We’ve heard all year that the College Football season was unprecedented, strange, lifeless, and
whatever other descriptors were used on literally every broadcast of Saturday football across the myriad
of networks covering the games. Challenges were around every corner for these programs, with many
programs missing weeks of play between games. Ohio State only completed six conference games, the
Big 10 and PAC-12 started late, and the Big 12, ACC, and SEC predictably pushed ahead and finished the
season despite all of the issues. You will never stop the South from playing football, even in a pandemic!
However, not much about this season was truly unprecedented. Despite the eerie appearance of empty
stadiums, bleachers missing marching band performances, lacking pageantry and tailgating, the College
Football season went just about the same as any other year.
Alabama finished the season looking dominant, unbeatable, and furthering the legacy of head coach
Nick Saban. Saban has now won 7 National Championships and, as if he had not already, cemented
himself as the greatest college football coach of all time. This is the same story we’ve seen 6 times since
2008 when Nick Saban took the job at Alabama. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic largely altering many
less fortunate programs’ season, Alabama continued to dominate and appear in the title game.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The College Football playoff as a whole is entirely predictable as well. Ohio State looked to be doomed,
but the powers that be found a way to sneak them into the playoffs despite Oklahoma and Coastal
Carolina arguably having a right to that spot due to completing more games and having a stronger
sample size to prove their worth. Clemson lost a game without Trevor Lawerence and still got
themselves into the playoff. Notre Dame used their name brand and an ACC schedule to get them into
the playoff despite losing in the ACC Championship game to Clemson. Naturally, Alabama didn’t have
any hiccups and proved their worth week after week in the SEC. It’s fitting and predictable that the
Crimson Tide dominated their opponent last night.
For me, a lowly Baylor football fan that experienced nothing but grief this season, the College Football
season was largely unwatchable. I’m not sure what it was about the season, but I didn’t find myself
enjoying college football Saturdays as I did in years prior. Perhaps it was the inability to head down to
In Waco, Texas, McLane Stadium to watch football at the tailgate area before walking in early to
see the Baylor Golden Wave Band perform their pregame show. Maybe it was watching soulless
stadiums attempt to show a semblance of normality with football players doing their best to find
the motivation to perform at a high level despite the absence of fans cheering them on.
Maybe the season was missing the interconference play that can provide upsets that make the season feel unpredictable despite the inevitable typically coming to fruition by season end.
Something about the season just felt… empty. While some moments and games were
extraordinary to watch; like Notre Dame vs. Clemson 1, the season didn’t feel like it was much fun.
Now, I’m aware that I might be a disgruntled fan because my team won a whopping 2 games this
season. I’m fully aware that my words may have little weight here because my team didn’t have a
snowball’s chance in hell at making the National Title game, but College Football even seems to pale compared to College Basketball right now.
However, my negativity doesn’t take away from the testament to the college athletes, programs,
athletic directors, and in-game personnel that made this season not only happen but happen
successfully. Regardless of how you feel about the season’s entertainment value, none of us can call the
season anything but a success. In fact, I’d argue that the predictable Alabama championship happening
is proof that the season was a success. It’s not like we ended up with the University of Phoenix Online as the
champs here; we have a legitimate champion with a place in the history books and with
performances that will be discussed in years to come.
The season was unprecedented, but there is one thing that made 2021 feel like it’s already on the path
to normality again. Alabama rolling over their championship opponent felt like a pre-pandemic world
again, and their unprecedented dominance in the playoff game felt like a bit of the normal this sports fan
Congrats to Alabama and Roll Tide.