The College Football Playoff selection committee got what they deserved in the Rose Bowl.
Even after Notre Dame was thoroughly beaten by Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, the CFP decision-makers put the Irish in the semi-final against Alabama and it produced a predictable result.
The Crimson Tide rolled over Notre Dame 31-14, but it was nowhere near as competitive as the final score would suggest. Quarterback Mac Jones threw touchdown passes on his offence’s first three drives as Bama lead comfortably 21-7 at halftime.
On Alabama’s second drive in the third quarter, Jones hit Canadian receiver John Metchie III on a slant route for a catch-and-run 40-yard gain to setup DeVonta Smith’s third touchdown of the one-sided tilt. Nick Saban’s group moves on to the CFP National Championship game in Miami on Monday, January 11.
“They’ve earned the right to play in the national championship game,” Saban said in a videoconference.
Smith continued adding to his Heisman Trophy resume. The standout senior caught seven passes for 130 yards and three scores, which tied a Rose Bowl record. It was Smith’s eighth game with 100 or more receiving yards this season, the most in program history.
Metchie III paved the way for Smith to get started with a key lead block on his first touchdown. The Brampton native grabbed three balls for 53 yards in the victory. It boosts his totals to 47 receptions for 835 yards and six touchdowns through 12 games for undefeated Alabama.
Jones finished 25-of-30 for 297 yards and four touchdowns without turning the football over. His backfield teammate, running back Najee Harris rushed 15 times for 125 yards and caught four passes for 30 yards. Harris didn’t score but he already had 24 rushing touchdowns and three on receptions for 27 on the season.
That makes the Crimson Tide the first team in NCAA FBS history to have a player with 20 touchdowns on the ground and 20 receiving touchdowns after Smith visited the end zone in the third quarter. Smith was named Rose Bowl MVP following yet another impressive effort.
“We love it when our players get recognized, and Smitty has done as much for our team as any player could do for any team. We’re so happy that he was recognized as College Football Player of the Year,” Saban said.
“I don’t get the opportunity to see all players play and really know exactly what they’ve done for their team. I’d love to see another one of our players win the Heisman Trophy, and Smitty has done as much for our team as any other player who did win the Heisman Trophy.”
Smith was smelling the roses and it’s the type of signature performance that should lead to him striking a pose and claiming the Heisman Trophy.