Well, they did it. I didn’t think it would happen, but the Georgia Bulldogs beat the Auburn whatever mascot they pick this week. They beat them handily, might I add, to win the SEC Championship. They won on my 40th birthday. Not a bad li’l b-day gift. Thank you, Kirby Smart! It’s the first UGA SEC Championship in 12 years. To put that length of time into perspective: George W. Bush had just started his 2nd term, my radio station (HD983) was not even on the air yet, YouTube had just gone online and my youngest son wouldn’t be born for another three years. So, it was a bit of a long time ago.
So that puts the Dawgs into the College Football Playoff for the first time ever. The playoff is rounded out by the No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers, Oklahoma and Alabama. Yes, Alabama.
Alabama’s inclusion in the playoff has been met with a bit of controversy as they didn’t win their conference, as is obvious with the Georgia victory. Most people around here seem to feel like Alabama should be in the four-team playoff as they are one of the four strongest teams in the country. Valid point. Alabama <<IT>>is<<IT>> one of the four strongest teams.
But there’s that little matter of winning when it matters. I believe that is part of football. You may have the best team ever to grace the turf, but sometimes the other team is just more motivated to win. That’s how Auburn beat Alabama to get into the SEC title game. Those type of games are often the most exciting and are what makes football so great! So, why strip that away by forgiving the loss? When you go back to Alabama and let them in the playoff without winning the conference which, to me, is like a playoff game in itself, what’s the point of winning your way into the conference championship?
In my opinion, it’s like the Detroit Lions having the best season in the NFL yet losing their conference championship to a wild-card team with a worse record but the NFL letting the Lions play in the Super Bowl anyway, because of their stellar season. This scenario would never play out because of two reasons: The Lions would never have that kind of season! Are you kidding me? Also, the NFL has a true “Any Given Sunday” type playoff: Win, and you’re in. Lose, and you’re done.
I like Alabama and, being an SEC fan, I’m proud to have two teams from our conference in the playoff. I just think, in the spirit of football, the teams that won their conference championships should be considered first for the playoff.
The college football playoff system is a flawed one. It’s really the only sport that is decided by a handful of people in a room judging the validity of wins. They might as well be at the game holding up scorecards like in gymnastics. It completely strips away the excitement of late-season games, in my opinion.
Until the system is changed to a six- or eight-team playoff, this is what we have. Teams A, B, C, D, F and G won their conference. But we like Team X better, so they get to play instead. It really amazes me how many people are OK with this.
However, my team actually won their conference and is in the playoff. So, I’ll step down from my soapbox and enjoy this moment. Being a fan of Georgia sports teams, who knows when it will happen again. It could be another 12 years! This next month will feel like an eternity as I eagerly await January 1 as the Dawgs take on the Sooners. If they play like they did on my birthday, I feel like UGA can beat anyone. Go Dawgs!