Loser of Saturday's Game Has Clear Path to Natty

Loser of Saturday’s Game Has Clear Path to Natty

Han Vance on SEC football: Less is at stake than you may think in the Saturday night big game, on the capstone. In fact, taking one loss, especially one out of division, in-conference in the mighty SEC, has actually never been a detriment at all to a team in eventually making the College Football Playoff.

Alabama has never had a 15-0 season.

They have won national titles without winning their division, in both the CFP and in the previous, two-team only, BCS championship non-tourney.

Losing the SEC West to Auburn and then outlasting Ol’ Georgia, the SEC champs, in overtime in Atlanta, in heartbreaking (for us) fashion, fairly recently…but tick tick tick tock.


That was later, some years after a year in which Bama again lost the SEC West to an LSU team actually considered better than last year’s LSU team, at the end of both LSU teams’ regular seasons – they’d played a harder schedule (considered the hardest ever by many) and were likewise with the 2020 Tigers undefeated but won by more dominant margins in several of their biggest games and were rated as the best regular season team of all time by the media and the stats-geeks. They’d edged Bama on the capstone and blew Georgia out badly in the SECCG, after a strong first half in the Georgia Dome by the Dawgs D. Folks said LSU would get a split title even if they somehow lost the rematch to Alabama, that year. The Tide kept them from crossing midfield, though, winning it all when Bama were factually not even a deserving entrant into the game, all things considered. That’s the power of their name brand and manipulative coach.

Before LSU had a perfect year last year, and Clemson had a perfect year the year prior, no team had gone undefeated and won the CFP. Losing a regular season game was simply something (bad) that happened on the way to the crown. Sure, the team that beat the champs had a feeling of mostly-false superiority that lingered, but the champ is the champ is the champ. That’s the system, and the CFP winner wins it all, no ifs and or UCF buts about it.

Do I hate the system? YES. Expansion now, Expansion tomorrow, Expansion forever. I believe in fairness for all the FBS teams (and for all people, for that matter).

Georgia lost to LSU in the regular season, once, on the Bayou, then lost to them again in Atlanta in an SECCG, when Nick Saban won his first Natty. The only year Kirby won any type of real championship as a head coach, his second, he was whitewashed by Auburn on the plains, then smoked them by three touchdowns when they were injury-depleted in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. These rematches can happen and can go either way, in the SECCG, in the CFP.

Georgia and Bama could quite conceivably play three times this football season, y’all, so don’t throw yourself off a bridge if a desperate-to-be-best master schools his 21st straight pupil Saturday night. This is actually Saban’s best offense – better than last year with those other two great wideouts still in school and (the overhyped) Tua. Why? Because Tua was throwing it way too much and getting hurt. It happened more than once, from over-passing as a scheme. That is not power football.

They have a good QB and two proven weapon wideouts who would all start at UGA, right now. They have a proven, powerful NFL-bound offensive line to rival Georgia’s of last season under Sam Pittman.

And their dynamite power running back had 200 yards rushing and five TDs in his last game, a shootout road win in the SEC West, where the opponent apparently it has been revealed had Bama’s defensive signals. Meanwhile, Georgia’s so-called “feature runner,” ZEU$, has never had any long runs in college, at all, got 22 carries Saturday – his most ever – and averaged just two yards a pop, at home, against a Tennessee who hasn’t beaten a single Top 10 team in ten full years. Our starting QB is a gamer and all, but he is 5-11 (at most) and a former walk-on. He threw lucky passes I have seen on film that should have been picked: two at an Arkansas losing its 20th SEC game in a row, one clear one versus a young overmatched Auburn that just isn’t that good this year, and two at home again, against a wilting in the face of adversity Tennessee.

Bama makes those plays, folks.

Only one of our O-linemen started to effectively end the two-loss campaign of last year when we were blown out in Atlanta, and he has been having major problems snapping the ball the whole time he has been a center. He’d play guard more, maybe, if the center was not the lineman always calling the O-line sets.

You can say Pickens if you want, but this is easily the least marquee name-brand guys offense Kirby has fielded in his five years, and the least such at Georgia overall since before Gurshall/Murray almost won it all, Todd Gurley’s true freshman year, losing by a fingertip tip to Bama in Atlanta.

I could have made these whoop N-D shirts earlier, if the Kirby Smart coached defense had not made that play. Still recall him over-celebrating their luckiest win on the field in the Georgia Dome…and I don’t forget that type of thing…ever. Never. Ever.

Praised for going to high school then college in the Peach State, he gets another chance to beat the team from the state where he was born Saturday night, there (on CBS).

He’s never beaten either LSU or Alabama (0-4 in total).

Alabama’s defense and Georgia’s offense need improvement. So do you trust Nick Saban or Todd Monken more to fix that this week? Georgia has won twice in a row at Alabama over ranked teams, including Saban’s first loss there (to Mark Richt, in OT). Trust me, he is still pissed off about that, even after beating UGA five straight.

Either Georgia’s defense and special teams win this game by dominating the Tide, or you have a new favorite offensive player in Athens, or the oddsmakers are right.

…But fret ye not should that outcome, come, a rematch – or even two – is imminent…in the (new, ATL) house of horrors.

We could grow.

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