When the American Football Finals Committee awarded the fourth and final place to Alabama instead of Ohio State, it set the stage for what many fans considered an apocalyptic scenario: two SEC teams playing for the National Championship. Standing in the path of that confrontation, SEC was a winner of the Heisman Trophy leading the most explosive offensive in the nation, not to mention that the defending national champions reached their peak at the right time. But Georgia received the final blow in an exciting fight by blow with Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma, and Alabama suffocated Clemson in the dominant fashion. So here we are, with a national championship game with Southeast flavor in our hands.
The victories of the semifinals of both teams were impressive for different reasons. Georgia beat the 12 great champions at their own game: an optional defense shootout, the kind of competition SEC teams want to avoid, as is often the case, while Alabama sometimes made Clemson look like the varsity one week later That the Tigers won the ACC title by 35. One thing is to be upset with the election of the committee to go with Bama on a conference champion, but it's hard to deny that the Monday showdown is anything but a game between the two best teams in the country. Both teams validated their status by scoring big victories over the conference champions in the biggest of the stages, and these victories make the SEC showdown a bit more enjoyable.
If you're still bitter about the state of Ohio or USC or even UCF did not have the chance, we can all join together hoping that this year's national championship is a more entertaining contest than the last time two SEC teams fought for all.
After the 2011 season, Alabama beat LSU 21-0 in an absolute snooze party that nobody really wanted to see. That match for the national championship was not the first time these two teams met that season. The two programs of SEC West faced approximately two months before in the "Game of the century" of that season, with the Tigers and the Tide undefeated and ranked in number 1 and 2 in the country.
That first meeting in itself was polarizing. Depending on whom you ask, LSU's 9/6 triumph was a gloriously anachronistic defensive match or an indecipherable field goal bonanza.
Because the game was so close, Alabama only fell to No. 4 in the AP survey and most importantly, No. 3 in the BCS ranking. That meant that if The Tide could win their last three games, they would need only a little help from the field to enter the title game. Like this season, a loss in the regular season kept them out of the game for the SEC title, so everything that stood between them and a possible national championship game was Mississippi State, FBS Georgia State and a always difficult confrontation of Iron Bowl in Auburn. Alabama took care of business the rest of the way, as did LSU, which entered the game undefeated title after defeating Georgia 42-10 in the SEC championship game.
LSU was obvious for a national championship stand, but there were three teams that had legitimate cases for second place. Oklahoma State was 11-1 and had just beaten No.10 Oklahoma by 34, but a poor loss in Iowa not ranked in Week 13 was big. Stanford also had an 11-1 record, with the only loss at No. 6 in Oregon, but he did not win Pac-12 North and, therefore, did not win the Pac-12 title. Then there was Alabama, an 11-1 team whose only loss came by three to the best team in the country. The decisive classification of BCS (remember that?) Was with Crimson Tide, and the rematch was activated.
The SEC of that year was definitely less justifiable than this year's. It is difficult to pass the fact that the teams had already faced each other especially with two other extremely valuable teams waiting in the wings. Also, the first game between LSU and Alabama was very boring, so why not give Oklahoma State, a team that averaged 48.7 points per game that year, a shot in the LSU defense? The problem was that no human or committee had the power to intervene as the voice of reason to prevent it from happening; what split the BCS classification was the final decision.
To make matters worse, while the defense once again ruled the day, the rematch itself does not reproduce the intrigue of the regular season meeting. Alabama took a 9-0 lead at halftime on three field goals, no touchdowns were scored until less than five minutes left and, famously, LSU did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter. The Tigers offense, despite having Odell Beckham Jr. and Spencer Ware and Alfred Blue and Jarvis Landry at their disposal, managed only 92 total yards and picked up five first chances throughout the game. It was really a Les Miles special.
The entire contest was a woefully unenthusiastic way to end a season, and Oklahoma State's 41-38 overtime victory over Stanford at the Fiesta Bowl left fans wondering what final high-school Cowboys octane could have seemed.
There are reasons to be more optimistic about the edition of SEC vs. SEC 2018. First, the teams have not faced each other and do not have the familiarity of division rivals, even though Georgia coach Kirby Smart worked with Nick Saban for years before moving to Athens. We have no idea how the terrible defense of Alabama against the duo Nick Chubb-Sony Michel is doing, nor do we know how Georgia plans to contain Tide's leader, Calvin Ridley.
There is something special in those first minutes of a championship game, when both teams sit down and see what will work and what will not. That electric start was not there six years ago. And unlike its 2011 counterparts, this squad of Crimson Tide made manage the No. 1 team in the country, a victory that validated his controversial admission to the playoff party.
There is also a real possibility that & # 39; Take on another challenge: Alabama is the most important scoring defense in the country, leaving only 11.5 points per game, while Georgia is the fourth best in that category (13.2). But at least if this national championship turns out to be a failure, it will be the first terrible game we saw between these two enemies of the SEC. A horrible game can be stomached. Two leaves a persistent bad taste.