Here’s What I Saw In National Title Game

Like many who don’t live in the Far West, I rarely stay up after a long Saturday workday covering Alabama to watch games in the Pac-12. I had seen Oregon only a little, including a game against a woeful Washington State team in which it took help from the officials for the Ducks to pull it out.

Nevertheless, I had seen enough of this year’s Rose Bowl to think that Alabama might have dodged a bullet by losing by a touchdown to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Oregon’s 39-point win over Florida State had my attention.

And then I watched Monday night’s championship game in the inaugural college football playoff and realized that Bama’s poor play in the Sugar Bowl almost certainly cost the Crimson Tide another national title.

First of all, my hat is off to Ohio State. After losing a home game by two touchdowns to a very poor Virginia Tech team, and playing with a quarterback who was third team at the start of the season, the Buckeyes mowed through a murderers’ row of Big Ten teams to the championship game. Okay, it wasn’t all that tough to trample the likes of Maryland and Rutgers and Illinois and Indiana and Michigan – the cupcakes that sprinkled every Big Ten schedule this season. But Ohio State did what it had to do.

And the Buckeyes were extraordinary in championship season with a 59-0 win over Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship, a 42-35 win over Alabama to win the Sugar Bowl in the semifinal playoff game, and a 42-20 win over Oregon for No. 1.

Alabama, by the way, finished fourth in the final Associated Press poll. Oregon was the “don’t bother to think about this” second place team, TCU third.

I will admit to being blinded by the Oregon glitz, and I’m not talking about their uniforms which annually are voted both best and worst in college football. I’m talking about Oregon as a football team. It is a tricky team and it has very fine athletes, but if you did what I did and listened to a Pac-12 broadcaster about what a tough defense it has, you, too, were taken in.

Oregon doesn’t tackle.

They will probably have another Mariotta-type quarterback and run roughshod through the Pac-12 again, at least as long as USC is recovering from its probation, but we need to get a grip on giving so much respect to a team that can’t tackle.

I have one other thought on this day. Some have raised the question of whether Urban Meyer is now the best coach in college football. Here’s the answer:

Nick Saban didn’t quit after the Sugar Bowl.


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