The iconic voice of Larry Munson used to refer to his Bulldogs as underdogs in almost every game they played. He would bellow, “C’mon Dawgs ya gotta hunker down. Look at that line they have over there! So much bigger than we are, the hairy Dogs better dig in.”
Georgia’s current play-by-player Scott Howard couldn’t go that route describing the 2022/23 Georgia team against TCU last week. They were bigger, stronger and faster than TCU as the Bulldogs broke records for dominance in a National Championship game.
I’m happy for all my old friends and colleagues who are from Georgia, people like longtime Sports Information man Claude Felton, and my old friend and longtime CFB scribe Tony Barnhart who back in the day joined Spencer Tillman, Archie Manning and me on the SEC/CBS set in Studio 43.
It wasn’t long ago that Barbara Dooley and her family, Daniel, Deanna, and Derek lost their Dad, the legendary Vince Dooley, who was my first regular CFB partner in the booth in 1989. Dooley was commenting his first season out of coaching! Vince was the epitome of the classic Southern Gentleman. My old SportsCenter co-anchor Alan Massengale was a Bulldog too. We lost him too last summer, too soon.
Kirby Smart’s win puts him in rarified air as an active CFB Head Coach with two more National Titles. He’s clearly moving in on Nick Saban’s tier of all time Head Coaches should he sustain this success through the rest of this decade.
All that said, the postmortem on the CFB Playoff is headlined by many fans and even some National media bemoaning the 65-7 blowout, a byproduct of allowing TCU in the field of four, and even if they had to let them in, they certainly over seeded them in the #3 position.
There’s a case that can be made that the Committee wanted to keep the two BIG 10 teams apart in the semi’s given what happened and while it merit. It’s not like that hasn’t been done before! It has and with two SEC schools Georgia and Alabama.
The four team format has been a colossal bore until this season. How did it change?
By having a party crasher like the Horned Frogs. Without them, where’s the anticipation? The excitement they generated for the sport in their Fiesta Bowl/semifinal win was palpable. Yeah they got a couple of pick sixes and were opportunistic defensively in the red zone, but they went toe to toe with the BIG 10 Champs and won!
Ohio St. meanwhile blew a 14 point lead, and lost all but one solid receiver in their semifinal loss and still had a field goal try that could have won it, but the clock struck midnight for them with a pull hook try.
The outcry on embrace debate shows littered thru mainstream cable television is disgusting on the subject. These daily gabfests have been filled with, “We had to know this was coming” or “If Alabama had made the field again,” quotes and many of those with the Daily Megaphoned talking heads who for the most part, don’t know, care to know or discuss CFB through the entire regular season.
Quick question? Have any of you thought about how many commentators on these Embrace Debate shows have their career base grounded in CFB?
How about ZERO!
Now, if you’re saying to yourselves, Colin discusses it some with Joel Klatt on his show, and Finebaum is a CFB aficionado, well you’re right, but these two are simulcasted radio shows, not Embrace Debate that’s seen in nearly every day part morning till night on the two cable Networks that are invested in CFB, ESPN, and FS1(owned by FOX).
CFB is breaking new ground with new TV deals in place and Multiple Major Networks re-investing in the sport. NBC and CBS begin carrying BIG 10 football next season. ESPN and FOX remain the primary carriers however, and while the sport is without question the 2nd most popular sport (only the NFL draws larger audiences regularly) by any metric, very little if any programming during the weekdays spends any time covering the sport.
All I could hear Tuesday morning on cable television and the radio was “how awful was that!” “TCU should have made it!” Huh? They beat Michigan. Name the biggest win Alabama had this season? Texas? Miss St.? That’s about it folks. My sincere apologies to Stephen A. Smith but ya need to know who played whom, and what happened in the regular season before speaking with that kind of conviction.
We just had the best semifinals in CFB Playoff history. The Championship stunk. I’ll give ya that. Did we hold the Super Bowls the first 10 years to the same scrutiny?
I don’t think so! CFB’s gone National and those of us covering it, may appreciate its regional strongholds, but we better start understanding that all 12 teams or 16 teams that play in its future post seasons need to be covered equitably!
It’s the 2nd most popular sport in America. It deserves better from us.