Late in the season, I've tried go back afterward and rewatch the college football games that are important to our readers, and none created a different impression the second time around than Alabama's 26-23 win over Georgia.
This time, it was all about the coach.
The Alabama freshman quarterback finished 14-for-24 in relief, throwing for 166 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception.
The Crimson Tide attack was so unproductive in the first half that Head Coach Nick Saban removed starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 25-2 as a starter coming into the game, and replaced him with his own freshman, Tua Tagovailoa. Maybe it's easier for someone with Saban's accomplished resume to do it, but inserting untested Tua Tagavailoa to rescue 'Bama on the biggest stage still goes down as one of the boldest coaching moves in any sport.
Tagovailoa's victor in overtime was his third touchdown pass of the game. On their 20 three plays later, Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm launched a attractive, arching pass that Mecole Hardman run under without breaking stride for a dramatic, 80-yard touchdown to go up 20-7 and dramatically answer Alabama's score. They did a great job.
Alabama Crimson Tide is rolling in that feeling after an exciting win in overtime of last night's College Football Playoff National Championship against the Georgia Bulldogs.
There was talk this could be the turning of the corner, that this game could be the point when Georgia takes over for Alabama as the dominant force in Southern football, which based on the numbers means college football overall. "No disrespect to Jalen, but ..."More news: US Withholding $255 Million Aid From Pakistan, Says Nikki Haley
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Our teams weren't so hot when I was at Sprayberry, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. After hitting kicks from 43 and 30, Pappanastos then also missed a 36-yard field goal to the left as time expired in regulation. Georgia sniffed out a screen pass, Tagovailoa couldn't pick up his next option and Georgia dumped the youngster for a 16-yard loss. But the Crimson Tide reached the CFP National Championship for the third straight season, and they'll be equally good next season as Nick Saban's "Process" continues.
On the next possession, Tagovailoa looked like Fromm would have no trouble earning that distinction. The former Little League World Series hero from Warner Robins, about an hour south of Atlanta, threw more passes in the national championship game then he had in any game this season. When I witness this, I understand and believe this post-Christian era needs seasoned leaders who are willing to take great risks on an emerging generation. The Knights are the first bowl-eligible team to finish the season undefeated and not win a national title since TCU in 2010.
Let's be honest, nobody outside of Tuscaloosa and the Bryant family views that team as the best in the land. In the end, the Astros won their first championship.
Donald Trump had walked out on the field Monday night at the College Football Playoffs National Championship Game flanked by military officers, with a big smile on his face.
Saban had one more lesson to teach his former pupil: you've got to play a almost flawless game if you're going to dethrone this dynasty.
That's a new one, even for Saban.
"Everybody realizes the sacrifices and the adversity that you had to overcome to do it and the hard work you put in to do it", Saban said. "It has to be a team ball". Look, every player that's a competitor wants to play, and ... It is always a collective group of plays that go into whether a team comes away with a win or not. But even Saban sounded a bit mystified after the game. "But there's more to it than that". Under Saban, Alabama has every expectation of winning the championship every single year no matter how many first-round draft picks leave the year before.