Spanning the globe on a Wednesday morning …
A few final thoughts on college football.
The first is that there’s really no such thing as “final” with college football. It’s a year-round endeavor now, so I’ll have more thoughts along the way.
I’m not really having buyer’s remorse for leaving Deshaun Watson off my Heisman ballot. There are three blanks to fill, and I went with Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey and Baker Mayfield.
When votes were due I’d seen a little more of Mayfield and was liked his spirit and productivity enough to put him on the ballot.
All four of those guys were really close, and someone needed to be left off. I was one who thought Clemson was overrated and said to myself, ‘Well, Deshaun Watson and those guys have the chance to prove me wrong in the playoff.’ They did in fact prove others and myself wrong.
Nick Saban,, this may not surprise anyone, did a good job of coaching in the game. I say that because he coached a different style. He’s not a 45-40 kind of guy.
I was surprised at how Clemson’s defensive line dominated Alabama. The Tigers forced Alabama to win with big plays and eventually Clemson gave up enough of those on defense and special teams to lose.
That’s not the same Clemson team that appeared on a number of Saturdays in the regular season. This team that pushed Alabama to the limit won by only three points against Louisville, gave up 41 points to an NC State team that Mississippi State destroyed, won by only five against a bad South Carolina team and had a close call with North Carolina in its championship game.
The moral of the story here is that team’s change. Clemson won 12 games and a conference title game, sometimes not in the most impressive fashion, but they won. They were a different team in the College Football Playoff.
Alabama was a different team after losing to Ole Miss. Ole Miss was a different team after losing to Memphis.
Things change, and Clemson and Alabama made for a very entertaining championship game.
Ole Miss grew into a team that would have competed in that game.
Shifting gears, I’m in Baton Rouge for tonight’s Ole Miss-LSU basketball game. I usually tune into WWL out of New Orleans when I get south of Jackson.
Deke Bellavia and Bobby Hebert were talking NFL and taking calls last night. One fellow called in and asked if they thought Laremy Tunsil of Mississippi State would be the first overall pick. They were probably as shocked as I was. They corrected the caller after he said Tunsil and MSU a second time.
In other news …
Speaking of Saban, how many times would you hand off the Derrick Henry? …
This was the commentary from former Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks as the Wildcats struggled past Mississippi State in basketball in Lexington last night:
It appears that coach Cal has some work to do with this team. They need to shoot better and have a better inside presence. It will happen.
It did not take Kirby Smart long to transition from Alabama defensive coordinator to Georgia coach. Here’s some of his work from early Tuesday morning. …
North Carolina, South Florida and Southern Miss were the three most improved scoring offenses this season. …