Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 12:00 AM
Network Finishes the Bowl Season on a 14-6 run, going 4-0 in New Year's Day Bowls, and covering with Georgia in the National Championship! Kicks off the NFL Playoffs with a perfect 4-0 Wild Card Round! Click here to keep winning in the playoffs and basketball through Super Bowl LII
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - WE DISSECT ALABAMA'S 26-23 OT WIN VS. GEORGIA, PLUS OUR FINAL BOWL/PLAYOFF CHART ...
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF ROUND UPDATES
News flash: The Alabama Crimson Tide has now won five national championships in the past nine years - but nobody on this earth thought a freshman quarterback named Tua Tagovailoa was gonna be the reason why 'Bama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime in one of the most thrilling games in college football history.
Sure, you could make the point that now six-time champion head coach Nick Saban (one title at LSU, five championships with Alabama) had a "nothing-to-lose" feeling when he benched starting QB Jalen Hurts after a totally ineffective first half that ended with the Georgia Dawgs sporting a 13-0 lead but the truth is the left-handed Tagovailoa - who mainly played here-and-there while subbing for Hurts this 2017 season - had looked sharp in recent practices when Hurts was hampered by some flu-like issues and thus Saban rolled the proverbial dice.
Tagovailoa wound up throwing a perfect 41-yard touchdown to fellow frosh WR DeVonta Smith in the "bottom half" of the overtime inning and the comeback was complete.
Still, there was a whole lot more to this comeback victory for the Tide: The Georgia offense - which completely dominated the first half with an unconventional pass-first attack - simply didn't get enough bang for its buck: True, the Dawgs sported that 13-0 halftime lead but you could argue that the lead should have been larger plus in the second half Georgia QB Jake Fromm (16-of-32 passing for 232 yards with one TD and 2 INTs) missed a batch of throws that could have kept the chains moving. No doubt there will be Dawg fans howling about the fact that the two-headed running back monster of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for only 32 carries for 123 yards - should head coach Kirby Smart/offensive coordinator Jim Chaney made sure these guys had more touches or did their 32 carries versus Fromm's 32 pass attempts make sense against Alabama's normally stout defense?
The bottom line is the Tide was energized - on both sides of the ball - by the insertion of Tagovailoa (three TD passes and one dynamic tackle-breaking run) while Georgia's offense slumped its shoulders a bit following that 80-yard Fromm-to-WR Mecole Hardman scoring strike midway through the third quarter. The Dawgs didn't keep their foot on the gas pedal - and they paid for it with the OT loss. The title drought for the Bulldogs is at 37 years and counting and there's plenty of folks in/around Athens wondering what they could have done differently
Long live the kings of college football - and note Alabama is already a 5-to-2 betting favorite to win it all next year!
Here's a look now at the four College Football Playoff National Championship Games played since the new system was instituted in 2014:
|2014||#4 Ohio State||+ 5.5||#2 Oregon||42-20|
|2015||#2 Alabama||- 6.5||#1 Clemson||45-40|
|2016||#2 Clemson||+ 6.5||#1 Alabama||35-31|
|2017||#4 Alabama||- 3.5||#3 Georgia||26-23 (ot)|
Yes, indeed, underdogs now have covered all four games and - strange but true - the lower-seeded teams have won all four of these tilts too!
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL CHART
Here's our final Jim Sez College Football Bowl/Playoff Chart that includes all the conferences/leagues that have played in the post-season bowls:
Note that College Football Bowl/Playoff Betting Favorites finished 21-20 ATS (against the spread) for a .512 winning percentage following Alabama's non-cover overtime win against Georgia this past Monday Night.
NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF UPDATES
We're leading up to the NFL's "great eight" weekend - here's some random thoughts with previews ahead later in the week:
Is the schedule itself gonna be a factor against the Atlanta Falcons? Note that the game this Saturday at Philadelphia will mark Atlanta's fourth road game in the past five weeks - remember earlier this year when the Falcons failed to cover back-to-back-to-back road games on consecutive weeks and, even with last week's 26-13 win at the Los Angeles Rams, the Falcs are only 3-6 ATS away this year ...
Minnesota does not get much credit for its offense but did you know the Vikings rank ninth in the NFL in rushing (average 122.3 yards per game) and 10th in passing (averaging 234.6 ypg) while heading into Sunday's NFL Divisional Playoff game against New Orleans? P.S., the Vikings are 44-20-1 ATS overall under fourth-year head coach Mike Zimmer ...
Finally, the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered their most lopsided loss of this 2017 season with that now-infamous 30-9 setback against visiting Jacksonville back on Oct. 9th. Everyone knows that Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger aired five INTs in that tilt but can we remind you that Jaguars' rookie RB Leonard Fournette rushed for 181 yards and two TDs in that affair and QB Blake Bortles attempted only one pass after halftime.
NOTE: NFL Divisional Playoff Round News/Notes/Previews all week long right here at Jim Sez.