Saban, Alabama Dominate CFP

The 2018 College Football Playoff was certainly one to remember. The first of two semifinals saw coach Kirby Smart and his #2 Georgia Bulldogs facing off against #3 Oklahoma Sooners led by bad-boy quarterback Baker Mayfield at the historic Rose Bowl. The game was prefaced by an abundance of trash talk from both sides. In the end, however, the Bulldogs prevailed 54-48 off of Sony Michel’s walk-off touchdown in overtime. This leaves Mayfield without a national championship to cap off his illustrious college career. On the other side of the spectrum, the matchup between the 1 seed versus the 4 seed saw a rematch of last year’s national championship. Even with the guidance of coach Dabo Swinney, the Tigers fell short to the very physical Roll Tide in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama routed Clemson 24-6, avenging their loss in the national championship game the previous year as well as winning the bowl game they had lost as a 1 seed three years ago.

The championship game between Georgia and Alabama could not have been more exciting. Georgia took an early lead, with Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts struggling to perform in the biggest stage. Backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was put in at the beginning of the second half, and he quickly made up the difference. Alabama came back as many as 13 points to let the fate of the game be decided in overtime–the second game of that nature in this year’s edition of the playoff. After a Georgia field-goal and a play that resulted in negative yardage for the Tide, Tagovailoa connected with DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard score to seal the victory 26-23, giving coach Nick Saban a record-breaking 7 National Championships with 5 in the past nine years. Leading up to the playoff, some critics wondered if Alabama deserved to be included as one of the top four teams instead of Ohio State. With wins over the top two seeds, they certainly ended the season with no doubts in their play.

– Noah Frato-Sweeney ’20

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