Maintain your nostril and watch Alabama & Georgia battle for an additional SEC-centric nationwide title

Keep in mind the quaint outdated days of faculty soccer, when the one troubles have been gamers leaving early for the Nationwide Soccer League Draft and/or opting out of bowl video games?

You bear in mind. Final season.

Now, after all, the switch portal is Grand Central Station, with even the very best gamers on campus coming and going, and Title/Picture/Likeness is the brand new financial engine.

Such chaos turns followers melancholy for the times when the portal was a online game and NIL was a technique for enjoying Spades.

Just one balm exists for the misery that afflicts faculty soccer. The video games themselves.

The video games nonetheless seize us. The video games nonetheless thrill us. The video games remind us why we put up with exorbitant ticket costs and mendacity coaches and four-minute timeouts.

The video games are why all of us do that.

And so a season that started way back, with Illinois’ upset of Nebraska, ends Monday evening with an epic championship recreation of Alabama-Georgia.

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Georgia head coach Kirby Sensible speaks with Alabama head coach Nick Saban earlier than the primary half of the SEC championship recreation in December. Georgia performs Alabama within the Faculty Soccer Playoff nationwide championship recreation on Monday. (AP Photograph/Brynn Anderson, File)

Ugh. That is the tonic? That is going to make us really feel higher? Can we return to NIL? How can we put this matchup within the switch portal?

Alabama-Georgia is the very last thing we want. Yet one more reminder that this sport has fallen and may’t rise up.

No new blood. No Cinderella. No nationwide championship. That is the title of Southern Delight.

Don’t blame Alabama. Don’t blame Georgia. Don’t blame the Southeastern Convention. The SEC noticed alternative, seized upon geography and hype, and has monopolized faculty soccer, largely on the again of Alabama.

Now it’s an SEC world and we’re all simply residing in it. About to dwell in it extra, with OU’s if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em determination to go away the Large 12.

By Monday evening, the SEC may have gained 12 of the final 16 nationwide championships, six or seven of them by the Crimson Tide. And identical to in 2011 and 2017, the sufferer will likely be a fellow SEC faculty.

“I believe faculty soccer is best served by having a broader participation in nationwide championship video games, however the truth is, you have to go beat these individuals,” Large 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby instructed ESPN a number of days in the past, fairly precisely. “And which means you have to go do it on the soccer area.”

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That’s the issue. Doing it on the soccer area appears much less and fewer probably. OU has dropped again, no less than quickly. Clemson twice beat Bama in title video games, however now Dabo Swinney’s dynasty is weak. Solely Ohio State appears able to standing as much as the SEC within the close to future. The 2 semifinals — Bama-Cincinnati, Georgia-Michigan — have been one-sided.

So we’re left with Common Motors vs. Ford, circa 1974. East Germany vs. the Soviet Union within the 1980 Olympics. That is tv within the pre-cable days, while you had 4 channels to observe and 4 channels solely. Two pizza locations on the town.

Ford and East Germany ended up underdogs. So it’s with Georgia, a powerhouse if ever there was one, however with out a lot success in opposition to Alabama.

Georgia coach Kirby Sensible, who was Nick Saban’s Alabama defensive coordinator earlier than returning to his alma mater, was requested about ‘Bama being the boogeyman to Georgia.

Sensible, bless his coronary heart, didn’t chew.

“What’s the boogeyman?” Sensible requested. “I do not know precisely what that’s, so it is arduous for me to reply that query, apart from they’ve additionally been an issue and a thorn for any workforce they’ve performed apart from ours.

“We’ve that in frequent with a number of groups they’ve performed. They’ve a extremely good soccer workforce, actually good coach, actually good program. It begins with actually good soccer gamers.”

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These of us exterior the SEC tribe may have cut up loyalties on this recreation. We do not know if Alabama or the entire danged SEC is the boogeyman.

It could be pure to cheer for Georgia, because the Bulldogs have maybe the least-obnoxious fan base among the many SEC heavyweights and, merely, Alabama has gained sufficient.

However a Bama victory would strengthen the speculation that the SEC’s standing is Alabama-driven. Such a thought doesn’t maintain as much as scrutiny, however hey, seize onto any morsel you may to get your self by way of this recreation.

We’ve received to observe. It’s all we’ve received to get us by way of the insanity of the portal and NIL and the game altering at wildfire pace, apart from who wins. So maintain your nostril and watch Alabama-Georgia.

Berry Tramel: Berry may be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected] He may be heard Monday by way of Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports activities Animal radio community, together with FM-98.1. Assist his work and that of different Oklahoman journalists by buying a digital subscription at present.

This text initially appeared on Oklahoman: Alabama-Georgia championship recreation not what faculty soccer wanted

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