Hayes: Angry Dawgs are the scariest sight in college football. You'll see, Ohio State ...
The last thing anyone should do is give Georgia more motivation.
Yet here we are, in the throes of abject stupidity, doing just that.
The Playoff selection committee. Ryan Day. Social media.
It’s almost like everyone in the college football hemisphere has forgotten what a motivated — wait, insulted — Georgia team looks like.
Let me give you a quick reminder:
Georgia 49, Oregon 3.
Georgia 28, Tennessee 13.
Georgia 50, LSU 30.
Publicly, Georgia coach Kirby Smart declared Sunday when No. 1 Georgia was matched against No .4 Ohio State in the Playoff that it’s not who you play, it’s how you play. It’s about the line of scrimmage and explosion plays.
But you better believe he’s riding the disrespect train for all its worth with his players.
The Playoff selection committee began the disrespect by keeping TCU at No. 3 and moving Ohio State to No .4 — to potentially set up a Michigan-Ohio State national championship game.
Meanwhile, Ohio State coach Ryan Day spent time at his press conference Sunday not only addressing a potential rematch with Michigan, but stating, “It would be unbelievable. And to say we haven’t thought about that, of course we have. Everybody has.”
Then, the final indignity: The Heisman Trophy Trust on Monday announced Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett as a finalist for this year’s award — and social media lost its collective mind.
Not just social media, but talking heads on the major college football shows chimed in, too. Joel Klatt of Fox Sports said he was “shocked” that Bennett was a finalist.
Perfect for Georgia, he said, but not a Heisman finalist.
These things, of course, are a sweet symphony to the ears of Smart.
When you have the best team in college football, when you haven’t been tested all season, when you’ve won 31 of your past 32 games, you’re constantly searching for motivation.
If we’ve learned anything from Nick Saban’s historic run at Alabama — of which Smart was intimately involved as Saban’s top lieutenant — it’s that Saban was a master at taking 2nd chances (and the doubt and criticism) and turning them into championships.
— Alabama got a 2nd chance in 2011 after a 9-6 home loss to LSU, then thumped LSU in the national title game.
— Alabama got a 2nd chance in 2012 after a home loss to Texas A&M, and whipped Notre Dame in the national title game.
— Alabama got a 2nd chance after a loss in the regular season final to Auburn, didn’t win its division, but made the Playoff and won it all.
There is no doubt with Georgia, and the only criticism seems to be aimed at Bennett, who has merely developed from a walk-on into the most successful quarterback in school history.
He could be the first quarterback since AJ McCarron at Alabama to win back-to-back national titles, and more than likely won’t win the Heisman. But to say he shouldn’t be a finalist, or those who voted for him should have their vote taken away, is utterly laughable.
There’s a difference between putting up big numbers in the Pac-12 and Big 12, and doing the same thing in the SEC.
Just like it’s intellectually dishonest for Boo Corrigan, the Playoff selection committee chairman, to proclaim the committee didn’t talk about TCU and Ohio State and avoiding a Big Ten rematch in the semifinals.
Of course there was talk among the committee about where to place TCU and Ohio State. Just like there was talk about where to place Alabama. To suggest anything different is insulting.
The Playoff format is set to protect the No. 1 seed as much as possible as a reward for earning the No. 1 ranking. That includes semifinal bowl preference, and a game against the worst of the 4 seeds.
If Ohio State was good enough to withstand a 22-point home loss in its final game of the season, it certainly was good enough to pass No. 3 TCU after the Horned Frogs lost to 3-loss Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game and left both teams with 1 loss.
Georgia was instead given uber-talented Ohio State, and after Day said all the right things on the Peach Bowl conference call, he turned a press conference in Columbus into talk of a rematch that “everyone” has thought about.
Like the game against Oregon that “everyone” thought about for 9 months prior to the start of the season, where new Ducks coach (and former Georgia defensive coordinator) Dan Lanning would make a statement with a new quarterback (Bo Nix) who knew all about the Dawgs.
Or the showdown with Tennessee’s point-a-minute offense and Heisman leader Hendon Hooker. The Vols scored 13 points, and it was the only game of the season where Hooker failed to throw a touchdown pass.
Or LSU’s return to the SEC Championship Game, which before a loss to Texas A&M a week prior, included the possibility of a spot in the Playoff. Bennett had 4 TD passes at halftime, and the game was over.
“We’re back in control of our destiny,” Day said. “There’s a 2-game season ahead of us.”
Might want to get through Game 1 first — against a team suddenly full of motivation.