OPNION: The national championship was an embarrassment and bad night for college football
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Most of us know something awful when we see it.
Whether it’s food, a relationship, a vehicle, a job, a business deal, or a neighborhood, we can tell if something is not right firsthand. As people, we love college football — mainly balanced matchups. We care if our favorite team wins or loses, but we crave entertaining football, nonetheless. The College Football Playoff Committee did everyone a massive disservice with Monday’s CFP National Championship Game between Georgia and TCU. The Bulldogs are back-to-back national champions, and Kirby Smart and Georgia fans should be proud, but the product on the field was awful. Television contracts, revenue shares, TV ratings, commercials, and the viewing public go all in for competitive matchups. They want games that keep you on the edge of your seat, provide your money’s worth, and leave everyone feeling like they won. Monday’s game did not give off that vibe.
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The CFP committee chose the four “most deserving” teams instead of the four “best” teams, and the most lop-sided national championship game happened. It was a disgrace to college football as the committee allowed the Horned Frogs to get boat raced by a team that knew it had a favorable matchup after escaping Ohio State in the CFP Semifinal round. TCU never had a chance.
The Horned Frogs had nine first downs, two third-down conversions (11 attempts), 188 total yards, and seven points. People turned their televisions off in the first quarter as Georgia led 17-7 because they knew no competition was happening. Ratings probably dropped throughout the night as the Bulldogs ran the score up on a team that should not have been in the playoff.
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TCU lost to Kansas State, who had three losses before facing Alabama, in the Big 12 Championship and did not drop in the rankings. It remained at No. 4 in the CFP, despite failing to beat a team convincingly that people expected it to defeat. The Crimson Tide dominated Kansas State by 25 points, 45-20, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.
Alabama had two losses in the 2022 regular season to Tennessee and LSU, but they came on a combined four points in matchups that went down to the wire. Outside of Ohio State, the Tide is the lone team that would have given Georgia a more competitive game. People would have watched Alabama and Georgia to see if Coach Smart could beat Nick Saban in back-to-back national championship contests. Ratings would have been excellent, viewership would have been through the roof, and people would have been more than satisfied. Also, a matchup between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs would have been good football.
It is understandable to want other programs to have a chance to play for a national title, but it is an embarrassment to the college football brand when they don’t show up on the biggest stage.
Even if the Tide had lost to Georgia, the game would have been more enjoyable. People reflect on Alabama’s 2013 BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame and its 2012 national title game against LSU, stating both were one-sided. The Fighting Irish at least showed toughness by scoring 14 points in the second half. LSU made its game with Alabama a defensive battle, holding the Tide to five field goals until Trent Richardson scored a late rushing touchdown. Some look at Alabama’s 16-44 loss to Clemson in the 2019 CFP National Championship Game, but the Tide kept it interesting in the first half – trailing 16-28.
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It had opportunities in the matchup, but it failed to take advantage. TCU was overwhelmed from the coin toss to the final whistle.
The game was not competitive, entertaining, or enjoyable, and though Georgia won, it did not get challenged. The CFP committee failed TCU by putting them in a situation they were not ready for and failed college football by serving up a product that was not good.
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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.