Be part of the most combined points in an official championship game? Give up over 500 yards? Give up two touchdowns to a walk-on receiver? Win another title.
While the method may not have been their usual, in the end Alabama did what Alabama does for the better part of a decade: win championships. I don’t think they’ll complain about the method.
Aside from reaffirming that the greatest dynasty run in college football history is still alive & well, the bigger beneficiary of this year’s championship game may be the program that lost. I’ll admit that I was dead wrong about the Tiger’s chances last night. Granted, special players like Watson don’t grow on trees and their long-term success depends upon their ability to consistently replace him but I felt like Clemson changed some perceptions with their performance. They proved that they can compete on the biggest stage of all. I don’t know how many people believed that before last night. Changing perception of a program takes times but this game, more than the sum of their entire season even, took several steps in that direction.
Perceptions, that’s as much as anything what you can take away from the 2015 season. We perceive that Watson vs McCaffrey might turn out to be one heck of a Heisman race in 2016. We perceive the Big 10 as overrated after an often disastrous bowl season. We perceive changes that could turn out well (Smart to UGA) OR turn out to be underwhelming (Smart to UGA). We perceive programs on the rise, such as the one in Knoxville. We perceive programs in potentially terminal decline, such as the one on North Avenue.
And we won’t know about any of it for sure until we ride the merry-go-round all over again.
With that, it’s time to bid farewell to the 2015 season with something more concrete, something about what you did or didn’t do rather than what might happen later.
JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25
(Final rank & pre-bowl rank before the team name, my pre-season rank follows their name)
1. (2) Alabama (2)
2. (1) Clemson (12)
3. (5) Stanford (19)
4. (6) Ohio State (1)
5. (3) Oklahoma (20)
6. (11) TCU (3)
7. (4) Michigan State (6)
8. (14) Houston (Un)
9. (16) Ole Miss (17)
10. (7) Iowa (Un)
11. (9) Notre Dame (10)
12. (17) Michigan (Un)
13. (19) Baylor (4)
14. (8) Florida State (9)
15. (10) North Carolina (Un)
16. (20) Navy (Un)
17. (18) Utah (Un)
18. (Un) LSU (11)
19. (22) Wisconsin (18)
20. (12) Oklahoma State (Un)
21. (15) Oregon (5)
22. (25) Tennessee (Un)
23. (23) Western Kentucky (Un)
24. (Un) Mississippi State (24)
25. (Un) Arkansas (22)
Dropped out: Northwestern (13), Florida (21),Temple (24)
Teams ranked in the pre-season that finished 2015 unranked:
Auburn (7), USC (8), Georgia (13), Arizona State (14), Georgia Tech (16), Arizona (21), Missouri (23), Boise State (25)