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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Alabama vs OSU Defense

On the night of January 8th, Alabama staged a stunning second half comeback to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs and claim the National Championship. This game will go down as one of the most exciting national championship contests in the history of college football. Everyone that follows this sport knows what happened, and by whom.

What is even more remarkable than the game itself is that it’s the end of January and there are still people protesting that Alabama was chosen to even be in the playoffs. That’s like saying President Trump shouldn’t have even been the Republican nominee because one doesn’t like the fact that he won the Presidency. There have been some articles by writers stating their opinions that Alabama shouldn’t have been selected as one of the four best teams in the country. Then there is Skip Bayless, the commentator on Fox Sports 1 on the show “Skip and Shannon”. He has stated to everyone that will listen that he thought Ohio State should have been in the playoffs instead. He’s not alone in that thinking;- most, if not all, the Bama Haters have stated that the Buckeyes should have been there instead. So why are they still pouting about Alabama and do their arguments have any merit?

017There are many people out there that hate Alabama just because they are Alabama. Most of these people can be broken down into two camps;- 1) Auburn fans, and 2) Tennessee fans. There is a third camp and those are people that are suffering from what is called “Alabama fatigue”. These are people that are just plain sick and tired of Alabama always being in the national picture. Bama is the ONLY team that has been in EVERY one of the four playoffs under the current format. They are tired of hearing that Bama signed the number one recruiting class, they are tired of Alabama always being in the playoffs, and they are tired of Alabama winning National Championships. These people believe that college football is better off when different teams (their favorites) win and the victories are spread around. They don’t want any school to be dominant for very long. These people would be suffering from “USC fatigue” or “Florida State fatigue” if these schools were dominating the scene. But these people are not the ones that are screaming that Alabama is NOT their National Champions.

It’s folks like Skip Bayless who seem to have become unglued over the Crimson Tide. (you’ve heard of ‘fake news’ by now?) What stokes their irate rants? To them, Alabama is “Too Good”, they are “Too Efficient”, St. Nick Saban has turned the team into too good of a machine. They hate “The Process” that has been instilled into the minds of the players (and that has been so successful). An example of this would be that Sports Illustrated has named St. Saban as one of the most dislike figures in sports, alongside former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Now, the other two disgraced their respective sports, St. Saban hasn’t, instead all he does is win and he just keeps winning. Well, he does do the ‘electric slide’ in prospects’ homes sometimes. This pushes these complainers over the edge and past the point of rational thought. They want Alabama to fail so badly that they will grasp at anything, no matter how trivial it might be.

This year’s playoff selection would be the perfect example. When Alabama was named the fourth team selected, these Bama Haters lost their grasp on reality. They appeared on radio, TV, and wrote articles on how they thought this was a travesty among travesties. They argued that Ohio State should have been selected because they won the Big Ten title and Alabama did not win the SEC. Now, I want everyone to think back to 2016, just last year, when Ohio State was selected for the playoffs and they didn’t win their conference title. Ole Boy Skip Bayless never voiced a word of disagreement. Then the mighty Buckeyes took the field against Clemson and were utterly demolished, 31-0. They were outmatched, outplayed, and outcoached. This year when Alabama took the field in the playoffs, they played, wouldn’t you know it, Clemson! Only it was the Clemson Tigers that left the field embarrassed as the Tide smothered them, 24-6.


Alabama football, under Saban, has set a very high standard, and the fact that they continue to achieve this standard is part of the problem. Hang in there, let me explain. Alabama has become so effective and so efficient that when there is a lapse of any kind, it’s agreed that Alabama has fallen off. The Haters (you don’t have to actually ‘hate’ to be a Hater. Simply foaming at the mouth and slobbering will suffice) grasp this as if it was pure gold and they want to believe they’re witnessing  the end for the Crimson Tide empire. In the month of November, Bama was not the most proficient team. There were weakness, mainly Jalen Hurts, and they were missing key personnel because of injuries so they didn’t dominate their opponents. Because they weren’t AS dominate as they were before people wanted to believe they weren’t as good. They still won, while Ohio State was being humiliated by Iowa to the tune of 31 points. Thirty-one points. Four touchdowns, complete with extra points, and a field goal. Let that sink in, folks. Go on the internet and listen to one of Skip Bayless’s rants on the matter and he’ll literally state this very thing (about Alabama. He forgot to mention thirty-one points in Iowa). Then when Bama lost to Auburn, Haters loved it because this showed just how far the Crimson Tide had fallen.

But the truth is, they didn’t want Alabama in the playoffs, not because they thought they didn’t belong and that they would be embarrassed, like Ohio State was last year, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead they didn’t want Alabama in the show because they were scared to death that the Red Elephants would make yet another run at a national championship. Then, when they did win the Natty, as it is called by some, they were mad because their fears had proven true.

Now, did Ohio State deserve to be in the playoffs instead? Did the selection committee get it wrong? Ohio State had a very good football team, truly the fifth best team in the Nation.

First off, the Haters have not solved the glaring problem that Ohio State lost two games when Alabama lost only one. Never Bama (sounds kinda like Never Trump, doesn’t it?) like to point out that the OSU losses (plural) came early in the season. The first loss was to Oklahoma in week 2. They’ll then say that OU was a powerhouse of a team and one of the final four. That is a legitimate argument, and if that had been their only loss, they’d have a solid case. But, it wasn’t, and here is where their case falls apart. In the ninth game of the season, they lost to Iowa, who would only mount an 8-5 record for the year. But they just didn’t lose to them by a couple of points. They got hammered, losing 55 to 24. The Hawkeyes trounced the Buckeyes like they were school yard bullies stealing their lunch money. In Alabama’s ninth game they defeated a ranked LSU team that ended up with a 9-4 record, and they beat the Tigers by 14 points 24 to 10. If The Crimson Tide had lost to LSU by 31 points like OSU did to Iowa, the college football world would have forgotten the Tide in 2017.

Second, strength of schedule. OSU played only six ranked teams during the season, losing to one ranked team and dropping another game to an unranked team. Alabama ended up playing six ranked teams, and, in the playoffs, they defeated the number one ranked Clemson Tigers followed by the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama had the tougher schedule. On top of that, OSU played six teams with winning records and six teams with losing records. Alabama played eight teams with winning records and four teams with losing records. Again, Alabama’s strength of schedule wins.

Since we are comparing schedules, let’s take it one step further. Let’s look at past schedules.  In 2013, OSU played 4 ranked teams to Alabama’s 5, in 2014 OSU played 5 ranked teams to Bama’s 7, in 2015 OSU played 3 ranked teams while Bama played 9. In 2016 OSU played 4 ranked teams while Bama played against 10. Then in 2018 OSU will play five teams that posted a winning record in ‘17, while Bama will be playing 7 teams with winning records. What can we draw from this? Alabama plays tougher teams.

There is also the “Eye Ball” test that needs to be applied. In 2017 Ohio State started off the year by playing Indiana, who posted a 5-7 schedule, and has not had a winning record in the past five years. Not only that but the Hoosiers have not beaten the Buckeyes since 1988. Alabama on the other hand took on Florida State, who has posted a winning record for the past five years and won the National Championship in 2013. One will state that FSU did not have a good year in 2017 and that they lost their starting QB. True enough, but let’s not forget, at the start of the season the Seminoles were ranked #3 and the Alabama dominated them the entire game. Their QB didn’t go down until the fourth quarter. Alabama started off the season against a much better team and beat them. Just by looking at the two games, it’s obvious that Bama started the season off with a much tougher test.

Now, let’s just look at the rest of the teams that they played. OSU only had one true test in their first seven games and that would be against Oklahoma. The rest of those teams there was no question that the Buckeyes were going to win just by showing up. The only team that has beaten OSU since 2000 in this bunch would be Nebraska, who defeated them in 2011. They got into the tough part of their schedule where they played Penn State, who beat them last in 2016, Iowa, who hadn’t defeated them since 2004, Michigan State, who beat them in 2015, Illinois, who defeated them in ‘07, Michigan, who beat them in ‘11, and then Wisconsin, who beat them in ‘10. Just by looking at these games one would have to conclude that OSU plays teams they have dominated.


Alabama, on the other hand played Fresno State, Colorado State, and Vanderbilt after the FSU game. The Tide was going to win, no question about it. But then they played Ole Miss, who beat Alabama in ‘14 and ‘15, A&M, who beat them in ‘12, Arkansas and Tennessee both haven’t defeated them since ’06, LSU, who downed Bama in ’11 and Mississippi State, in ’07, Mercer was a give me game and then Auburn, who not only defeated them in ’17, but also nine times since 2000. In the playoffs Alabama overcame Clemson decidedly, who beat the Tide last year in the Championship game, and then Georgia, who last defeated Bama in ’07. But the Dawgs and Bama don’t play often, either. Just looking at the this one metric has to come to the conclusion that Alabama played more teams who were possible challengers than Ohio State did.

Ohio State has been dominating a very weak Big Ten conference. The only real teams that have challenged them would be Michigan State and Penn State. Heck, even their arch rival Michigan, who brought in Coach Harbaugh for the sole purpose of beating OSU, has yet to do it since 2011, and since the year 2000 the Wolverines have only beaten Ohio State in ’00, ’03 and ’11. For them to be the arch nemesis of the Buckeyes, they a weak arch nemesis.

Ohio State gets very good players and they put up some very impressive stats, but when they are putting up stats against the likes of Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, and Michigan, it’s not that impressive. They only play one ranked team outside the conference and they lose to them, so that does not help their case that they are an elite team on the national stage. But, they beat Wisconsin in the Conference Championship game, one will point out. Forgetting the fact the Badgers only played two teams with winning records all year, and one of those teams was in their bowl game. Like it or not, Wisconsin is not a resume booster.

Alabama plays in the SEC, which is a tougher conference. The Haters at this point will say that they SEC was down this year and they would be correct, kind-of. Let’s not forget that the final two teams in the playoffs were from the SEC. But mostly the SEC was down this year – but that’s just this year. The SEC didn’t get the reputation for being the toughest conference in the past year or two. This conference has been ranked consistently at the top year in and year out. Why? Because in the SEC “it just means more”. LSU fired Les Miles, not because the Tigers where losing, and not going to bowl games. He was fired because he couldn’t beat Alabama often enough. If he had been coaching any team in the Big Ten, he’d still be employed.

After looking at the facts, it’s obvious that Alabama deserved to be in the final four and they proved the committee right by winning the title. Ohio State did not deserve to be in the playoffs, they couldn’t get through their schedule without two embarrassing loses and they played a much weaker schedule. This, of course, will not silence the people who Hate Alabama. They’re set in their ways, their slobbering is continual, and their frothing at the mouth unchecked. Their mindset cannot be changed by a presentation of facts, much like democrats. Their hated is based solely on emotion. So, the next time you hear good ole Skip Bayless, or any other talking head, rant and rave about how unfair it was that Alabama got into the final four instead of Ohio State, just remember that they’re basing their entire rant on how they want things to be, not on how things are. For this, we should pity them, Bless their hearts,….we won’t mind you, we’ll more than likely laugh as we wear our Championship shirts and hoist yet another National Championship Trophy.

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