Kyler Murray’s Heisman, Alabama is in the CFP, and the big things to take away from Week 11 – in the Cavalcade of Whimsy.
Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Asian massage parlor, schmasian massage parlor.
I’m just hoping and praying I don’t get outed in the epic @CoachZachSmith tweet storm for the unlimited free Chick-fil-A/Krispy Kreme bender – and the ten pounds I’m still trying to lose – in the media hospitality area the night before the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
But you best believe, if I’m going down – especially after firing down a Deluxe with waffle fries not 45 minutes after overloading on some amazing Atlanta barbecue – I’m bringing a whole slew of the college football media elites with me.
Step 193 of The Process: 2018 … GET. TUA. HEALTHY.
What if Alabama doesn’t play any of its starters against Citadel, and what if it just so happens to lose?
I know what you’re thinking. “Ha, ha, ha, you incredibly silly man. I’m taking a break from watching Jill Scott to read this?”
If the 2011 Alabama defense wasn’t the best in the Nick Saban era, it was right there.
Led by Dont’a Hightower (the all-time most annoying autocorrect first name, with Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr. quickly making a case as the last name champion), Mark Barron, CJ Mosley, Dre Kirkpatrick, and on and on and on, the Tide allowed more than 100 rushing yards just three times. Once was to an LSU team that lost to the Tide in the BCS Championship – it gained 148 yards in the epic 9-6 Tiger win.
Once was to Penn State in a breezy early season Bama road victory. Just a few weeks before the bomb dropped on the JoePa program, the Nittany Lions gained just 107 yards.
On the year, Bama allowed three rushing scores – one in both of those other games – and allowed a grand total of 938 rushing yards.
Over the last ten years, only two other run defenses – 2015 Boston College (998) and 2016 Alabama (959) – managed to avoid the 1,000-yard mark, and to give more credit to that ’16 Tide team that should’ve won the national title, that was in 15 games.
In 2011, 302 of those 938 rushing yards came from an FCS team, as Georgia Southern’s option attack went off in a 45-21 Bama win.
This week, the Tide plays against The Citadel – Drop the ‘The’. Just Citadel. It’s cleaner – and its option offense that averages close to 300 rushing yards per outing.
And it doesn’t matter.
Now that we’re in the College Football Playoff era, and now that the committee has set the precedent over the last two years that it’s about the four best teams, why should Alabama play Tua Tagovailoa? Why should Alabama play anyone but its third-stringers?
Why should anything about this game matter if we already know that we can’t have a CFP this season without the Crimson Tide?
Bama’s backups should win this in a walk, and if they don’t, the committee – if this thing works right – should be savvy enough to totally blow it off.
Of course Alabama is one of the four-best teams when all the starters are playing, so if it happened to lose because it rested all of its main guys in an off week against an FCS team, so what?
The playoff isn’t based on merit. It’s not based on a formula. It’s based on judgement. So yeah, this team could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and lose to The Citadel, and it would still get into the College Football Playoff.
The only way it doesn’t get in is if it loses to both Auburn and Georgia, and the only way that happens is if a slew of key players get hurt, or if Tagovailoa can’t go and Jalen Hurts isn’t healthy enough to play.
So CFP, come right out and say it. This is a free space, free pass week for Alabama. No one wants this team to be subjected to a slew of option offense cut blocks and potential injury.
Whatever happens against The Citadel doesn’t really happen.