Wow, what a college football bowl season! The B1G, or Big Ten, went 7-1 in bowl matchups, and would’ve been a perfect 8-0, had the Michigan Wolverines not had a meltdown in the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.
The conference’s domination led many to question the decision by the BCS selection committee to not include Ohio State in the final four, instead going with eventual National Champion Alabama.
No question, the Buckeyes possibly deserved the nod to be the fourth team in this year, but after the last two Big Ten performances in the BCS playoff, Ohio State’s 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl in 2016, and Alabama’s 38-0 smashing of Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl in 2015, may have been reason to keep a B1G team out.
Instead Alabama brought home their fifth National title in nine years by getting a little revenge over No. 1 Clemson, who beat the Crimson Tide 35-31 to win last year’s National Championship, by rolling the Tigers 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl.
Perhaps the game of the bowl season may have been the national championship game. Trailing Georgia, 13-0 at the half, in the Bulldogs backyard, Mercedes Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, the Crimson Tide rallied for 26 second half points to stun Georgia 26-20 in overtime.
As I’m sure most of you reading this know that Tide coach Nick Saban benched second year starter Jalen Hurts for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who graduated from the same high school as Tennessee Titan Marcus Mariota, to start the second half.
Hurts, who got revenge by defeating Clemson the week before struggled in the first half against Georgia completing 3-of-8 passes for just 21-yards.
Enter Tagovailoa, who prior to Monday completed 35-of-53 passes for 470 yards and three scores, by playing mop up time throughout the season.
The freshman had the game of his life. Throwing for 166-yards, 3-touchdowns, including the 41-yard game clincher to DeVonta Smith to give the Crimson Tide the title.
Who was the first guy out on the field to congratulate Tagovailoa, none other than Hurts. The second-year quarterback, who was benched at halftime, was with the freshman throughout the entire game pumping him up and telling him to “Ball.”
Here’s an excerpt of his interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, when asked about finding out about his benching, “I knew he (Tagovailoa) was going to step in and do his thing,” Hurts said. “He’s built for stuff like this. I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for this team.”
When Rinaldi asked him what it felt like to be a national champion all Hurts could say was, “It’s unbelievable. I’ve dreamed about this.”
Remember, this is a 19-to-20 year-old young man, who plays quarterback, saying this moments after his team won a national championship in a game where he could potentially be remembered for his benching. He chose to enjoy the moment with his team and not start any controversy or play any cards to get remorse.
I’m not sure I could’ve done that as his age, in those circumstances. To me, it says a great deal about his maturity. I’m not a Crimson Tide fan, but I’m now a Jalen Hurts fan.
Scott Smith is a Sports Writer for The Paper and has enjoyed covering Montgomery County sports for about three years. What started out as simply attending his son’s baseball games turned into a passion for writing about all different games and players. Scott’s “From the Cheap Seats” can be found in The Paper every Friday.