining win, Jimbo’s bunch won their next seven games in row, and every last one was by double-digits. This team was an absolute machine the last two months of the year and should have been the fourth team in the playoffs.
- Ohio State was a very good team in the end. And, yes, I do think two of the three best teams in the nation played for the Title — with Alabama’s 17 point win over A&M, we saw the Tide defeat the other. There will be many who say that Alabama did not see the Buckeyes at full strength, with OSU eventually down four starters. But that very much goes both ways. The Tide had a one-legged Jaylen Waddle, was absent Star DB Malachi Moore, lost its best safety Jordan Battle in the 2Q, was losing its offensive coordinator all through the prep period, was without team leader Landon Dickerson, and had DeVonta Smith for just one half and one series. Injuries, dodgy targeting calls, bad penalties and the ‘Rona were challenges all teams faced this year. In the war of attrition, the Tide just had the better (and far more) Jimmies and Joes.
- The ACC and Pac 12 were every bit the frauds in the post season they appeared to be throughout the regular season. The two conferences went 0-8. A team with the athletic deficiencies that Notre Dame possessed had no business winning 10 games and being in the playoffs. A team with as many structural weaknesses as 2020 Clemson is easily exposed in the grind of an SEC or Big 10 season. And a very special shoutout to Miami, Oregon, and UNC for being particularly fraudulent.
- The Big 12 wound up playing very quality ball after a rough early stretch that had DQ’ed every contender for the playoffs before Halloween. By season’s end, Oklahoma was one of the best teams in the nation; Texas was playing great ball; Oklahoma State lined up and bullied 10-win Miami; and Iowa State was as hot as anyone in the country.
- And, yes, in the end, the SEC ruled the roost — individually, as a conference, and with the best team in the land.