Congratulations to my Alabama Crimson Tide, who won their 23rd SEC championship last night and will face Notre Dame on January 7 for their 15th national championship.
Clearly I am pleased with the result, but this was a stressful game to watch for a passionate fan. Both teams played very hard. Both teams made mistakes. There were enough twists and oddities that anyone inclined to make too much of a single play could easily do so.
It’s not panicking when a blocked field goal turns into a two-score deficit halfway through the third quarter in a game that hadn’t, to that point, brimmed over with offense. It’s connecting on a long TD pass against a defense that looked to have effectively taken such away.
It’s a decision—one that looks inexplicable now—not to spike the ball on first and goal at the 8 with 12 seconds, no timeouts, and a 4-point deficit. It’s C.J. Mosley getting his paw on it at the line, redirecting it to an unintended receiver. It’s The Process working all game long with what might be, by some measures, only Nick Saban’s fourth-best Alabama team to date, and working just enough to make those happenings decisive.
The team’s got heart. That, more than anything else, is why I think they’ll deliver #15 on January 7.