Alabama’s Nick Saban got outcoached, a Michigan legend agreed with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, and Dabo Swinney “celebrated” beating rival South Carolina by calling out Georgia.
The college football world must be dreaming. The next thing someone’s going to say is Utah will get to play for a national championship.
One team that won’t be playing for a title is the Crimson Tide. They will miss the College Football Playoff for the first time since its inception, and while Saban talked about backup quarterback Mac Jones throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and that his squad committed 13 penalties, he led off his post-game comments about what he considered to be an “unfair” play that kept Alabama from getting one final possession.
Auburn substituted punter Arryn Siposs and lined him up at wide receiver. When Alabama saw Siposs trot on the field, it sent in its return team. Then, when the Tide realized quarterback Bo Nix was still on the field, they tried to put the defense back on the field. The ball was spotted ready for play, and in the confusion, Alabama was called for too many men on the field.
“I really feel that it was a pretty unfair play at the end of the game,” Saban said. “They substituted the punter as a wide receiver, so we put the punt team in. And then when the quarterback was still in there we tried to put the defense back in. I thought they should have given us a little more time to substitute and get (Jaylen) Waddle out as a returner. We get called for 12 guys on the field. So that was very disappointing.
“We’re responsible for that as coaches, but it was a very unusual circumstance to say the least. And I think that sometimes when you have those, it should be viewed that way.”
Alabama had a chance to substitute, and it did. It doesn’t get a chance to substitute twice just because the punter lined up in an unorthodox spot. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn found an innovative way to utilize his personnel within the rules, and outsmarted Saban.
The question is, how long will it be until Alabama utilizes the play against someone else? The only thing we know it won’t be in the CFP.
Fields, the former Harrison High School standout, completed 14 of 25 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns in his first game against Michigan. The win was the Buckeyes’ eighth in a row in the series and 15th in the last 16. When Fields was asked why Ohio State was dominating the series, he offered a blunt observation.
“I just think we take it more serious than they do,” he said. “We prepare for it all year. Like (strength) coach Mick (Marotti) said, we’re preparing for the next year right now. So I think it just means more at Ohio State.”
While many Michigan fans did not like Fields’ insight, one surprising person to agree with him is arguably the best player in Wolverines history — former Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.
“This to me says it all,” Woodson said, then adding “#notjustanothergame #goblue.”
Fields will get at least on more chance to face Michigan next season when it travels to Columbus. It will be interesting to see how the Wolverines use those comments at motivation until then.
During Swinney’s post game media session, he was convinced that despite a 38-3 drubbing of South Carolina, the CFP committee is itching to get rid of the defending national champions because of their soft 2019 schedule. But to make his point, he took a shot at Georgia in the process.
“(The win is) huge from a national standpoint, because obviously if we lose this game, I mean they are going to kick us out,” Swinney said. “They don’ want us in there (the playoffs) anyways. We would drop to No. 20, you know.
“Georgia loses to this very same team and the very next day it’s, ‘How do we keep Georgia in it?’ We win to the team that beat South Carolina and it’s, ‘How do we get Clemson out?’
“It’s the dadgumest thing. It’s big (we won today) because they can’t vote us out. We got to go 30-0. I mean, we ain’t got no choice because ‘we don’t play nobody.’”
Georgia has played a much better schedule, which is why it is in position to make the playoffs with a win over LSU, but looking a little closer, Swinney has a point to make.
Clemson played both Texas A&M and South Carolina. The Tigers beat the Aggies in College Station 24-10. Georgia beat them at home 19-13. The Gamecocks beat Georgia in Athens 20-17.
Of course, maybe more concerning to UGA should be LSU, which it will see next Saturday in the SEC championship game.
LSU beat Texas A&M 50-7 on Saturday, and the Tigers are the No. 1 team in the country.
Which brings me to my ballot, and as always, I offer the following disclaimer: I don’t care if Georgia or Georgia Tech win. The same can be said for Alabama, Auburn, Clemson or for anyone else for that matter. I grew up in Ohio, but I am not an Ohio State fan, even though its been 2928 days since it lost to Michigan.
My money went to UAB, which is now 9-3 after a 26-21 victory over North Texas. The Blazers won the Conference USA West division and will face Florida Atlantic on Saturday as it tries to defend last year’s conference title. When I start ranking UAB in the top 10, then you can start calling me a homer.
1. LSU: The Tigers likely clinched a spot in the CFP with their win yesterday.
2. Ohio State: The Buckeyes likely clinched a spot in the CFP with their win yesterday.
3. Clemson: The Tigers still need to beat Virginia in the ACC title game to secure a spot in the playoffs.
4. Georgia: Former McEachern and Walton wide receiver standouts Tyler Simmons and Dominick Blaylock had good games against Georgia Tech. That will have to continue as the Bulldogs will be without top receiver Lawrence Cager (injury), and George Pickens (suspension because of fighting) will miss the first half of the SEC championship game.
5. Utah: If the Utes come out with a dominant win over Oregon in the Pac 12 championship game, and Georgia loses to LSU, it will be hard to keep Utah out of the playoffs.
6. Oklahoma: If the Sooners beat Baylor again in the Big 12 title game, it might be enough to jump Utah for a playoff spot.
11. Baylor: The Bears may have a say with only one loss, but its hard to get past the struggles against teams like Rice, West Virginia, TCU and Texas Tech.
16. Memphis gets a rematch with Cincinnati for the AAC championship. The winner may earn the spot in the Cotton Bowl as the Group of 5 representative in the New Year’s Six bowls.
2. Ohio State
8. Notre Dame
10. Penn State
19. Boise State
20. Appalachian State
25. Air Force