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Jumbo Package: Is a rematch more challenging? Depends on who you ask

And Bill O’ Brien and Pete Golding have very different answers to that question

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 SEC Championship Game - Georgia v Alabama

Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


How did UGA react to losing to Alabama?

“Want the honest to God truth?” Nolan Smith said Wednesday. “I cried. I’m 20 now. I’ve been playing football since I was four — 16 years, haven’t won anything. Haven’t won a championship. I won a couple of bowl games but anything big, any championship, I never won yet.”

If you wanted a quote to describe ‘Dawg futility in a nutshell? There it is.

Yummy Rat Poison

So, while Georgia players are crying, what is the mental state of the Crimson Tide?

Disrespected”. SEC Shorts nailed that earlier this week. The one place you don’t want to be is on the receiving end of some “Bama’s overrated” conventional wisdom. And those takes are everywhere.

He’s baaaaaaaack

What? Did you think a human concern like surgery is going to sideline a cyborg for an entire year? Oh, you silly mortal: the King is beyond our ken to understand.

I hope you like bad football; you’re about to get a lot more of it.

Even as the sport’s two best teams (by a country mile) are preparing for what should be a slobberknocker season finale, College Football’s grand poobahs can’t bring themselves to stop squabbling over how to split the rotting carcass of what was once college football vis a vis expansion.

The camps are at such an impasse that expansion talks may be shelved for an entire season, a prospect that does not break the heart of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey — after all, who’s benefiting an outsized amount from the 4-team model?

“Seventy-five percent of the time, we are winning the championship under the current format. We are comfortable continuing in that mode.” Sankey told Finebaum (the actual percentage will be 62.5% after either Alabama or Georgia win Monday’s title game).


But the conferences are still at loggerheads over which new “more inclusive” format (read: more and shittier teams, more and shittier matchups, more and shittier early beatdowns): eight teams or twelve.

Sankey would prefer 12. The 12-team model looks like this, and favors those conferences with a few teams at the top who are playoff-worthy, as well as the G5:

Eight members of the CFP management committee still support the 12-team model first discussed in June, which would give bids to the six highest-ranked conference champions, regardless of whether they’re Power 5 or Group of 5 programs, along with six at-large bids for the next six teams in the Playoff rankings.

The 8-team model (favored by the ACC and B1G) seems to protect those conferences with one elite team, in case their standard-bearer gets knocked off and misses the CCG because of a tie-break, or loses its CCG (And these scenarios have happened to the B1G three times in CFP era). Thus, Penn State would have gotten a seat at the table a few years back; Pitt would be a playoff team this season, as would Utah, and so on down the line. This model grants an automatic qualifier for all Power Five champions, the highest G5 and then the next two at-large.

The 8-team camp seems to be losing steam, however, and I would bet we get some form of 12-team that combines 6 auto-bids (including the G5), with the next 6 highest-ranked filling out the field.

We’re going to get some bad football under any scenario and particularly with a compromise, but the 12-team model at least tried to keep the Pitts and Wakes of the world out of the fold.

The 8-team model includes those fraud-ish teams, but then creates significant competitive imbalance as a 4-seed P5 winner may play a 5-seed G5 champ — who’s significantly weaker than the 1-seed drawing a Big 10 or SEC runner-up. The point of 8 is to clearly shut out the SEC; that’s apparent. But if the B1G had any sense, they’d oppose it. Because the odds are great under a 12-team model that it would seat two at the table every year as well.

For seemingly the 1000th time: I hate this shit with every fiber of my being. I hate the playoffs. I hate the notion of an expanded field even more. There aren’t four good teams in a year, much less 8 or 12. This is a patent, gross cash grab with all of commissioner piggies jockeying at the trough for their slopping.

Even the target audience hates it. When you already can’t get eyeballs on Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and the CFP’s first Cinderella (and you can’t, BTW), what are you going to do when someone like Ohio State draws Louisiana Lafayette for a 38-point beatdown on a random Thursday night in December?

Bring back the BCS.

These goofballs can’t even figure out how to expand a playoff

Speaking of the NCAA, they can’t figure out what the hell to do about vaccinations. They’ve now decided that “vaccinated” means a full two-dose series and a booster, which is ambitious beyond measure.

Do you know how many Americans have one dose? About 78%. Two doses 62%. Booster? Just one-third. How many college-aged persons have two doses overall, not even counting a booster? 59%. And not a single state even has 50% of the population with a booster injection.

What I’m saying is to be prepared for a lot more cancellations, no contests, and forfeits coming to a city near you, particularly as this is just the baseline, and each state’s response varies. Gotta’ love Federalism in times of national crisis, eh! What was an uneasy compromise in 1783, at a time predating the microscope and germ theory, becomes a mud-dumb idea applied to a continental empire, with instant access to travel, in an increasingly smaller world.

Look, I don’t know the answer here. But I’m sure the NCAA doesn’t have it.

Sorry, Mal. Brian Branch has taken your job.

It’s hard to talk about disappointments in a season where this Alabama team wins an SEC title, the Heisman Trophy, and enters the CFP Championship game as the No. 1 overall seed.

But, yeah, there’s an elephant in the room that has been squeezing us all season: Malachi Moore. And Brian Branch is playing so much down the stretch because he has simply been the better player on the field this season. To say that Moore is in a sophomore slump is to be generous. No. 13 has had a Daniel Wright-sized target on his chest all year, and he’s simply not responded well.

Golding said all the right things yesterday about the competition between the two, and how they are essentially plug-and-play, versatile defenders. But, what I found far more interesting were the remarks of their teammates:

“I always loved Brian Branch’s game,” senior defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis said. “He’s a hard worker. He shows up every day. And he’s ready to work. I love the way, how he comes downhill and he brings that thump with him. I always loved his game. I always gave him his flowers whenever it’s due.”

“Branch has been a huge part for us too. He does a great job, he’s physical,” Henry To’o To’o said. “And he communicates a lot. He does a really great job. I think our whole secondary does a great job. We all feed off of each other. I think we all gel well as a secondary.”

It sounds like the other 10 guys in crimson and white have a preference, eh?

When cults collide

With OU poaching another Clemson player and another Clemson assistant, the passive aggressive beef is off the chart. There is legit bad blood simmering between these two, and it’s hilarious. (and the Twitter slap fights ensuing are even better)

The kicker this time? Clemson had just promoted that guy to assistant HC and given him a $200,000 raise on Monday.


Saban unleashes the Coordinators!

Yesterday was legitimately one of the more fun days of the season: when Nick Saban lets the assistant coaches out of their ‘Bama Gimp Suits and lets them actually talk. And, talk they did.

We heard from Pete Golding on everything from Nick Saban ass-chewings to how tough it is to play someone twice in one season, where he was oddly very comfortable seeing the same team twice:

I think the key is, in a pre-snap read, he thinks he’s getting this look and then the ball turns over now and it’s a different coverage or it’s a different pressure, it’s a different front. And now he’s got to think. I think there’s no difference in disguises to me on defense from the front, the coverage and like that, and on offense with motions and shifts and trades.

They don’t put in new plays each week. They’re just getting to them differently. It’s a different formation, different shift. They’re putting a guy in a different stop. They’re tweaking things. But it’s still what they do, it’s their bread and butter.

And, out of the Bill Belichik mold of speaking for 45 minutes and rehashing tired tropes, we also heard from walking Quaalude Bill O’Brien — a man with the stoicism of a Buddhist monk in a deep trance. You’re just not getting much out of that guy. Saban, Belichik, and the NFL pedigree does that to a man.

Contrast Pete’s remarks above on a rematch with those of B’OB:

Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough. I think you have to do a little bit of both. You have to go back to the drawing board, so to speak. You’ve got to start from scratch. You have to look at the last game. You’ve got to go back and review the whole season, your season, their season.

It’s a long week. They have a great defense. Almost like a generational defense. They have amazing stats and they play hard. They play good, a lot of great players and coaches on that side of the ball. It’s going to be a challenge for us.

That is an NFL-level cry for help. I honestly giggled reading his presser.

Okay, we’ll be back later. For now, dig in.


Malachi or Branch?

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