In his first print contribution to the magazine, Rhombus sports podcast featured contributor Preston Johnson offers the five things he learned from college football’s recent “Championship Saturday.”
Five Things I Learned on “Championship Saturday”:
1. Life with a playoff in college football would be ten times better. It is true, and I invite anybody to argue to the contrary. If you wish to see a blog post I wrote before bowl season last year on ESPN.com regarding my idea for a college football playoff, check it here.
2. Alabama and Greg McElroy are for real. They dominated a Florida team that held a 22-game winning streak and seemed unbeatable the last two seasons. One of the reasons for the dominant Florida era is their quarterback Tim Tebow. Alabama was able to hold the former Heisman Trophy-winner to 247 yards passing with only one touchdown on Saturday, and also forced a costly interception in the red zone. Tebow was also limited to just 63 yards on the ground.
For the Crimson Tide, however, they feature a Heisman hopeful running back in Mark Ingram, and a sophomore quarterback that nobody was sure would even start this season in Greg Mcelroy. The result? A 13-0 season, a trip to Pasadena to play in the BCS National Championship and, in my opinion, the best performance by any one quarterback this year. McElroy led his team by completing 66 percent of his passes for 239 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
Aside from the brilliant way McElroy managed the game against top-ranked Florida, he converted two key third down plays rushing the ball that resulted in 14 Alabama points. One more side note for those that are unaware: Greg Mcelroy has never lost a football game in his life. Ever. After leading the Southlake Carroll Dragons to an undefeated season and high school state championship in Texas, he has now done the college equivalent for the Crimson Tide. The result? Bama will win the National Title this year.
3. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will be going to New York city as a Heisman finalist. If anyone caught the instant classic between the Cornhuskers and the Longhorns of Texas on Saturday night, they know that Suh put up unreal numbers on the defensive side with 12 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Audibles, double teams and offensive line shifts didn’t matter. Suh gave Nebraska the chance to win despite their offense’s pathetic 109 total yard performance. The last and only other defensive player to be a finalist in the Heisman Trophy race was Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997; He won the award.
4. Nebraska came .314 seconds away from ruining Texas’ title hopes and sending a non-automatic BCS qualifying team to the national championship game for the first time. TCU and the entire Mountain West Conference groaned when Longhorn kicker Hunter Lawrence converted the game-winning field goal as time expired.
5. Texas didn’t play a single team this year that finished with less than 3 losses. (All had at least four losses, except for Oklahoma State at 9-3 — but they lost to the University of Houston at home.) And let’s be honest: Nobody can definitely say that Texas is better than TCU, Cincinnati or Boise State. Not after Texas needed a Thanksgiving Day escape two weeks ago against a pitiful Texas A&M squad and certainly not after the Longhorns bumbled around against Nebraska on Saturday. As far as the Heisman race goes? Texas quarterback and team leader Colt McCoy threw for 184 yards, zero touchdowns and three picks. Give the trophy to Suh.
Unfortunately, this college football season has come to an end and the bowls are set. And what we do know? An undeserving Longhorn team will be playing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game. The result? Texas loses by at least two touchdowns to Bama, and we will all be left wondering what could have been had TCU, Cincinnati or Boise State gotten their shot at the crystal ball.
This is Preston Johnson’s first article for Rhombus. He can also be heard regularly on the magazine’s weekly sports podcast.
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