Imagine your rich uncle bought us a ticket to Paris and dinner for two. We could choose to eat at a five star restaurant with a meal prepared by the world’s most acclaimed chef or we can attend a cook off at the Parisian cooking school. What would you choose?
This is not a perfect analogy when comparing college football to professional. With college football being played on Saturdays and the NFL on Sundays one does not have to choose between the two. But the excitement around Monday’s college football championship between Alabama and Notre Dame has me scratching my head.
We are not watching the best players in the world square off against each other. We are watching the best teams composed of athletes who are not allowed to be paid for their services.
I understand why gamblers are into the game, they will watch any contest where their money is at risk. I get why people in Alabama and South Bend, Indiana would be into the game, but why this game gets national coverage is beyond me. It would be like paying attention to the student film Academy Awards or going to the strip club on amateur night. (I will not get into the hypocrisy of universities and coaches profiting wildly while the players risking injury can’t make a cent.)
Why waste my time watching the minor league when this weekend I can watch the actual best football players on the planet in the NFL playoffs? (Although with that rationale I should have quit on the Miami Dolphins when Ricky Williams first did.)
With that being said and without having watched a college football game all year I still predict Alabama will clobber Notre Dame to win the championship and I will have a better chance of being correct then my predictions for the NFL playoffs.
The last three years the hottest team from the NFC heading into the playoffs won the Super Bowl. This year’s candidates that meet that qualification are the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Green Bay Packers. Seattle is cursed of being a great home team that will have to play on the road in the playoffs (where they lost to my lowly Miami Dolphins). Green Bay has the opposite problem. They have home games scheduled for frigid Wisconsin, but unfortunately their air it out style of play is better suited for warm weather environs. Washington has the speediest quarterback in the history of the game in Robert Griffin III, but not only has no rookie quarterback ever made a Super Bowl, but RG3’s style of play is going to get him hurt at some point through three rounds of games.
This leaves us with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC. This seems like a conservative pick as they are the number one seed in the NFC, but they have made the postseason four times in the last five years and have yet to win a game. Their consistent quarterback Matt Ryan and his downfield threats of Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez are due the two home wins that would take them to a Super Bowl where they will be slaughtered.
I see this year’s champion coming from the AFC. The Houston Texans have the top seed which will give them homefield advantage. They have a great running back in Arian Foster (who is vegan to boot!) a top receiver in Andre Johnson along with a terrifying defense. The Texans quarterback though is Matt Schaub who has no chance against one of the big dogs he will be competing against in the AFC championship.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The two best quarterbacks of the century will be facing each other once again. Brady’s New England Patriots have the top football mind in the country in coach Bill Belichick, but again an injury to their bruiser of a tight end Rob Gronkowski will be their downfall. In last year’s Super Bowl Gronkowski played hurt and Brady didn’t have enough weapons to target. Gronkowski is currently nursing a broken arm and should be eligible to play in the Patriots/Broncos rematch, but again he won’t be at full strength which will be to the Patriot’s detriment.
In September I predicted the Denver Broncos would win the Super Bowl (don’t read that preview too carefully as that’s one of my only predictions that look smart four months later). When last year’s Denver Broncos were quarterbacked by Tim Tebow (who now can’t even get a starting job in the NFL) they won 8 games and a playoff round. With their dominating defense and great running game it seemed like adding a true quarterback to the formula would make them a formidable team and they added the truest quarterback of them all in Peyton Manning. The Broncos started off slow (2-3) including a road loss to the Patriots, but since then they’ve won eleven games in a row and their rematch with the Patriots will be in Denver. Where the elevation and the extra game New England will have had to play will slow them down just enough for the Broncos to get to the Super Bowl and thrash the Falcons.