My boss has a pretty famous saying: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” And when it comes to college football, that couldn’t be more true.
Most of us want parity; we really want to believe our team has a chance to win the whole thing. Unfortunately, outside of four fanbases right now, that is just a mirage. After week one of college football, it is pretty easy to see that there are two teams that stand out from the field.
They stand out physically and mentally.
They stand out because they have the best, most disciplined players in all three phases of the game.
Those two teams are the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia. Ohio State and Clemson are the next closest to the top, but Alabama and Georgia have reached a level where they have a distinct advantage. They have the speed, the talent, the knowledge and the will to do whatever it takes for the longest.
Alabama appears to have one of the best team’s Saban has ever put together; the offensive line will continue to improve, and the mixture of Young, Gibbs, Holden and the rest of the ‘Monstars’ seems to be more in sync than Justin Timberlake. Meanwhile, Kirby is building ’Bama-worthy strength in Athens.
Georgia’s absolute soul-crushing defeat of Oregon looked very familiar to what Saban’s teams have been doing to brand-name opponents in season openers since his crystal chariot stopped in T-town. Take one look at the Georgia players getting off the bus and you’ll think you’re watching a WWE promo. Stetson is playing loose because he is already a hero, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken has finally opened up the offense, going from the Stone Age to the Renaissance in a split second.
We always say on Crain & Co. that a team’s ability to not only win the big one but to also stay on top in college football is defined by three pillars: recruiting, development and culture. If you don’t have the top talent, you can’t make it; if you don’t develop that talent, you waste it; and if you don’t have a strong locker room culture, there is no way to maintain it.
Alabama has been doing those three things beautifully for a long while now. Kirby took the blueprint from Saban and 3D-printed it at Georgia. The Bulldogs are now a machine that swallows up the top-tier high school recruits and puts them in a system that maximizes their abilities. The highest goal of a coach is to get the most out of each player on the roster, from star quarterback to walk-on.
Dabo Swinney has followed that same model at Clemson, which is one of the main reasons why they can actually win when they go up against Goliath. The best way to take down Goliath isn’t with a slingshot—it is with size, speed and execution. Ryan Day and Ohio State are also right there when it comes to achieving the perfect mix and having a team capable of knocking down the door. They looked a little slow out of the gate, but there is plenty of time and Day has a way of fixing problems throughout the season.
The top two teams both have added motivations — ’Bama wants to avenge last year and smell the crisp college football mountaintop air, while Georgia wants to prove they weren’t a one-hit wonder. The season is young and a lot can happen, but it seems like we are heading for another ’Bama-UGA collision, unless one of the teams on the periphery with capable athletes can make a big jump quickly.
We are off to a great start to the college football season and I don’t want to put a governor on the excitement, but it seems like it may be Groundhog Day – again.
Jake Crain is co-host of “Crain & Company.” the Daily Wire’s sports show hosted by former athletes and coaches Jake Crain, Blain Crain, and David Cone.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.