Well, we’ve finally closed out the regular season and what a way it went. From rivalries to playoff berths being locked up, and playoff hopes being dashed. It’s been an excellent end to an excellent season, and here’s what we learned.
1) Waves of the Rising Tide
Okay, so it took them a little longer than they would have liked to sort out this triple option attack, but once they did sort it out, Alabama wreaked havoc upon their opponents. From getting into a shootout with LSU to running through Florida State and Auburn. If Alabama can retain their offense, then the Crimson Tide will cause a lot of trouble in the SEC next season with that triple option scheme, they just need to shore up the defense.
2) The Clincher
Week eight, and the playoffs hadn’t been finalized. Sure, the conference Champions had been decided, but not the seeding behind them. It couldn’t have been designated any better than for all of it to be resolved this week. The SEC saw the playoff seeding for the two seed in the SEC be resolved between Miami and LSU, with the Hurricanes holding on for the win. And then the rivalry between Florida and Florida State remains in the favor of the Seminoles as they conquered the Gators and return to the playoffs. Wednesday night saw Notre Dame dash the playoff hopes of USC, leaving the door open for either Ohio State or Nebraska to lay claim, which we’ll get to here shortly.
Listen, for the teams who didn’t get in, it’s tough. Teams who planned and fought all season for the chance to make it to the dance. Pre-season favorites like Oregon, and teams like Florida who had such a strong start, it hurts. It hurts more for teams like LSU, who started slow, but fought and battled to put themselves in position to get in, only to fall short. It’s tough for the teams who don’t make it, and yet at the same time, they know the opportunity that lay before them, the opportunity for next season. New recruits, a chance to reload or rebuild, and prepare for another playoff run with the expectation of different results. For each of the teams who didn’t get in, they showed flashes of brilliance and potential, with the opportunity to expand upon the competition.
4) So You’ve Been Snubbed….
Every season the candidates for various awards are announced, and every season there are players who feel slighted, snubbed, or overlooked. They shouldn’t. Just because you are not nominated, does not make you a bad player, it just means, maybe you didn’t put up the same kind of numbers this season, maybe didn’t have the same consistency of impact as those who are nominated. It is not a slight, not a shot, and nothing to be taken personally, but rather something to be taken as fuel to do better next season, to try to be put in position to have that consistent impact, to do more for your team to end up on the list. The players who make the list are impossible to overlook, so next season, be one of those players who are impossible to overlook.
5) CFSL 500
Save the best for last. This season, the last game of the regular season may very well have been one of the biggest games of the season. One of the greatest rivalries to grace the league took center stage on a night that celebrated an incredible milestone, with Ohio State fighting for their playoff lives against their heated rivals in the Michigan Wolverines. A rivalry that began in season two, with a trip to the Orange Bowl on the line, saw it come to a new milestone as the Buckeyes now lead the series 4-3, with the 27-20 win that they held on to, which also gives them the three seed in the Big Ten. Oh, and Ohio State defensive end Colten Allen set the single season record for tackles for a loss with 27 and could very well hit 30. On a night where the 500th game of the CFSL took center stage and was set as a piece for the league to share the history, to relive some of the biggest and brightest moments in the stars, it all reflects what makes this league stand above all others. The passion, the rivalries, the longevity, and the constant growth as the league trends upwards. From legacies by players and teams, to the legacies of the people behind them. It all has sparked something that is more than a league, but a compassionate community that stands together. Here’s to 500 more.