This time, it was all about the coach. It was Saban's sixth career national title, tying him with legendary coach Bear Bryant. True freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa replaced starting quarterback Jalen Hurts at halftime for Alabama.
Tagovailoa told SB Nation Recruiting previous year that his decision to play for Alabama was exclusively based on the team's focus on God. "Without spending time every day with Jesus, listening and talking to Him, I can't be the man I want to be".
Tagovailoa had played only sparingly as a freshman, but Saban turned to him with the Tide down 13-0 at halftime and he threw two touchdown passes, along with an interception.
All six major bowls that are now in the College Football Playoff semifinals rotation could host playoff games every year. "No disrespect to Jalen, but ..." Give them credit, but I think everybody can see that Georgia's going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The Crimson Tide had a chance to win the game in regulation, but senior Andy Pappanastos sailed a 36-year field goal wide left of the uprights. In overtime, Blankenship nailed a 51-yarder to give the Bulldogs a 23-20 lead. But coming across the field near the ball was Alabama superstar receiver Calvin Ridley. Georgia sniffed out a screen pass, Tagovailoa couldn't pick up his next option and Georgia dumped the youngster for a 16-yard loss.
In this format, a UCF team that went 13-0 this season wouldn't have to stage a faux national championship celebration like it did this year when Florida governor Rick Scott declared the Knights the true national champions.
On the next possession, Tagovailoa looked like Fromm would have no trouble earning that distinction. It answered one of the questions probably many viewers had on Monday: How could a Hawaiian revered for his passing prowess end up in Tuscaloosa, Ala.? But those wounds are too raw for the moment, and picking at them would send me back into the pit of despair that I climbed out of after a sleepless night spend asking "How?" and "Why?" In 1973, the Tide finished No. 1 in the coaches' poll, which was finalized before the bowls. "I mean, he won championships running the wishbone". That was certainly the case in Monday night's thrilling national championship, which saw Alabama defeat Georgia 26-23 in overtime.
Breakdown: "Nick Saban's team will lose a handful of key contributors from its 2017 team, but this program is still one of the favorites to win it all and tops Athlon's early college football rankings for 2018".
"I could not believe it", he said. "It has to be a team ball".
At 66 years old, Saban shows no signs of slowing down, ready to take on what figures to be challenges from numerous same suspects in 2018 - Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State. He'll celebrate this title like he did all the other ones, for about 24 hours before he gets back to work in pursuit of No. 7.
Georgia quickly countered, though, as Fromm teamed with Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard TD on the fourth play after taking over at the 7-yard line following the kickoff.
Georgia (13-2) is No. 2 in the final AP Top 25, and Fromm continued to receive praise from coach Kirby Smart even after a mixed showing in the championship game loss. "I think they respect each other because of that, and I think their teammates respect them for that". "But there's more to it than that".
But those opportunities came mostly in garbage time of blowout wins, even though Tagovailoa carried a reputation as the next great Hawaiian.
As Smith hauled in the title-clinching pass, Saban ripped off his headset, threw his arms in the air and let out a bit of a scream.
It only lasted a moment. "[It's] hard for me to imagine what it would be like not being a part of a team", Saban said Monday.