On a business trip to India my hosts treated me to an exhibition of Mongoose versus Cobra. The deadly cobra was fearsome, quick, as dangerous an animal as inhabits our planet. The mongoose knew its enemy, however, and played the game strategically. Crafty and careful, the mongoose lured the cobra into an ill-timed strike, dodged it and then snared the cobra by its neck, behind its head and away from its fangs. As the cobra writhed, the mongoose preened for the adoring crowd.
Basically, that’s what happened in Miami on Saturday night in the second College Football Playoff semi-final game. Kyler Murray played the role of cobra, quick-twitch muscles, speed and daring on scary display, and Nick Saban played the role of mongoose. After being gashed for an insurmountable twenty-eight point deficit, the cobra was allowed to believe it was fighting back when in reality, the five minute drives Kyler was allowed were self-destructive, clock-killing, desperation struggles for respect in a fight it could never win. Although the chippy Sooners tried to rattle the Tide players with rough, illegal play, break the concentration of the most disciplined team on earth, the Sooner drives were always answered with clock-killing seven-minute drives that tightened the noose on the walking dead Sooners.
Obviously, Tua could have thrown long TD bombs on many more Bama drives but the mongoose knew that the clock, and not Oklahoma, was the enemy. Bama bashed its way slowly down the field, crushing Oklahoma’s inept defense, allowing the clock to melt like ice on Miami Beach, rather than allow the cobra more chances to strike.
Tua went 24 for 27 passing with four touchdowns, showing Kyler how a quarterback plays the game. Kyler ran for over 100 yards, showing Tua how a track star plays the game. The Heisman Committee might just want a do-over. Kyler’s numbers were produced by playing four quarters against nonexistent defenses; Tua produced his numbers in three quarters of play against strong competition. I’m just saying …
I saw a tweet from someone in the Georgia camp wondering if the playoff committee wanted a do-over. They do, but not to replace Oklahoma with Georgia. Rather the do-over would replace Notre Dame with Georgia as we told you before the committee made its erroneous selections. The cobra belonged in the tussle with the mongoose, but the Leprechaun had no business on the field with the Tiger.
So, after much ado about nothing, we get what we always knew we would get: the two best teams in America playing for the National Championship. Essentially we’ll have one SEC team filled with SEC territory recruits against a team lodged in SEC territory and with a roster full of SEC territory recruits. I’m just saying …
It’s a tossup. Big breaks and big plays will determine the outcome.
Our next list of ranked teams and playing performance grades will be published on www.nemosnumbers.com after the bowl games on New Year’s Day. If you want to know how the numerical grades are calculated, find a copy of Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics wherever you buy books.