Id’ be lying if I said this didn’t hurt. On every possible level this at the very least kind of sucks. I still wish Georgia was playing tonight. Aaron Murray claims to be “over it.” He moved on faster than I did. That’s embarrassing. Even aside from that still-stinging defeat, the end of college football season is a dark time for me every year. The transition to the offseason and basketball is never easy.
The only thing that could soften the blow is a convincing Alabama win. I hate Notre Dame. The Irish haven’t been relevant for years. This is just their third 10+ win season in the last 18 years. But if you were from a foreign country and came to the United States at any point during that time period and watched College Football on TV (you’d never leave!) you’d think the Fighting Irish were perennial champions. They aren’t. And I don’t want them to be.
If Notre Dame wins the National Championship this year then my children will likely be hearing about it 20 years from now, even if the Irish don’t win another game. I don’t want another generation stuck watching the golden helmets on Saturday when a better team is playing. I don’t want another Manti Te’o making tackles the way a middle linebacker should and getting hailed as the greatest thing since all you can eat seats and sporting events. I don’t want it.
I want Alabama to win. I’m not happy that Saban is back in the game, but I want him to win. A Crimson Tide victory squashes (for now) the evil that is Notre Dame and furthers the cause of the greatest conference in the history of college football. So can they do it?
Of course they can. I’ve watched Alabama and Notre Dame play several times this year and here are some eye-ball tests that favor the Tide:
- Frankly, I don’t know that Notre Dame can score – at all – against Alabama. Alabama has the best defense in the country, and I’m not sure that Notre Dame’s offense is anymore advanced than say…Mississippi State.
- Manti Te’o is a good linebacker. I couldn’t tell you another ND backer’s name because every tackle is credited to Te’o even if he’s on the sideline. Manti Te’o is not as good at the linebacker position as Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon are at the running back position. I am confident of that.
- Furthermore, Notre Dame’s front seven has never, ever, even in their wildest dreams seen anything like Alabama’s offensive line.
- I joke a lot, but when I watch Notre Dame play I see an 8-4 team.
Statistically the gap closes a bit, but Alabama played five teams that were ranked (at the time) in the top-25 and Notre Dame played only four. Alabama’s two best wins are close victories over 7th ranked Georgia and 8th ranked LSU. Notre Dame’s two best wins are against 6th ranked Stanford and 11th ranked Oklahoma. The two share one common opponent – Michigan. Notre Dame beat Michigan at home 13-6. Alabama beat Michigan in Texas 41-14.
The math favors Alabama (although not by the margin of the spread) and so does common sense. Roll Tide…tonight and tonight only.
That’s all I got/
Most of you hate these things, so I figured I’d end the season on a sour note. Here are a few graphs to make tonight’s National Championship game a little easier to understand.
The similarity of these two “power” programs is being oversold right now. Sure, there’s a lot of history for each program, but as you can probably tell by this chart, Notre Dame and Alabama haven’t exactly been on the same page as of late.
Alabama is Pretty Much Better at Everything
This chart shows the National Ranking of both Alabama and Notre Dame in several categories. In this instance, a lower line is a good thing as the best possible ranking is 1. I gave Notre Dame a crimson colored line and Alabama a blue line just to confuse you.
Notre Dame’s Entitlement and Alabama’s Chip
For some reason Notre Dame thinks they belong in this game. They do not. And I think that makes Saban angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.
Check back later this afternoon for a slightly more formal game preview. Enjoy the game.
That’s all I got/
What is it that makes Manti Te’o so good? If you think I’m opening an inspirational story of his rise to prominence by posing that question then you are sadly mistaken. I’m asking in all sincereity why Manti Te’o is supposed to be good? I’ve watched him play four complete games this year and I just don’t get it. He makes tackles. Yes. He makes interceptions when balls are thrown directly at him. Yes. He doesn’t do much else. He doesn’t dominate the game.
I don’t give linebackers a lot of credit for making tackles because that’s exactly what they’re supposed to do. You can’t measure the success of a defensive tackle statistically. A great DT may not make a tackle but he may dominate the game by taking up two blockers, creating space for other blitzers and pushing the line back. A shutdown cornerback may not be thrown at all game and thus may not register a single statistic – but that means he had a great game. On the other hand, you can gauge a lot of what linebackers do by looking at numbers. Because their job is to make tackles and occasionally force turnovers.
Manti Te’o makes tackles. A lot of them. But not an exorbitant count. Te’o has 103 total tackles this year through 12 games for an average just above 8.5 per game. I think he plays a lot like a bigger version of Rennie Curran – a sure tackler from Georgia’s recent past. In 2009 Rennie played in 13 games and registered 130 tackles. That’s a lot more per game than Te’o. Rennie wasn’t a Heisman candidate and rarely was front-page news for ESPN. He did his job and did it well, but in 2009 that wasn’t noteworthy.
This year Alec Ogletree has played in just 8 games for Georgia but trails Te’o by only 16 total tackles. ‘Tree is averaging 10.875 tackles per game. That is more than Te’o. I like to look at solo tackles as well – you know the ones players make by themselves without teammates’ help. Te’o averages 4.33 per game. That’s pretty cool I guess. If you don’t to average 5.63 like Alec Ogletree.
So maybe it’s the turnovers that make Manti so special. In 12 games he’s intercepted 7 passes and recovered 2 fumbles. That is .75 turnovers per game. Well, Jarvis Jones has an interception to go with two fumble recoveries and six other turnovers forced. That’s the same number of turnovers but Jones has only played 10 games.
I don’t know that Te’o is deserving of any Heisman talk because I think he’d be the third best linebacker at the University of Georgia – at best. He doesn’t have the tackling stats that Alec Ogletree has. His 5.5 tackles for loss trail both Ogletree (7.5) and Jones (19.5) by a lot. His 1.5 sacks are fewer than ‘Tree (2) and significantly less than SacMan (10.5). And his turnover statistics don’t surpass those of Jarvis Jones.
Stop talking about Manti Te’o and I’ll stop writing about him.
That’s all I got/