By Chris Mahr
By now you have undoubtedly heard of the titanic showdown in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. At stake is a spot in the BCS title game against top-ranked Notre Dame.
I believe I speak on behalf of many neutral college football fans when I say that I desperately crave a Bulldogs victory.
Mind you, this isn’t a desire born out of dislike for the Crimson Tide. While I’ve used this column to previously label Nick Saban as the “Sultan of Surliness,” I can’t deny his talents and abilities as a head coach and a motivator. He’s earned every piece of success he’s enjoyed.
And even though Alabama fans can be notoriously maniacal, I don’t mind them either. If anything, my interactions with them have given me a healthy respect for them. (Case in point: Allyn Cramer, a.k.a. the “Crying Alabama Frat Boy,” sent me a gracious thank you email after I profiled him earlier this month.)
The primary reason I’m hoping for a Georgia win on Saturday is because it would mean we could avoid the snotty, unending pontificating in advance of a BCS title game featuring two of the bluest bloods in college football.
Without question, Notre Dame-Alabama be one of the most hyped BCS title games ever, if not the most hyped BCS title game ever. Would you expect anything less in a game between teams with a combined 25 claimed national titles and two of the most vocal fan bases in college football?
When we aren’t beaten over the head with Lou Holtz talking about Notre Dame ad nauseam, there will be talking heads discussing where Alabama football would rank among the greatest dynasties in sports if the Tide wins its third national title in four years.
It would make for a ratings bonanza — and a mind-numbing month worth of build-up. In my hypothetical 2012 college football playoff preview on Nov. 1, I predicted that a BCS title game between the Irish and Crimson Tide would necessitate a week-long series of episodes of ESPN “College GameDay” from Miami featuring an endless line of former players from both teams debating which program is more prestigious. I was only half-joking.
I respect the deep, deep tradition that programs such as Notre Dame and Alabama can boast. It’s part of what makes college football great. But I don’t want to hear it all the time. College football is also great because fresh-faced teams find ways to surprise us every year.
Who could’ve predicted that Kent State and Northern Illinois would be meeting in Saturday’s MAC Championship Game with a BCS bowl bid potentially at stake? Or that perennially moribund San Jose State would crack the BCS Top 25? Two decades ago, did anyone foresee that Oregon would become college football’s trendiest team and hottest offense?
Maybe it’s the March Madness fan in me — I am the managing editor of a college football and basketball website, after all — but I like hearing about upstarts as much (if not more than) a sport’s established powers. And a Notre Dame-Alabama title game would ensure that the latter is all we would hear about between next Sunday and the game on Jan. 7.
Critics of this column will point out that a Notre Dame-Georgia matchup would also be a double dose of college football blue bloodedness. Which is true. But while the Bulldogs boast a rich history, their fans don’t have that annoying “We’re [insert team name here] and you’re not” mentality you find among the fan bases for Alabama, Notre Dame or any of the FBS programs in the all-time top 10 in wins.
Fans of Notre Dame, Alabama or the idea of dynasties in college football — and there are no doubt many of each group — would, of course, savor a month worth of anticipation in advance of this dream matchup (not to mention the game itself). Me? I don’t particularly savor the prospect.
And it’s not just because I don’t want to watch a week’s worth of “GameDay” episodes live from Miami.
Chris Mahr is the managing editor of Lost Lettermen. His column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can follow him on Twitter at @CMahrtian.
Photo Credit: Derick Hingle (left) and John Reed (right)/US Presswire