It’s that time again–a time when college fans come together and cheer on their respective schools to gain bragging rights. It is the third year of the new college football playoff system. The way it works is 13 selection committee members selected the four best teams of the country. The playoff games took place in two popular locations; Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. The two winners clashed in the national championship game in the Mercedes-Benz stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
The four teams that participated this year were nothing short of deserving of a spot. The defending Clemson Tigers sit at number one. After a respective 12-1 season and an ACC title, Clemson proved they should be at the top of the rankings.
Teams making their first appearance in playoffs were Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners. Georgia came off an impressive campaign after going 12-1 on the season and winning the SEC title.
Oklahoma, led by heisman winner Baker Mayfield, also had a strong season. Going 12-1 and winning the Big 12 title. Mayfield and his team ultimately looked like world beaters.
The controversy soon became who should fill the final playoff spot. In a 2016 interview with ESPN, Alabama head coach Nick Saban shared his opinion on how the playoffs should be set, he said ‘’I believe a team that wins its respective power 5 conference should be enough on the resume to claim a college football spot.”
The committee had to make a choice. They had to either follow what Nick Saban alluded to and let the Big 10 champion Ohio State Buckeyes in, or give a team like Alabama or undefeated UCF a spot. The committee later decided to give the final spot to perennial powerhouse Alabama.
New Year’s Day– the Rose Bowl was the first game of the evening with Georgia and Oklahoma. At half, Baker Mayfield and his high powered offense jumped to a 31-17 lead. Midway through the third quarter, however, the lead was lost as true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm and the dynamic duo in the backfield of senior Nick Chubb and senior Sony Michel of the Georgia offense scored 14 unanswered points to tie the game 31-31.
In the fourth, each team traded a pair of touchdowns leading to a tied game of 45-45. The fourth ended and both teams were headed into an overtime thriller. In the first overtime, both teams exchanged field goals. The Bulldogs came out on top after blocking an Oklahoma field goal and handing the ball off to Sony Michel to win the game 54-48, sending Georgia to the national championship game. On the the other hand, the Sugar Bowl between Clemson and Alabama was not close.
The second game of the evening was a rematch of the last two national championships, between up-and-coming program Clemson Tigers and the high anarchy of the college football world, Alabama Crimson Tide
In fact, both teams were only able to combine for 13 points by halftime with Alabama leading 10-3. Through the third quarter, however, Alabama was able to pull away by scoring on offense and defense and only allowing a field goal, having a 24-6 advantage. Both teams were unable to score in the fourth ultimately leading to an Alabama win and a send-off to their third straight national title game.
Monday, January 8– the all-SEC matchup between Alabama and Georgia was underway.
Before the big game, helix students were asked who they predict would win. Jahari Hill, a sophomore, confidently stated, “Alabama is going to win there is no question there.”
Jordan Walter, a junior, expressed, “Anyone but Alabama, so I am going with Georgia”
In the first half, it looked like Georgia could pull away with victory after a strong second quarter. Georgia had a 13-0 lead heading into the locker room. Coming out of the locker room, head coach Nick Saban decided to go with a quarterback change from sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts to the true freshman, Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa did not play in any meaningful regular season snaps.
After being down 20-7, Alabama outscored Georgia 19-3 in the fourth quarter and overtime. The true freshman threw three touchdowns with the most important coming in on the first play of overtime to freshman receiver Devonta Smith to win Nick Saban his sixth national championship.
Alabama once again is on top of the college football world. Georgia shows signs of promises and is here to contend for a championship every year.