Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Hangover Chronicles: College Football Edition

By Robert Campbell

Sunday night, when the clock struck midnight, we said farewell to 2017 and hello to 2018. No, I promise you this isn't going to be one of those posts where I talk about all of the up-and-downs of 2017 and how much I've grown over the past year. I'll leave that job to the Facebook philosophers and cliché conversationalists.

Besides, I just don't have the energy today. I have a throbbing headache and I'm sweating for some reason. I'm chugging Vitamin Water and eating leftover pizza as my aching back is reminding me of my not-so-graceful slip on ice last evening that likely won't soon be forgotten. The near-empty bottle of Bacardi sitting on the kitchen table is seemingly taunting me as I grab my bags and begin to exit. My buddy manages a head-nod and a mumbled goodbye from the too-short couch he slept on located less than 30 feet from his own bed. Sometimes, you just can't make it that extra 30 feet, you know? Luckily, I make the hour trek back from Philadelphia just in time to stumble onto my living room chair and prepare myself to indulge in seven hours straight of the College Football Playoff.

Welcome to the Hangover Chronicles. Now, can everybody please stop yelling?

The journey to this point has felt a little long-winded. Watching below-average teams battle it out in half-filled stadiums endorsed by corporate sponsors I've never heard of has certainly not been mesmerizing, though I do understand the economics of it. It seems like Oprah surprised an audience of mediocre teams with bowl games. "You get a bowl game, and you get a bowl game! Everybody gets bowl games!"

That doesn't matter now, though. The "best" four teams remain, all with the lone goal of hoisting the National Championship Trophy on January 8. I've chosen not to elaborate too much on my gripe with the lack of a Big 10 team in the playoff, though their collective bowl game performances somewhat strengthen my grievance. Nonetheless, four teams remain as of this writing, and I can't wait to see it unfold.

Despite the back-and-forth history of the two teams in the nightcap, I'm actually more excited for the Oklahoma/Georgia game starting things off. And it turns out for good reason. Both offenses can't be stopped throughout the first quarter, and Oklahoma grabs the momentum in the second quarter to take a 17-point lead into halftime. I'm actually starting to believe that Baker Mayfield just told people he had the flu so he could start comparing himself to Jordan.

You see, I finished that paragraph with six-seconds remaining in the first-half. I had gone to grab another bottled water and do a couple pushups so I could convince myself I worked out today. I wasn't expecting for Oklahoma to fail a squib kick and allow Georgia's first line of blockers to cover the ball near midfield to set up a field goal before half. Oklahoma up 14.

Georgia owns the third quarter, and the teams trade blows in the fourth to send the game to overtime. This is where I get perplexed. Oklahoma had eaten up yardage through the air against Georgia's defense all night, yet in the two overtime periods, they start turning to jet sweeps and conservative runs. The Heisman winner isn't given a fair chance by his coach to win the game, and after a blocked field goal by Georgia's defense; the writing was on the wall for them to advance to the National Championship. They do just that.

The second-game isn't nearly as fun notwithstanding the recent history between the teams and the subtle trash-talk by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney pregame. Alabama owns the rubber-match against a Clemson team who wishes Deshaun Watson was still under center, and the Crimson Tide defense is dominant. There's not much more analysis needed here aside from the fact that the late game starting at 9 PM ridiculous. Some of us have work the next day. Not me, but some of us.

So, after the underwhelming performance from the SEC in bowl games up to this point, two SEC teams will match up next week in the National Championship. Early prediction: Alabama 27, Georgia 17.

Sorry this article wasn't as exciting as it should have been. Factually based, yes, but not very exhilarating. I'll do better the next time. I really don't feel well. I should get some sleep.

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