Most likely to break up the Alabama-Georgia axis: Texas
Signing Day Part Deux has come and gone, and as usual, the sequel delivered none of the drama of the original. Perhaps the people who run college football, the Power 5 commissioners, will come to their senses and deep-six the December signing period, not for our amusement on the first Wednesday in February but for the sanity of coaches from coast to coast.
Their Monopoly money salaries shouldn't require 24/7 dedication to roster management while also trying to, you know, coach their teams in the postseason.
But that's a rant for another day.
Wednesday marked both the unofficial end to the 2022 college football season and the beginning of the 2023 edition of championship or bust in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama won the recruiting national championship for the third time in five years after missing the playoff for the second time in four years. Georgia won the actual national championship for the second straight year, then finished right behind Alabama in recruiting.
This trend has created a discomforting disconnect for the Crimson Nation, which watched for years as Nick Saban mentored the one protege who finally has become his equal. Not historically, but currently, as David Pollack can tell you. Today, in a different position, Kirby Smart stands where he and Saban did in the winter of 2013, with a three-peat very much in sight.
Of course Alabama should have Georgia on its mind as it proceeds through winter workouts and into spring practice, but there is another competitor looming. There is one program that just may have the right combination of history, money, location and desire necessary to break the monotonous Georgia-Alabama axis that has taken seven of the last 12 spots in the national championship game and four of the last six big rings.
It's the program that finished third in this year's recruiting rankings behind Alabama and Georgia, its class powered by the No. 1 recruit in the 247 Composite. It's the program that had the arrogance to declare itself back after a consolation Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia to cap the 2018 season, then promptly went 8-5 and 7-3 and fired its all-hat, no-cattle coach.
It's the program that tried to correct that mistake by turning to the Saban family tree and snatching perhaps his best offensive coordinator in much the same way that Georgia had hired his top defensive boss. Time will tell if Steve Sarkisian as the Texas head coach has the chops to rival Smart or Saban. He made a pretty good first impression in his initial encounter with his old boss.
Always remember and never forget. Sarkisian and Texas started it. ...
Read the rest of Kevin's case for Texas as the most likely challenger to Georgia and Alabama. Only in The Lede.