...And it leaves behind more questions than answers. Par for the course, as it is.
ND’s toughest opponent was a season opener against Michigan. They didn’t play another questionable game until they matched against Pitt six games later, though you couldn’t tell that by scoreboard. They played a total of three season final ranked teams, and none of them back to back. They remained undefeated and ‘earned’ a birth in the Playoff. They are the champion of no conference.
OU won the BigVII by avenging a Texas loss. That win is arguably their best of the season against a team ranked 15th in the end. WVU could be considered a showcase, but any study into the game demonstrates a conspicuous lack of defense. Their D isn’t ‘bad’, it’s ‘non-existing’. They played a total of four games against season ending ranked opponents, and you’ve got to count Texas twice to arrive at that. An aside: BigXII officiating is horrendous- a complete farce- a slap in the face to fair competition, and though those officials didn’t always prop one team (as they spread their misery and misapplication of rulings ‘fairly’ for the most part) they certainly did by season’s end. Without the zebra’s, OU isn’t in the Playoff’s.
Clemson continues to baffle with their execution. MAN ALIVE when they execute properly they are something to behold. Speed, agility, precision, perfect routes and gaping lanes- they are a concert of movement. Then, the same team lays back and grazes. Not unlike FSU of the nineties, these fellas play two quarters of football- you just don’t know which 30 minute window they’ll choose. For the record, I’m not certain ‘they’ know going into a game- they just ‘roll with the flow’. Speaking of rolling-
Alabama- the awarded ‘GOAT’ team, demonstrated some weaknesses as they were manhandled by the Dawgs this weekend past. For 50 minutes of game time UGA out maneuvered them, out smarted them, and straight up out played them. But, alas, UGA couldn’t keep them in their shadow. The lead at one time was two possessions, but Bama kept pace waiting until UGA broke stride. Many are saying that UGA is and was Bama’s greatest test this season, and I tend to agree. There is no other team staffed and wary of Bama enough to go toe to toe. Georgia had their shot- and they missed. They’ve been delegated to the Sugar Bowl where they’ll play Texas. That should be a good game with both teams getting a month to prepare.
tOSU is snarking up the message boards with complaints of favoritism. The truth is they’ve played and defeated a suitable number of ranked opponents making their case legitimate, they’ve done so in style several times (the comeback against PSU being the most obvious) and they are a team as explosive as either Clemson or Oklahoma when the parts fall into place. They lost to Purdue, though. Badly, I may add. On paper and after the fact this appears a lot worse than it is- for anyone who watched that game it was a classic example of a mismatch on the field tOSU couldn’t seal up- and they were playing a MOTIVAED Purdue team that night who I will suggest could have beaten anyone short of Bama or the Saints. It’s a shame there are still dinosaurs who suggest a mid-major such as ND ‘deserve’ a shot over tOSU- but that is how it goes.
And so it is…. It doesn’t matter except in contemplation who is better than who anymore- because the ‘Playoff’ will secure and appoint the National Championship one way or the other. It is fairly obvious that there will be at least two interesting games. Bama and OU will put some points on the board let there be little doubt- but Bama has this thing called Defense, which is alien to OU and described as ‘effort to keep your opponent from scoring’. The nation’s best offense will be fortunate to hang 28 on the Tide. The Tide is well capable of scoring 55~60 before they go into hibernation the second half. Could Bama do this to Georgia or tOSU? Hell no.
Clemson is going to hurt the Irish. They don’t even have to break a sweat. They don’t even have to play their starting lineup. They can coast which is unfortunate as either tOSU or Georgia would play them to the bone and test their mettle for four complete quarters- and we could witness what Clemson is really about for only the second time this season.
Dabo is a tricky rascal. He seems to grasp the machination that propels Bama year in and year out. I’d go so far as to suggest he is the heir apparent when Saban finally leaves. Insofar as Bama wears the title already in the mind of most, Dabo hasn’t had his say in that yet. I wager Bama is about to be pressed like never before this season, and though they ‘should’ win, I don’t know that they will. One of the primary reasons I ain’t so sure, is that I have a feeling the BigXII will provide the officiating for that game- and if so, it’s anyone’s.