Alabama’s road to the SEC Championship this season looked like an easy one for most of the way. Through 12 games, they had barely been tested, swatting aside anyone and everyone that got in their way. But Saturday’s Championship game against Georgia was a totally different thing entirely. From the beginning, the Bulldogs applied pressure to the Tide, and it paid off, with them jumping out to a 28-14 lead in the third quarter at one point. Heisman candidate Tua Tagovailoa had been put under the gun all night long in Atlanta, and it eventually chased him from the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. Up stepped Jalen Hurts, who would lead the Tide back to SEC glory after missing out last season. The two-time national champion delivered with two TD’s- one in the air and one on the ground- to give them a 35-28 win over the Bulldogs and most likely keep their #1 spot in the CFP rankings.
Elsewhere, another juggernaut was keeping its own unbeaten streak alive. The UCF Knights, who had lost quarterback McKenzie Milton last weekend, faced Memphis in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday. And in similar, but worse circumstances, than ‘Bama, they found themselves in a hole early on. The Tigers ran out to a 38-21 lead at half time, and they looked set to end the 24 game winning run the Knights had amassed. But it wasn’t meant to be as backup QB Darriel Mack ran for three TD’s in the second half to help his UCF team come back and win comfortably by a score of 56-41 in the end in a game that was a tale of two halves if you’ve ever seen one.
Unfortunately for the Knights, though, none of the big games had results that are likely to even give them a chance of being selected in the top four for the second season in a row. Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Clemson all won. The Sooners saw off rivals Texas in a Red River rematch to get a step closer to make the Playoff, Clemson defeated a pedestrian Pitt team, and Ohio State defeated Northwestern to keep each with at least a chance of getting in. Clemson are a stone-cold lock to do so, while it’s going to be a coin toss between the Buckeyes and Sooners for the fourth and final spot, barring the committee squeezing a two-loss Georgia in there, which doesn’t seem likely.