The original premise of this article was going to be “Why Nick Saban ruined college football,” because, full disclosure, I expected Alabama to win Monday night.
If you don't know, coach Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers are National Champions for the second time in three seasons. Yet, nothing about the FBS changed. It remains glum and grey — or should I say orange and crimson — and it’ll stay this way for quite a while longer.
There’s a pattern here, if you haven’t already noticed. Yes, these two teams possess the last four National Championships, and they’re also the perennial No. 1 teams during the regular season.
Either Clemson or Alabama has sat atop the AP poll for 165 consecutive weeks and counting. Ohio State, after Week 10 in 2015, was the last alternative team to be No. 1. No other program has had a reason to think that it’s better than both the Tigers and the Crimson Tide, and this nightmare will continue when the preseason AP poll releases.
The 2019 season will be like watching the fifth “Mission Impossible” movie in a television marathon. It’s the same story over and over. Alabama and Clemson are both Tom Cruise, who plays the main character, and they both won’t die no matter how much they go through.
Clemson lost to Pittsburgh and Alabama didn’t even make it to the SEC Championship last year. Still, they proceeded to meet in the semifinals. The only difference between college football and the actual Mission Impossible is that it lasts 15 weeks instead of 90 minutes.
Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa are the lead characters, and they’re unquestionably the 2019 Heisman Trophy favorites. There isn’t a single returning player who rivals their talent, and nobody should challenge them statistically because their upcoming schedules are way too easy.
Each quarterback will face only two teams that finished 2018 ranked in the AP Top 25. Lawrence gets Texas A&M at home and goes to Syracuse, while Tagovailoa goes to College Station to play the Aggies and hosts LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Everyone knows Clemson will win the ACC again, but for those of you saying, “Maybe Georgia or Florida can finally win the SEC next year, or maybe LSU, Auburn or Texas A&M can claim the West,” just stop. Regardless if Alabama wins the SEC or not, they’ll still be in the playoff somehow.
We’re talking about Nick Saban, after all. Since 2009, Saban has followed up any season in which he hasn’t won the national championship by winning the SEC or just flat-out taking the national title without even going to Atlanta. His teams return with a vengeance, and they always come back to win big.
So, Alabama fans, don’t bother staying for the second half of any of your home games next season. In fact, don’t even go. Watch it from somewhere with air conditioning and save your money for next year’s College Football Playoff game against Clemson. And Tigers fans, I suggest you do the same.
For everyone else, support your team at all costs. But ask yourself if you should really even care.
Mark Stine is assistant sports editor at the Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @mstinejr or contact him at [email protected].