The college football playoffs finished in dramatic fashion on Monday, as the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled to another National Championship victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, 26-23 in overtime.
Behind freshman quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, the Crimson Tide sparked on all cylinders in the second half coming back from a 13-point deficit.
After a sluggish two quarters from the Georgia defense and the offense not able to get anything going, Alabama thundered back and knotted the game up at 20-20 with three minutes left in the game. With only four seconds remaining on the game clock, Alabama’s walk-on kicker Andy Pappanastos’ 36-yard field goal to win the game sailed wide left sending the game into overtime.
It did not take long for either team to score as Georgia came down the field and nailed a 51-yard field goal before Tagovailoa threw a 41-yard bomb to Devonta Smith to end the game and crown the Crimson Tide as National Champions for the 17th time in school history.
The 2018 National Championship was just the beginning of exciting and dramatic playoff and bowl games in the college football season. The semi-finals featured two upset games as No. 3 Georgia knocked off No. 2 Oklahoma and Heisman winning quarterback Baker Mayfield. This game also had a dramatic double overtime ending as the Bulldogs outlasted the Sooners, winning on a 27-yard touchdown, capping off the high-scoring 54-48 game.
On the other side of the country in the New Orleans, Louisiana, Sugar Bowl No. 4 Alabama manhandled top seed Clemson 24-6 in a match-up that was not close the entire game. Although Alabama was the lowest seed going up against Clemson, they were still favored to win the game in pregame projections.
Some of the other top bowl games included the Citrus Bowl, where Notre Dame knocked off LSU, 21-17. UCF finished off an amazing undefeated season beating Auburn 34-27 in the Peach Bowl, ending the season as the only undefeated team in college football. Wisconsin also defeated Miami 34-24 in the Orange Bowl in a surprise season where they remained undefeated before losing to Pittsburgh 24-14. In the Fiesta Bowl, Penn State beat Washington 35-28, featuring top players in running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley.
The Cotton Bowl, which featured a match-up between USC and Ohio State, ended in a 24-7 blowout for the Buckeyes of Ohio State over the USC Trojans.
There were many athletes that made their mark in bowls and playoff games and will be remembered for their tremendous plays. One of these shining stars included quarterback Jake Fromm from Georgia, who led his team to the National Championship, knocking off a tough Oklahoma defense in the playoff semi-final game. He also led Georgia to an 11-1 record while throwing for 24 touchdowns and 2,615 yards as only a 19 year-old freshman.
Mayfield had one of the best seasons for a quarterback in college football history. Throughout the entire record-breaking season, he threw for 43 touchdowns and 4,627 yards, leading his team to an 11-1 season. It was only two seasons ago that Mayfield was a walk-on, overweight quarterback who also previously walked-on at Texas Tech and led that team to an 8-5 record. In Mayfield’s first season with the Sooners, he passed for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns, starting in all 13 games and taking over the starting job immediately.
The Heisman-winning quarterback from 2016, Lamar Jackson, had just as good of a season, if not better for Louisville in 2017, throwing for 3,660 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushing for 1,601 yards and 18 touchdowns. Although Jackson’s season did not end the way he wanted it to, losing to Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl 31-27, he will be entering the 2018 draft in the spring to begin a hopefully successful professional career.
The 2017 college football season was full of outstanding players, teams, and games that many fans hope to see in the future of the game. With fresh and returning faces stepping on the field in 2018, college football fans got the same excitement and thrill that the 2017 season gave.