Alabama Mississippi St Football

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) is carted off the field after getting injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) ORG XMIT: MSRS106

What happened to Tua Togavailoa was absolutely unnecessary and probably bordered on criminal.

That stated, let’s be clear, I’m not a Bama fan. I bleed LSU Tiger purple and gold, and as such, am required by Louisiana state law, (and quite possibly divorce courts), to despise the University of Alabama football program.

Everyone who doesn’t bleed the Crimson and Cream knows that Coach Nick Saban is perpetually the north end of a southbound Palomino, and he proved it again last weekend. More than “not playing to keep players from getting hurt,” he forgot that he was supposed to be the “adult in the room.” Face it, like the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Tua could be missing both his arms and legs, he’d still insist, “it’s only a scratch”. He’s a warrior, and that’s part of what makes him great. But Coach Saban should have been looking out for that kid. Hell, the Bama band could have covered the spread with their opponent,  but Saban still keeps his most valuable weapon on the field.

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But, don’t put the blame wholly on Saban’s shoulders. The lion’s share of what happened to Tua rests squarely at the feet of the NCAA and its “playoff” (in name only), selection committee. This popularity contest now demands that teams like Alabama not only beat the other elite teams in the nation; they also have to totally obliterate the lesser ones, just to be under consideration. Saban actually had little choice, being at No. 5, to score as many “style points” as possible to entice the committee to move his team back into the playoff picture.

This archaic “beauty pageant” just cost Tua Togavailoa tens of millions of dollars at the next level. (If I’m him, I lawyer up, and make the university, the coach, and the “committee” pay recompense.

As it exists now, we have the entire month of December loaded with 25-plus “bowl games” (in name only) that have no other purpose than to generate more revenue for the “also rans” out there that no one but those schools give a care about (but that’s a whole other letter). 

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And yes, I’ve heard all the arguments that fans won’t travel two or three additional weeks to support their team. I can’t speak for other fans, but speaking strictly of LSU Tiger fans, they’d crawl on their bellies to Mumbai if it meant that LSU was still in the hunt for a national championship. All the lower college classes have a playoff; why not the BCS? If you’re going to have a playoff, make it a real playoff.

Cal Zenor

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