Alabama Faces Uphill Climb to Reach CFB Playoff

Alabama Faces Uphill Climb to Reach CFB Playoff

The Georgia Bulldogs nemesis enters the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, looking to extend an excruciating series of losses against their SEC East rival.

The 2021 SEC Championship showcases the two most dominant teams in SEC play since Nick Saban landed on the Alabama tarmac in 2007. Alabama ranks first, with a winning percentage of .869 (106-16), Georgia a distant second at .727 (88-33). This is their eighth meeting since 2007, with Alabama entering on a six-game win streak.

The Bulldogs defense ranks first in the nation in PPG (6.9 ), 2nd in Passing YPG (151.6), and third in rushing defense (79.0)

In their last three meetings, Georgia held a lead in the second half only to watch the Tide roll back to win. Despite Georgia’s masterful defensive dominance of the SEC this season, fans in Athens won’t accept another disappearing act in the second half.

Alabama – Georgia last 3 Meetings

Team1st Half Points2nd Half Points
Jaylen Waddle’s 90-yard TD reception ignited 21 unanswered in Alabama’s 41-24 victory over the Bulldogs last season.

Alabama Faces an All-or-Nothing Scenario

While Georgia almost certainly will remain in the top four with a loss, Alabama’s loss at Texas A&M earlier this season makes this a must-win to reach the CFB Playoff for the seventh time in eight years.


Alabama could be the latest “regular” to be eliminated from contention in 2021, as previous mainstays Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma are also watching from home. However, an Alabama victory on Saturday produces their fifth #1 seed in the CFB era and could treat fans to a rematch against Georgia in the National Semifinals.

Most College Football Playoff Appearances (since 2014)

TeamsApp./#1 SeedW-LNational Championships
Alabama6/48-33 (2015, 17, 20)
Clemson6/26-42 (2016, 18)
Ohio State4/03-31 (2015)

Dominance vs SEC East

Two other impressive long streaks for Saban’s crew face extinction on Saturday.

1. Alabama’s 33-game win streak against SEC East opponents (last loss October 9, 2010, at South Carolina). Overall Alabama is 41-3 vs against the “other” division under Saban.

2. Since losing their first SEC Championship Game under Nick Saban to Florida in 2008, the Tide has won seven straight (beat Florida in 2009, 2015, 2016 & 2020, Georgia in 2012 & 2018, and Missouri in 2014).

Alabama needs complete efforts from Jameson Williams, John Metchie, and Bryce Young if they hope to defeat Georgia.

LOTTERY DEFEATED – Automated lottery software promises significant results

Nick Saban vs #1 AP Ranked Opponents

Since taking over as Alabama Head Coach in 2007, the Crimson Tide is 5-2 against AP #1 Ranked Opponents. Saturday marks the second time Alabama plays them in the SEC Championship Game.

DateAP #1 Ranked OpponentResult Reference
November 7, 2019 vs. LSU L, 45-41
January 1, 2018vs. ClemsonW, 24-6National Semis
January 11, 2016vs. ClemsonW, 45-40National Championship
January 7, 2013vs. Notre DameW, 42-14National Championship
January 9, 2012vs. LSUW, 21-0National Championship
November 5, 2011vs. LSUL, 9-6
December 5, 2009vs. FloridaW, 31-20SEC Championship

2021 marks the fourth consecutive season and tenth time since 2008 to feature the number 1 ranked team. From 1992-2007 only the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers entered first in the nation (#1 ranked team is 8-2 overall, winning seven straight).

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Will Atlanta and Houston enact sweet postseason revenge and meet in the World Series?

As the calendar turns toward winter, the remaining days of autumn are highlighted by the culmination of the MLB postseason.

In the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers spirited Game 3 comeback victory is the only thing saving their season. Heading into Game 5 at Dodger Stadium tonight, Dave Roberts’ depleted bullpen needs a heroic performance from midseason acquisition Max Scherzer.

The 3-time Cy Young Award winner’s impact on the Dodgers season is undeniable. The 36-year old currently in his 14th MLB season went undefeated (7-0) in his 11 starts with the defending champs, posting a career-best 0.86 WHIP and 2.46 ERA (0.82/1.98 with LAD). Scherzer provided relief for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, recording his first postseason save two days after suffering a hard-luck 1-0 loss in Game 3 (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 10 K).

In the American League, the Red Sox power seems to have dissipated. In losing Games 4 and 5, the Sox offense has hit a wall after connecting for 18 HR, hitting .338, and averaging just under nine runs PG in their previous six games. The vaunted Red Sox offense combined for three runs while hitting .157 overall and going 0-13 with RISP.

Meanwhile, Dusty Baker’s unit finds themselves one win away from reaching the World Series for the third time in five seasons. If his team eliminates Boston, Baker receives another chance to win his first championship as a manager (currently owns the record for most games managed without winning a World Series).

Finally, in recognition of Max Scherzer’s start tonight, here are a few examples of pitchers providing super-human efforts facing elimination along with salvaging their team’s bullpen.

Josh Becket (Marlins) – Game 5, 2003 NLCS

Facing elimination, Beckett threw a 2-hit shutout, striking out 11 Cubs while inspiring Florida to rally and win the series.

Curt Schilling (Phillies) – Game 5, 1993 World Series

Without the former ESPN announcer efforts, one of the most memorable postseason moments in MLB would cease to exist.

Schilling’s 147-pitch, five-hit shutout came after Philadelphia used six pitchers, unable to hold a 14-9 lead in Game 4. Joe Carter would be just another Joe without Schilling’s spectacular performance.

Danny Jackson (Royals) – Game 5, 1985 ALCS; Game 5, 1985 World Series.

Jackson sent the ALCS back to Toronto with a brilliant, 8-hit shutout of the Blue Jays. Jackson’s performance came at the perfect moment, provided how poorly the Royals bullpen performed in Games 1-4. The left-hander delivered a repeat of his ALCS performance in Game 5 of the World Series. Jackson’s complete Game, five-hitter at St. Louis, sent the series back to Kansas City, where the Royals completed another series comeback.

Mickey Lolich (Tigers) – Game 5, 1968 World Series

The Tigers watched 30-game winner Denny McClain, and five relievers allowed ten runs on 13 hits in the Cardinals 10-1 win in Game 4.

Needing to save an extended bullpen, Lolich allowed nine hits and three runs but went the distance in the Tigers 5-3 victory.

Celebrating Jackie Robinson Day – Story of William Clarence Matthews

Celebrating Jackie Robinson Day – Story of William Clarence Matthews

While baseball fans prepare to celebrate the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking MLB’s color barrier on April 15, 1947, few people know of another rumored to beat Robinson to it 42 years earlier.

Almost 90 years before Martin Luther King Jr. made his five-day, 54-mile trek from Selma to Montgomery, William Clarence Matthews made his.

Born in Selma on January 7, 1877, Matthews lived with his two siblings, Fannie, the oldest, and Walter (or Buddy), the second oldest. His father died in the 1890s, and his family moved to Montgomery, Alabama.

Where did this rumor start?

In his seminal “Only the Ball was White” in 1970 on the Negro Leagues, Robert Peterson described Matthews as a great college player at Harvard in the first decade of the century and cites his rumored entry into the National League.

Sol White’s book “History of Colored Baseball” – published in 1907 – referenced this note on Matthews

“It is said on good authority that one of the leading players and a manager of the National League is advocating the entrance of colored players in the National League with a view to signing ‘Matthews,’ the colored man, late of Harvard.”

Most thought that manager was Giants legendary manager John McGraw, an enormous believer in the talent residing in anyone who could help his team win. McGraw, in 1901, tried to sneak Charlie Grant, second baseman of the Columbia Giants of Chicago, a black team, onto his roster as Tokohama, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. McGraw also employed two black stars, Rube Foster and Jose Mendez, to coach his pitchers.

Article in “The Boston Traveller

On July 15, 1905, local paper “The Boston Traveller” (some sources reference the spelling with one L and others with two) – one of nine local Boston papers and known to stretch the truth sometimes for sales said this.

It is very probable that [Matthews] will become a member of the Boston Nationals very soon.

It has been hinted at for the past few days. Now it is rumored that it will transpire.

A person ‘on the inside,’ one who generally knows whereof he speaks, has this to say: ‘Captain Tenney has long been hunting for a lively second baseman to strengthen his infield. On hearing of Matthews’ remarkable ability, and after following the career of the young negro collegian-professional while at Harvard and Burlington, (he) decided that William C. was just the laddy buck he needed.’

The source “on the inside” then offers a rationale for Matthews’ acceptance where others would fail:

“As Matthews is a Harvard man, he should prove a great attraction… Matthews is a well-educated, gentlemanly fellow, as well as a clever ballplayer.

If Harvard men do not object to associating with and idolizing the negro, certainly none of the National IJeague players will object to breaking bread with him.”

The article refers to player/manager of the Boston Beaneaters (became the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves) Fred Tenney (fellow Ivy Leaguer from Brown and off-season teacher at Tufts University).

Boston was awful – middle infielders Ed Abbaticchio and Fred Raymer had combined to commit 80 errors by mid-July on a team that finished 51-103. Would Boston’s futility open the door for talented players like Matthews?

Matthews Adulthood

He enrolled at the Tuskegee Institute from 1893 until 1897, where he graduated second in his class Tuskegee (was first football coach). Booker T Washington arranged for him to continue his study in the north, first at the Phillips Andover Academy, where he was the only African-American in his class of 97 students. Then, in the fall of 1901, at Harvard University.

Aaron Molineaux Hewlett & William Henry Lewis

While few schools provided opportunities for African-Americans, Harvard broke ground in many categories. Aaron Molineaux Hewlett, hired in 1859, became the first physical culture teacher in the nation. Hewlett also taught physical education, sparring lessons and coached baseball and rowing from 1859-71.

One of the foremost football minds of any generation, William Henry Lewis earned All-American honors at Harvard (the first African-American to do so), then coached the Crimson from 1895-1906. Harvard won over 85 percent of their games under Lewis (114-15-5).

Standing at 5’8″ 145 pounds, Matthews gained popularity with his classmates after arriving on campus in the fall of 1901. Under Coach Lewis’ guidance, his “wonderful quickness and pertinacity” helped him succeed playing QB. 

Baseball Career and Racism from Opponents

During his Freshman season, Matthew’s hitting coach was Wee Willie Keeler, while Cy Young coached the pitchers (both HOF). 

While Harvard initially sat Matthews when opponents like the University of Virginia refused to play if he was in the lineup, they eventually stood behind him. Georgetown and West Point considered forfeiting but relented after Harvard declined to accommodate their threats. 

Despite playing with future MLB players Eddie Grant and Walter Clarkson (combined to play 15 MLB seasons), Matthews was Harvard’s best player (2B-SS). 

He led the team in hitting his final three years (he hit .400 and stole 25 bases during his senior year). During his four years at Harvard, the Crimson won 81 percent of their games (76-18).

Breaks Northern League Color Barrier

On July 4, 1905, Matthews became the starting second baseman for the Burlington, Vermont team in the Northern League. Matthews became the only African-American playing in white professional baseball leagues at the time. He got three hits in his first game and fielded excellently. He played well for the whole season, with the Burlington team taking second place and narrowly missing first place.

Matthews was one of only four players who played the entire season for Burlington. 1905 was his only year in professional baseball as he entered Boston University School of Law to work on his law degree in Fall 1905.

Matthews other accomplishments 

  • married wife married Pamela Belle Lloyd from Hayneville, Alabama, in 1908.
  • Replaced his mentor at Harvard, William Henry Lewis, as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Boston area.
  • Named chief legal counsel for the Marcus Garvey founded Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.
  • named the Head of the Colored Division of the Republican National Committee in 1924. (Matthews’ position was the first time a major U.S. political party put an African-American in charge of organizing the African-American vote).
  • Following the 1924 election, Matthews delivered a list of seventeen demands to improve African-Americans’ position in the Coolidge administration.
  • Under Coolidge, Matthews became U.S. Assistant Attorney General. 
  • Matthews died on April 9, 1928 (51 years old) of a perforated ulcer. 


Obituaries for Matthews ran in most of the major newspapers in the country. The New York Times called him “one of the most prominent Negro members of the bar in America.”

Over 1,500 people attended his funeral in Boston, with William Henry Lewis serving as an honorary pallbearer.

He’s buried in the Cambridge Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Great quotes 

Negro Leagues historian Larry Lester

We have to look at this in the context of history; America during that period was under the separate but equal doctrine, upheld by the 1896 Supreme Court decision [in Plessy v. Ferguson, which allowed state-sponsored segregation]. The most visible Black athletes at that time were jockeys. The Black athlete was not acceptable in mainstream society and especially not in the most popular sport in America. That tells me that William Clarence Matthews must have been one hell of a shortstop.”

Boston Globe (1905 quote concerning Matthew’s ethics)

“For seven years, Matthews could have earned much money by playing for semi-professional teams, but this he has refused to do … Here is a man who, to maintain his amateur standing, has repeatedly refused offers of $40 a week and board to play semi-pro baseball in the summer. He had the example of many contemporaneous college ballplayers who were accepting ‘indirect’ compensation in an underhanded way, but he has kept his record clean, and his, it is sad to say, is an exceptional case.”

William Clarence Matthews

“I think it is an outrage that colored men are discriminated against in the big leagues. What a shame it is that black men are barred forever from participating in the national game. I should think that Americans should rise up in revolt against such a condition. Many negroes are brilliant players and should not be shut out because their skin is black. As a Harvard man, I shall devote my life to bettering the condition of the black man, and especially to secure his admittance into organized baseball”.


1 – Wikipedia  

2- Research.Sabr.Org – Karl Lindholm “William Clarence Matthews” (Page 67-72)

3 – The Professor and the Pugilist – January 6, 2014

4 – –

2020 SEC Championship Preview:Alabama Looks to Continue West’s Dominance

2020 SEC Championship Preview:Alabama Looks to Continue West’s Dominance

The College Football world experienced shock on Saturday night when Heisman hopeful Kyle Trask and Florida fell to LSU, 37-34. The devastation of losing at home as a 24-point favorite was compounded by thrown foot attire.

Whatever possessed Marco Wilson to heave Kole Taylor’s Clete 20 yards downfield, erasing a third-down stop, thus leading to the game-winning 57-yard FG, will haunt Florida fans forever. Wilson’s unsportsmanlike penalty prevented the Gators from gaining possession and setting up a potential game-winning drive. In one of the most bone-headed decisions ever to invade conscious thought, the Gators National Championship dreams went up in smoke.

In Defense of Marco Wilson

Florida’s inability to convert red zone opportunities, something they thrived at all season, cost them dearly against LSU.

In their first nine games, the Gators converted 96 percent (43-45, FG or TD) of their visits in the red zone. Against LSU, they equaled their season total with two failed possessions (6-8), including Trask’s only red-zone turnover of the season, a tip drill landing in the hands of a kneeling Jay Ward, balancing on the sideline.

Speaking of turnovers, we find the second reason the Tigers pulled the upset. Trask committed only four turnovers (3 INT, 1 Fumble) in his first nine games. His three turnovers against LSU, including his third pick-six of the season (Eli Ricks joined Eric Stokes and Jarvis Ware) led to 10 points for the Tigers.

While such an outcome eliminates some drama concerning College Football Playoff implications, Saturday’s matchup still presents excitement.

Marco Wilson’s brainfart, eliminated Florida from any realistic chance to qualify for the College Football Playoffs.

SEC Championship – #11Florida (8-2) vs #1Alabama (10-0), 8 PM EST

Matchup By the Numbers

SEC Championship Game
2020 Season Stats
PPG All.16.826.3
PPG Diff.32.625.4
Yards PG537.8513.5
Yards PG All.340.1384.9
Yards PG Diff.197.7128.6

Familiar Foes

Alabama and Florida have dominated this game. Both will be making their 13th appearance and meeting for the 10th time to decide the Conference champion. The Gators seem to be magnetic toward Alabama when winning the East. This marks the fifth straight championship game appearance Florida’s opponent is Alabama.

Most Meetings
SEC Championship History
Alabama-Florida10Alabama, 5-4
LSU-Georgia4LSU, 3-1
Alabama-Georgia2Alabama, 2-0
Arkansas-Florida2Florida, 2-0
Auburn-Tennessee2Tennessee, 2-0
LSU-Tennessee2LSU, 2-0

Alabama owns a current six-game win streak against Florida, with three of those victories coming in the SEC Championship Game. Florida’s last win against the Tide was in the 2008 SEC Championship.

Nick Saban is making his tenth appearance in the SEC Championship (his eighth with Alabama). He is 8-1 in his previous nine appearances (2-0 w/LSU, 6-1 w/Bama). This is the fifth time Saban will coach against the Gators in the SEC Championship Game. Overall, Saban is 8-4 against Florida, including 3-1 in the Championship Game. Dan Mullen is the third different coach in Florida’s SEC Championship Game history to oppose Saban. He is winless in nine games against Alabama.

Most Division Titles Won
Head Coaches, SEC
Nick Saban>>10
Steve Spurrier8
Philip Fulmer5
Mark Richt5
>>LSU (2), Alabama (8)

Saban is looking to win his ninth SEC Championship. He is the only coach to win titles at two different programs (LSU in 2001, 03)

Each program has represented their respective division well, ranking 1-2 in SEC Championships. Overall, Alabama is 8-4 in SEC Championship Games while Florida is 7-5. Among their previous nine meetings includes the inaugural SEC Championship in 1992 at Legion Field.

Most Division Titles, Best W-L
SEC Championship Game
Division TitlesW-L


2020 marks the third consecutive season and ninth time since 2008 to feature the number 1 ranked team. From 1992-2007 only the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers entered first in the nation (#1 ranked team is 7-2 overall, winning six straight).

#1 Ranked Team
SEC Championship Results
2019#1 LSU 37#4 Georgia 10
2018#1 Alabama 35#4 Georgia 28
2016#1 Alabama 54#15 Florida 16
2014#1 Alabama 42#14 Missouri 13
2011#1 LSU 42#12 Georgia 10
2010#1 Auburn 56#19 South Carolina 17
2009#2 Alabama 32#1 Florida 13
2008#2 Florida 31#1 Alabama 20
1998#1 Tennessee 24#23 Mississippi State 14
>>2020 Alabama ranked #1


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the SEC played a 10-game conference only schedule in 2020. The Gators and Tide played eight common opponents this season. Florida’s two losses against Texas A&M and LSU were by six total points, both decided on last-second FGs. Despite those two losses, they managed a 14.3 PPG differential in those eight games. Perhaps it’s not fair to compare anyone to Alabama, but the Tide went undefeated against those same eight opponents, with a winning margin of 25.7.

Stats vs 8 Common Opp.
2020 Season
PPG Diff.14.3>>25.7>>
>>Alabama beat LSU (38 pts) & Texas A&M (28 Pts)

For the first time since adding Texas A&M and Missouri in 2012, both teams played more than two opponents from the opposite division. The East against West matchups stayed one-sided concerning results this season, keeping with the trend since 2012 (Texas A&M at Tennessee and Missouri at Mississippi State also play Saturday, completing the 28-game schedule between divisions).

SEC, East vs West
Head to Head, Since 2012
Regular SeasonWinsLossesWin Pct.
Conference ChampionshipWinsLossesWin Pct.
>>West won 17 of 26 matchups in 2020

Common Opponents Affect Success

Alabama and Florida are polar opposites comparing team success against the other division. Despite the drastic difference (undefeated Alabama, 9-11 Florida), success is determined by the “common opponent” when understanding why a team’s won-loss record isn’t better.

Best W-L, East vs West
SEC, Since 2012
Regular SeasonPostseason
Texas A&M15-4
Mississippi St.11-80-0
Ole Miss11-9
South Carolina6-140-1

Each team schedules two games against the other division. Only one of those games rotates, as each team faces their common opponent every season to complete the two games. Alabama’s common opponent is Tennessee, while Florida’s is LSU. That helps explain – a little bit – why Florida hasn’t faired better against the West.

Kyle Trask set numerous team records with his fantastic 2020 season.

Breaking Down the Florida Gators

Kyle Trask set Florida Gators single-season records for TD Passes (40), Passing Yards PG (371.1), Completion Percentage (70.2), and Passing Efficiency (187.9). His 40 TD passes through 10 games ranks first in SEC history, two more than 2019 Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow, and fifth in FBS history.

Most Passing TD, First 10 Games
SEC History
Kyle Trask, Florida402020
Joe Burrow, LSU382019
Drew Lock, Missouri352017
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama332019

Florida’s potent passing attack ranked first in the nation, averaging 386.4 yards per game. Trask does an excellent job spreading the ball. His favorite receiver is another Kyle, Pitts, who’s 11 TD receptions ranks fourth in FBS and first among TE.

WR Jacob Copeland (22 touches, 443 Yards From Scrimmage) is the Gators big-play threat. Copeland’s 20.3 YPT ties him with Jaylen Waddle for the highest in the SEC. Kadarius Toney leads Florida in receptions (62) and receiving yards (831). Toney (9 TD) and Pitts are the only FBS teammates with 9 TD receptions. Florida is also the only FBS team with six players totaling 20 catches, 3 TD, and 225 receiving yards.

Most Passing YPG, Single-Season
Florida Gators History
Pass YPGYear
Kyle Trask371.12020
Rex Grossman354.12001
Danny Wuerffel301.81996
Danny Wuerffel296.91995
Shane Matthews284.51991

Kyle Pitts 11 receiving TD is the fourth-most in FBS in 2020.

The 2020 season ranks among the best in team history for the Gators offense. Their 41.6 PPG places 7th highest. Their 513.5 Total Yards PG sits third, behind 1995 (534.4) and 2001 (527.5), while their 386.4 Passing YPG trails only 2001 (405.2). Their offense wasted few red zone opportunities, scoring a TD on just under 70 percent of their 53 red zone attempts.

Highest Percentage of Red Zone TD
2020 Season
Wake Forest.71127-38
Georgia State.69723-33

Florida’s defense struggled early, but the return of Kyree Campbell saw the group improve in every category. Campbell missed the first three games before returning against Missouri. The Gators defense allowed ten fewer PPG, 158 YPG, and 31 Rush YPG in their final seven games.

The return of Kyree Campbell paid huge dividends for the Gators defense.

Florida Gators
2020 Defensive Stats
1st 3 GamesLast 7 Games>>
Yards PG495337
Rush YPG164133
Rush YPC4.13.7
TO PG11.5
Sacks PG2.63.3
Rush TD56
>>Kyree Campbell Returned

How Dominant is Alabama?

Explaining how the Crimson Tide have dominated the best conference in College Football since the arrival of Nick Saban defies logic. The numbers are incredible. Alabama is 99-15 in conference play under Saban, giving them 19 more wins than their closest opponent (Georgia, 80).

Conference Play, Since 2007
Nick Saban at Alabama
DivisionW-LPctDivision TitlesSEC ChampionshipsNational Championships
1. AlabamaWest99-150.868865
2. GeorgiaEast80-330.708510
3. LSUWest76-370.673332
4. FloridaEast76-380.667511
5. Texas A&M>>West41-310.569000
>>Joined Conference in 2012

Saban’s teams dominate the East division, winning 30 consecutive games and 40 of 43 overall by an average of 21 PPG since joining Alabama. The last time Alabama lost to an East opponent was October 9, 2010, which will equal 3,724 days on Saturday. Former Gators Head Coach Steve Spurrier led his South Carolina Gamecocks to a 35-21 victory over #1 Alabama.

Alabama vs SEC East
Under Nick Saban (Since 2007)
Current Win Streak30 games
PPG Diff.21.2
>>6-1 in SEC Championship Games, 1-0 in National Championship

Record-Setting Offense

Starting with Tua’s sophomore season in 2018, Alabama’s offense kicked into another gear. Alabama’s PPG, YPG, and ability to score from anywhere on the field at any time, has tortured defenses.

Their offense averaged over 46 PPG, 515 Yards PG scored an unthinkable 62 TD from scrimmage 30 yards or longer while posting a point differential of 27.3 – and this is against the best conference in FBS.

Alabama Offense
SEC Play, Since 2018
PPG Diff.27.3
Yards PG514.9
TD from scrimmage, 30+ Yds62

QB Mac Jones leads this explosive offense, setting school records for PPG (49.5), Yards PG (537.8), Yards Per Play (7.9), and Passing Yards PG (347.8). Jones figures to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, setting an SEC record for completion percentage (.764), while leading the nation in passer efficiency (203.9) – 2nd best in SEC history trailing only Tua last season (206.9).

Mac Jones
2020 Season
SEC RankFBS Rank
Pass YPG345.92nd3rd
Completion Pct..7641st1st
Yards Per Att.11.71st1st
Passer Efficiency203.61st1st

Mac Jones performance in 2020 could see become the first QB in team history to win the Heisman Trophy.

Jones often is overlooked compared to his predecessors Tua and Jalen Hurts, both current starters in the NFL, and winners of a National Championship (both played in 2). Through their first 14 games, Jones outperforms both, throwing for more yards, TD, and a higher completion percentage.

Alabama QB
First 14 Games of Career
Mac JonesTua TagovailoaJalen Hurts
Passing Yds4,4933,6712,662
Passing Yds PG320.1262.2190.1
Comp. Pct.75.169.563.1

Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith are also Heisman contenders. Harris shares the FBS lead for most TD with 22. DeVonta Smith leads the nation in receiving yards (1,327) while making 2-3 plays a game that leave you mesmerized.

Smith and Metchie III are explosive players that torment defences with their speed.

Defense Back on Track

After a down year in 2019 and a slow start in 2020, Alabama’s defense is back enforcing their will. Through four games, opponents averaged just under 29 PPG while running 150 YPG and totaling 460 YPG.

Over their last six games, Alabama allowed under 90 rushing yards PG, less than 265 total yards per game, and held opponents to only 4 TD and 8.3 PPG.

Alabama Defense
2020 Season
1st 4 GamesLast 6 Games
TD All.144
Total YPG458.3261.3
Rush YPG149.388.3
Rush YPC42.7


Mark Everett Kelly is a former two-time Emmy Award winning writer/researchere from ESPN. Mark retired in 2008 due to the onset of long-term side effects from cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant). This led to Mark’s current health problems (Crohn’s Disease. Lymphedema and Hemochromotosis). To help support Mark in his battle, click on these links (Paypal, and Patreon).

A Different Look at CFB Playoff Standings

A Different Look at CFB Playoff Standings

Another week passes by, and College Football fans draw closer to the end of a strange season. One hopes we never again face the issues that plagued the nation in 2020.

Here are my latest College Football Standings. Since the NCAA puts out their standings on Tuesday, I try to put mine out earlier. I use my own formula, which I think is more accurate in placing the teams.

SEC Postpones Ole Miss at #5 Texas A&M

COVID-19 cancelations continue to affect every conference. While the SEC announced their insistence on each team completing a 10-game schedule last week, positive tests surrounding the Ole Miss program forced the cancelation of their game against Texas A&M Saturday at College Station. The cancelation signficantly affects the Aggies argument based on games played (their nine regular season games played would be the fewest among the teams with one loss).

2020 CFB Playoff Standings
1. Alabama9-0248.4
2. Notre Dame10-0209.7
3. Clemson9-1206.2
4. Florida8-1161.9
5. Texas A&M7-1148.9
6. Ohio State5-0144.2
7. Cincinnati8-0128.9

Why isn’t Ohio State in the Top Four?

The main difference I have with the CFB Committee is with Ohio State. Due to canceled games and the Big Ten Conference decision to initially not play, then recant, left them vulnerable. The Buckeyes schedule has them playing at least four fewer regular-season games than the teams they are competing with for those spots.

One can’t change the criteria for each team due to canceled games. Teams in the ACC, SEC, Big 12, AAC, etc., faced the same issues and risks as the Big Ten. Winning six games without a loss means nothing to Florida, Texas A&M, and Clemson.

Ohio State and Justin Fields’ talent is unquestionable, but the Big Ten put them in an awkward position by starting their season so late.

Since one can’t assume wins for games not played, that eliminates Ohio State, in my opinion. Without rules that regulate each team, providing similar criteria to judge them, you can’t have a valid system.

If the committee wants to include Ohio State, they need to expand the playoff to eight, which would help their case. While talent isn’t the question, suggesting other Power Five conference teams step aside after playing full schedules, creates significant issues.

The NCAA thinks differently. On November 22nd, they announced “no minimum” is neccessary for programs to reach in order to be eligible for the College Football Playoffs. Regardless, my opinion is nothing more than that, and judging by their previous standings, creates a challenging scenario to explain.

2020 College Football Standings
Playoff Resumes
W-LSOSW-L vs Top-25PPG Diff.YPG Diff.
Notre Dame10-0232-020.6159.8
Texas A&M7-131-19.3100.3
Ohio State5-0132-023.4169.5
*Adjusted to eliminate totals vs subdivision opponent

More Issues for Ohio State?

Another issue plaguing Ohio State is the uncertainty of hosting Michigan this Saturday. The Wolverines battles with COVID forced the cancelation of last week’s game against Maryland. Jim Harbaugh’s team has been for limited workouts and light practice on Monday, but doubt still surrounds their visit to Columbus.

According to their rule book, the Big Ten states teams must play six regular-season games to qualify for the Conference Championship Game. 

So what happens if COVID forces the cancelation of this weekend’s game? The conference put the following plan in place (Special thanks to ESPN’s Heather Dinich for asking the same question). 

 “If the average number of Big Ten games falls below six, then teams must play no less than two fewer conference games than the average number of Big Ten games played by all teams to be considered for the league championship,”

“The champion will be determined in each division by its winning percentage unless there is an unbalanced schedule because of the cancellation of games.”

By giving special treatment to their Conference Championship Game representatives, the ACC encourages favoritism.

Since Rules Cease to Exist…

Perhaps the Big Ten should forego tradition and place the teams finishing with the two best records, regardless of division (the ACC adopted this format to accommodate Notre Dame).

What About the ACC Schedule Changes?

The ACC canceled December 12th games between Notre Dame at Wake Forest and Clemson at Florida State. The conference listened to the recommendation of its Athletic Director football subcommittee who stated this is “part of an effort to preserve the integrity of the conference’s football season.” Yeah, right.

We witness daily examples of corruption concerning “elite” bureaucracies in government and the mainstream media, so why shouldn’t the conferences and NCAA follow suit?

I disagree with any conference (or state for that matter) changing rules to benefit the “elite” teams. The ACC taking such measures weakens their argument against Ohio State and the Big Ten. Antics such as these, intended to create exceptions, are a slap in the face to the middle class/minority programs. While the Irish and Clemson receive an escort to the Conference Championship Game, ten “other” ACC programs will take the field.

I know I’m Biased, But..

Notice the one conference who could easily claim special treatment, hasn’t. The one representing 10 of the last 14 Champions (while playing in all but one of the College Football Championship Games) did not create circumstances concerning their Conference Championship teams to sit out Saturday. Just saying…

What are your thoughts?


Mark Everett Kelly is a former two-time Emmy Award winning writer/researchere from ESPN. Mark retired in 2008 due to the onset of long-term side effects from cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant). This led to Mark’s current health problems (Crohn’s Disease. Lymphedema and Hemochromotosis). To help support Mark in his battle, click on these links (Paypal, and Patreon).