Path to the CFP
Han Vance on Georgia football: Or why I am routing on dreaded Golden Domers Notre Dame in every game not played Between the Hedges in the Classic City.
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In 1980 lore Georgia survived a big scare versus that season’s Heisman winner, George Rogers, and the not conference affiliated aka independent University of South Carolina Gamecocks only when Carolina coughed it up late. Run, Lindsay. Run, Lindsay at the Gator Bowl in J-Ville (yes it absolutely grammatically needs a comma in there between those two magical words). Herschel Walker over and through hardcore future Dallas Cowboys legend Bill Bates at Rocky Top; my God, a freshman. These three games were nailbiters to varying degrees, for the football team of the university where I’d earn mine.
Then, Ol’ Georgia barely edged Notre Dame as 1981 dawned. Night game in NOLA. Off Bourbon Street, the Bulldogs had to have a hurting Herschel go into another self to beat the most consistently prominent American football program in the world.
Little quickly tangential there or ahem, here, in the Deep South: Bama was essentially a non-story in the long stretch of mediocre at best play with occasional good-to-great years in the period between Bear Bryant’s dominance and that of masterful Nick Saban. Outside of the two greatest coaches of all-time and the short period in which Bear’s replacement did do well while – it is in the public record – continuing the then longstanding Bama legacy of being a program that cheated as much as they could get away with it, and they did not always get away with it, Bama was not a national story. Notre Dame is always a national story. Way back in the archival early history of easily my favorite sport, Bama was mostly noteworthy for cheating and winning one Rose Bowl where they were not even the bowl host’s third choice. Michigan has the most wins of all-time; Bama has cumulatively been the top program in terms of titles and probations. Holier-than-though Notre Dame is by far the single most prominent program, though. They have their own network, and it is not cable. They represent a religion and it is not that of the Mormons. They are, by far, the biggest program in the first and third viewing markets, New York City and Chicagoland, while not playing in the same state of either city. The South ain’t at all unified, y’all.
Last year, Notre Dame took to the College Football Playoff, while Georgia was #5.
Georgia would have made the CFP two-fold had Notre Dame been on the schedule: 1. Independent Notre Dame would have had a loss a la the classic 2017 tilt when the world’s top fanbase took over the Heartland (20-19); 2. More importantly, Georgia would have had the needed high-quality win.
In 2017, Georgia started the CFP poll at #1…over Bama et al. Why? They beat ND.
It is finally 2019. Two (stop scheduling this crap at all) out-of-state cupcakes upcoming…
Consider this scenario: Alabama has one loss and Georgia has one loss and say Ohio State is 12-1 again and only two can get in. Or only one. It’s going to be Alabama based on recent pedigree or Ohio State based on the sympathy vote, because you can’t lock the second-best conference out forever. The margin of error in the argument room – I HATE THE TALK IT OUT “SYSTEM” BY THE WAY!!! – could be, well, Georgia went out and scheduled Notre Dame, while Bama took on Duke in an Atlanta they’ve owned.
Notice I did not even mention which one is the SEC champion, because as far as the CFP committee goes, conference championships mattering has been strictly lip service. They’ve gone the other way more than once! And, they “know” Bama deserves it over any other program, regardless of the fact they may not.
I’m having fun today. Happy Friday!
Father, I mean ahem farther-ly, ha ha or further into the tangential wormhole: Irony is the great state of Georgia used to literally own much of what is now the state of Alabama. My great great grandfather Vance, the then-future Mayor of Oxford, Mississippi, was born there. Finding this all out in the proof is in the pudding way, I already mainly digging Mississippi, warmed slightly to the state of Alabama to the point that I’m suddenly strongly considering getting an MBA (online) from UAB. They’ve interviewed me the past two days, and I’m now a preferred applicant who may get to waive the GMAT by writing an essay.
Pre-Playoff, when mighty Alabama tipped that doomed ball into the field of play ending Richt’s best shot, of his three near-national champions at UGA, Bama barely advanced and then blew Notre Dame away.
Ol’ GEORGIA, Forever. You know: Forget Hell. 1785…
And, DOOLEY FIELD? …way, way, way past due. (I’ve met him thrice, he’s nice.)