Monday night wrapped up the college football season as Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime. This game was about so much more than Alabama winning their 13th national title and Coach Nick Saban winning his 6th as a head coach. This game pitted the two best teams in college football since the beginning of the season against each other. It validated the committee and the field that they put together. It was about Smart vs Saban and a proverbial changing of the guard in the SEC, at least for the first half. Then Saban made the move of the season when he pulled inept QB Jalen Hurts, who couldn’t complete a pass on air and insert a true freshman from Hawaii Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts who in his career is 26-2 as a starter was largely ineffective in the first half which led to the move to Tua. At the half, Georgia led 13-0 and looked as if they were going to walk away with the NC. Jake Fromm the freshman QB for Georgia was unbelievable for the Bulldogs, this young man is going to be special. More on that later. Tua came out in the second half and the Tide goes three and out. Then Georgia gets the ball back and ends up punting the ball back to Bama. Bama and Tua go out and end up scoring running multiple RPOs (Run Pass Options). Georgia’s next possession Fromm hits Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown. Alabama ties the game up at 20-20 in the fourth quarter and has a 36 yard FG to win it at the buzzer but they miss wide left, so wide left that the ball may have wound up in Mississippi. In overtime, Georgia can’t move the ball and Rodrigo Blankenship and his hipster glasses nail a 51 yard FG. No one helped their draft status more than Blankenship this playoff he nailed big kick after big kick including a couple 50 yarders. On Bama’s ensuing possession Tua gets sacked for a loss of 16, so it is 2nd and 26. Georgia is in 1/4, 1/4, 1/2 combo coverage and the safety gets hung up on the number 3 receiver to the field. Number 1 receiver to the boundary runs vertical and the cornerback gets no reroute so he runs free. The boundary safety doesn’t get off of the hash and Tua throws a strike and ball game, Bama wins 26-23. Unreal ending to an unreal game.
This game showed the future of the SEC and why everyone will be chasing them again for conference supremacy. Georgia has been a sleeping giant, well as much of a sleeping giant as one can be winning 10 games a year. Georgia has the most resources of anyone in the SEC and as many as anyone in the country, plus more division one players and NFL players come from Georgia than any other state. The Bulldogs hired essentially a younger version of Nick Saban, which means problems for the rest of the country. Georgia is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, the only thing that could derail them is Kirby Smart going to the NFL and I do not see that as a viable move for him.
For years when people bragged about SEC defenses, the argument was that they had terrible QB play in that league. Well, they need to find another argument after Monday. Fromm and Tua will be two of the best QBs in the country headed into next season. Fromm, if he were able, could be the first pick overall in the draft this year. Think about this dude. He was getting ready to go to prom last year and a year later is making his mark against a great Bama defense. Tua although admittedly a smaller sample size, looked the part to be a top draft pick some day. The future is bright for the SEC as we all saw Monday night.
Now to the Browns, I love what they have been doing with regards to hiring front office guys. By all accounts, they have one of the best front offices in the league with Smith, Dorsey, and now Wolff. Congrats have to be given to Sashi Brown for stacking assets for these gentlemen to work some magic. 4 picks in the first 35 and under the cap by $117 million. Their next move has to be to find a new head coach, Hue Jackson cannot be trusted with these types of assets. He can not be allowed to have any input on the draft picks and free agent signings. The first thing the Browns have to do is address the QB room. Kizer I believe can be a good pro eventually but he needs a veteran presence in the QB room. That is why I am imploring the Browns to go after either Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith. Alex Smith I believe is the better option because of his age, 36. He can take the reigns for a couple years and guide Kizer as to how to lead a QB room and an NFL team, which will benefit Kizer immensely. Plus, Smith would be the cheaper option, they could get him for one of the second round picks they possess. Cousins I believe would be more of a long-term option, which I do not think they want to pay for nor do they need. Smith makes $17 million this year while Cousins makes $23.9 million. Cousins who will be a free agent this spring and will likely demand upwards of $25 million a year for at least 5 years being that he is only 29 years old. Alex Smith has one more year and will be a free agent in 2019, which I believe the Browns could easily extend him for one more year at the same salary. This move would free up cap space to get more weapons on defense and offense.
Assuming the Browns unload one of the second rounders, #35 overall to KC for Smith, that leaves them with #1 overall, #4 overall, #33 overall, and #60 overall in first two rounds. With the first pick, I believe they should take whoever they feel is the best player on their draft board, and there is no way you can make me believe that they have a QB as the best prospect. I think they need an immediate impact player at #1 and #4. A lot of people will argue that you can’t take a RB at #1 and I would agree if it was a 30 carry a game back like an Adrian Peterson. I think the best player and the one that will make an immediate impact for them will be Saquon Barkley from Penn State. He was by far and away the best player in college football, he can run the ball, catch the ball, he is a complete back. He is a better version of Le’veon Bell from the Steelers. He is probably the best back to come out of college in last 5-6 years, as far as a complete back. You will be able to get him the ball 30 times but it doesn’t have to be by handoff since he can catch the ball in space too. He will make the Browns instantly better on the offensive side of the ball. With the fourth pick they have to take the best defensive player that they have on their board, and because we did not take a QB I believe the next two picks will be QBs. Therefore, the Browns will have the pick of the best defensive players in the draft. For me, I think that player is Minkah Fitzpatrick safety from Alabama. He is a game changer at Safety and gives us a great in the box safety to play the run and a guy that can also play against the TE or a slot. The best player from the best defense in the country is a major upgrade for the Browns secondary. The last thing I want to see happen to the Browns draft picks is they get traded, we have done this before and it has led to missed players and busted draft picks and we can’t have that again. In the second round, they have to take the best player available whether that be on offense or defense. A trade I would like to see them make if it is at all possible is if Raekwon Smith starts to fall to the middle of the first round I would love to see the Browns trade up and get him. Watching him about a half dozen times this year he is all over the field making plays sideline to sideline. If the Browns can get those three players on day 1 it would be a successful draft then they can plug guys in to need spots after that in later rounds.
I know there hasn’t been much cooking in the blog lately but it will make a return. The weather in Northeast Ohio has been awful. It went from -20* last Thursday to 60* today that is an 80* swing in a week. I hope soon to get back to the grill because besides writing this blog it is another one of my favorite things to do.
Monday was a killer FF&E gave you a lock that should have been good if you recall I gave you Georgia +3.5 and under 48.5. The line was very seldom in jeopardy but the under was crushed when the kicker from Bama missed FG at end of regulation. Then in OT when Georgia got the sack it should have been good because the game was virtually over and then the blown coverage happened. Oh well, a split, but no worries NFL divisional round is here. Let’s go!!
- Falcons -3 Falcons are hot maybe the best team in playoffs right now!
- New England -13.5 and under 48.5 this one is going to be over early. (Sorry Jay)
- Jacksonville +7.5 Jax defense is awesome and they beat Steelers by 30 earlier.
- NO/Minn under 46.5 one good defense and one great defense.
There you have it let’s go 5-0 this weekend!!
Have a great weekend we will be back Sunday for a wrapup of the NFL Divisional games, touch on NFL ratings being down, and Lavar Ball.
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