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So Tired of Alabama and Clemson

January 7th, 2019 · No Comments · College football

The Alabama-Clemson game coming up tonight marks the fourth consecutive season those schools have met in college football’s final game.

And many of us are sick and bloody tired of watching those two decide who will be national champion.

Some have suggested it is a good thing, this repetition. “Would you rather see Notre Dame or a Pac-12 team in there?” is the sort of rhetorical question posed — which usually comes with information on how many of the nation’s elite recruits have chosen those two school in recent years, and how many of them go on to play in the National Football League.

What I would like to see is simple: Schools not named Alabama or Clemson being good enough to play for a championship.

Why do those two keep popping up? Because they have the best coaches and the best players.

One would think a fiery coach on the rise could sell his program on the basis of “and we’re going to take down Alabama/Clemson and you will be remembered at my school.”

But no. Winning breeds winning, which Pete Carroll could vouch for … the man who suggested USC could “win forever.” And they didn’t come far from missing that target, during the oughties.

So, at the moment, players perceived to be at the top of the heap choose between Alabama and Clemson, and we like at two teams in red and white with their bigger-faster-stronger teams and first tier coaches appear in the title game.

College football dominated by two teams … maybe 2.5 teams if we include Georgia, which reached the final two seasons ago. But past that we are left with the likes of Oklahoma and LSU and maybe Ohio State as cannon-fodder in the semifinals of the football playoffs.

It cannot be good for the game of college football. A lack of competition for a couple of teams takes the suspense out of just about any other game in the country. And those titanic matches between Alabama and Clemson? They blend into each other, don’t they?

In this season’s final four, Clemson crushed a previously unbeaten Notre Dame 30-3; Alabama ran away from Oklahoma before losing interest and winning “only” 45-34.

Alabama has outscored opponents by an average of 47.7 to 14.8; Clemson has an almost identical margin-of-victory stat, 44.3 to 13.7.

Alabama is a slight favorite. If Clemson were playing literally anyone else, they would be the favored team.

I should not know the names and back stories of several players from each of these teams, but I do, led by the quarterbacks, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

One ESPN columnist suggests that seven of the first 35 players to be taken in April’s NFL draft will be playing tonight. That’s a lot, considering more than 100 schools (133, actually) play top-tier football.

Next year, I would like to see one of the 131 who are not Alabama and Clemson appear in this game. I am sure most fans would agree.

A prediction? The talent-hoarding big, fast, strong team wins.




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