Bulldog, Rebel, or other, Monday’s game was weird

Published 10:52 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Let’s get this out of the way early, guys. I’m an Alabama fan. And not just a normal Bama fan, but the really annoying kind that was a diehard Crimson Tide faithful long before Saban showed up, which means I’ll be one long after he’s gone. But, I come by it honestly: I’m from Mobile; I went to school at the University of Alabama; and as all you Rebels and Bulldogs out there know, you pretty much have to pick a side to survive growing up in a state like Alabama or Mississippi.

But, regardless of my allegiance to the Tide, or yours to Ole Miss, Miss. State, LSU, or any other (SEC) team out there, watching two squads from outside our football footprint play in Monday’s national title game was just plain weird. I’m not saying it was bad. It was just weird. 

Now, both Michigan and Washington certainly deserved to be there. Unless you feel like diving into the conversation surrounding Michigan’s strange spygate situation, you have to admit they were two teams that fought hard and came out on top. Both squads were 14-0; they won their respective conference championships; and they beat good teams along the way in the form of Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, and Texas. Those are two very impressive resumes. I’m just saying, it was odd to know Kirby Smart, Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, and even guys like Brian Kelly were sitting at home watching the CFP championship game just like we were.

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In a year where Georgia seemed primed for a threepeat, Alabama had a comeback story for the ages, Ole Miss had maybe its most successful season ever, and LSU’s quarterback won the Heisman trophy, not one of those teams was able to even make it to the big game. And I know, I know. Even SEC fans have been jumping on the “we need parity in college football” bandwagon, but did we really mean it? Or, maybe the better question is: Did we really expect it to happen? Either way, here we are: me writing a column wondering where it all went wrong and you guys reading it and probably wondering the same.

But, all is not lost. Far from it. Next year we will get the long-awaited 12-team playoff, which will all but guarantee at least two SEC teams – and probably three or four – will be involved in the postseason each year for the foreseeable future, especially with college football blue bloods Oklahoma and Texas joining the conference next year. And we better be happy about it. After all, we created it. Just like the end of the BCS era, the demise of the four-team playoff is a direct result of SEC teams continuing to make it to the big game and even playing each other for all the college football marbles. 

But, that wasn’t the case this year. This year we were spectators when it really mattered. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe it will make our teams play harder next year. Maybe our fans will be even more supportive in the fall, if that’s even possible. At the end of the day, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that the SEC didn’t have a presence in Monday’s game. I do know one thing for certain: It was weird.

Blake Bell is the General Manager and Executive Editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vicksburgpost.com.