NCAA SNAPS Georgia, Oklahoma both prove they belong in College Football Playoff ... QB Hurts shows championship grit for Alabama ... UCF rallies to stay perfect ... Tucker gone?
For the No. 1 Alabama
Jalen Hurts’ Crimson Tide, surprising decision to stick around Tuscaloosa might just pay dividends in the form of yet another national football championship.
But for the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs, it might well have bitten them in the rear-end.
The Bulldogs will find out early Sunday whether a down-to-the-wire loss to quarterback Hurts and rival Alabama on Saturday shuts them out of the NCAA’s College Football Playoff.
We here at College Football Frenzy think it won’t.
But two losses on their record might say otherwise.
Especially with the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners (121) taking care of business earlier in the day, defeating the No. 14 Texas Longhorns (9-4) 39-27 in the Big 12 Championship Game.
“(We belong in the playoff) because of what you saw today,” Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley
told ABC postgame. “We’re a 12-win team … a team that’s just getting better and better. Our best ball’s still ahead of us. We can’t wait for what’s next.”
What’s comes next is the College Football Playoff Selection Show (noon ET, TSN3), when the teams making up the final four are announced as decided by the CFP Selection Committee.
Its 13 members were certainly faced with quite the conundrum after Saturday’s action.
Do they go with a two-loss Georgia (11-2) that lost by a whisker 35-28 to seemingly unbeatable Alabama (13-0)?
Or do they go with a oneloss Oklahoma to join the other three final-four teams in ’Bama, the No. 2 Clemson Tigers (12-0 prior to Saturday night’s ACC championship finale against the Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5) and the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0)?
The No. 6 Ohio State Buck- eyes (11-1) also looked to stake a claim in that conversation in a meeting with the No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats (8-4) in the Big Ten title tilt late Saturday.
But nobody can say that Oklahoma didn’t do its part to prove it should have a shot at the national title.
“It’s been a hard year,” a teary-eyed Riley told ABC post-game. “I’m so proud of our guys. We’re champs — and it feels darn good.”
And nobody can argue against Georgia looking like it belongs.
“We most definitely have one of the best four teams in the country,” Georgia
Kirby Smart head coach told reporters post-game. “I
(Nick Saban) promise you … doesn’t want to play us.”
Not likely after Saban’s Tide struggled Saturday in the SEC championship finale like never before this season.
In fact, Saban needed magic from an old friend, QB Hurts, after Heisman Trophy favourite Tua Tagovailoa was helped off the field with a leg injury in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs.
Hurts, who shockingly stayed at ’Bama earlier this year after learning he’d be backing up Tagovailoa, came off the bench and looked like his championship self, engineering two late touchdown drives for the comeback victory.
“I honestly didn’t know what to think,” Hurts told CBS post-game. “All year, I’ve been thinking about my opportunity. And regardless of how it went, my opportunity came today. And with the help of my teammates, we got it done.”
The junior QB could be asked to get it done two more times — in the semifinal and in the nation championship game should Tagovailoa be deemed unavailable for action.
“I know at Alabama there’s always opportunity to win,” Hurts told CBS post-game. “We work so hard in the off-season — blood, sweat and tears. Today we found a way to get it done. I’m so happy.”
SECOND & LONG
Saban got emotional talking about Hurts with CBS post-game, “We’ve always had a lot of faith in Jalen. I told him when Tua got hurt and we put him in that ’it’s your time.’ He took advantage and did a fantastic job. I’m so proud of this guy for what he’s done this year that I can’t even tell you.” … What a defensive slugfest in the 10-3 Pac-12 conference finale Friday night won by No. 10 Washington (10-3) over No. 17 Utah (9-4). The only TD came via UDub’s
Byron Murphy defence, as returned a pick-six 66 yards in the third quarter of a game that saw Utah total only 188 yards, while Washington had 306 and controlled the clock … In Friday’s other championship game, the MAC crowned its champ as Northern Illinois (8-5) got a TD with 69 seconds remaining to upset Buffalo (10-3) 30-29. The 39-yard strike from QB Marcus Childers
to senior D.J. Brown receiver capped a rally from 19 points down.
THIRD & SHORT
No. 8 UCF’s dream to reach the final four was somehow wildly revived midway through the American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game. So, too, was its nation-best 25-game win streak, as Central Florida (12-0) rallied to top visiting Memphis (8-5) 56-41. UCF was down 31-14 and 38-21 in the second quarter and without uber-talented
McKenzie Milton, QB who dislocated his knee last week in a gruesome injury … Tough to see Milton, who’s had three surgeries already since last Saturday, make a TV appearance from his recovery bed during the game, wishing UCF the best
Mele Kalikimaka and — or Merry Christmas in Hawaiian — to all the fans … The other three conference tilts saw host Appalachian State (10-2) top Louisiana (7-6) 30-19 in the Sun Belt final, UAB (10-3) edge host Middle Tennessee State (8-5) 27-25 in the Conference USA capper and No. 22 Boise State (10-2) host No. 25 Fresno State (10-2) in the Mountain West finale late Saturday.
FOURTH & INCHES
Love how the American Athletic Conference brands itself as a Power 6 entity. It’s hoping somehow it sticks with the Power Five people so it can get the respect of the big boys and eventually the CFP Selection Committee … Virginia Tech (6-6) used its last-chance game against Marshall (8-4) to make itself bowl-eligible for a nation-tops 26th straight season. Host VaTech paid Marshall $300,000 to bring the game to its backyard and made the most of it in a 41-20 victory … Colorado’s
Mel next coach? Tucker,
who might have participated in his last game Saturday for Georgia as its defensive coordinator.
Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts smiles as he is surrounded by a sea of cameras after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 SEC championship game last night in Atlanta.