So, who you got tonight?

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Once upon a time, I was obsessed with sports. Go far back enough and you will find a 10 year old Jesse aspiring to be professional football player. I wanted to play at Southern California along the way for no other reason except these: I was born in Hollywood, California and when I was 10, my sister’s high school mascot were the Trojans of Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School in South Florida.  That’s it. Some magical formula, huh?

Fast forward 30 plus years and I am still a huge football fan. Anyone paying attention knows I am a Miami Hurricanes fan to the less-bitter-recently end. Miami Dolphins too. Don’t get me started, I’m trying to cut down. Empty calories and all.

Tonight, college football will crown a National Champion. I think it would be fair to say this much, the winner of the title game is and should be named the best team in America 2017. With all due respect to my alma mater, University of Central Florida and the tomfoolery they’ve engaged in since beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl. A national championship parade at Walt Disney World? Because you finished a season undefeated? Stop it. Just stop it.

I thought the CFB committee got it right by including Alabama in the final four. I have a signficant beef with a team who doesn’t play for a conference championship being eligible to play for a natty, but the rules don’t exclude them. I do believe that despite their blemish on the road at Auburn, Alabama was at the time one of the 4 best in America. Their victory over defending national champion Clemson confirmed that.

What I didn’t expect was Clemson to play possibly their worst game of the year. What I didn’t expect was Alabama to play possibly their best game of the year in that Sugar Bowl. That happened in my book and the Tide rolled.

In the Rose Bowl? It went pretty much as I expected. I told my wife early December that Georgia would have just enough defense to squeeze by Baker Mayfield’s high powered offense. I had UGA winning 45-42. No one expected that fireworks show we got in Pasadena. How amazing was that game? Which brings us to the title game in Atlanta.

Admittedly, I have not had a seat at a table with spreadsheets and stats and all of that garbage. I don’t do that. I hate fantasy football. I watch a lot of games. I read up a little on who’s hurt, who’s doing well and who has the experience. Pretty simple formula.

It’s hard to go against Georgia because there is so much talent on that team. Offensively, they may be as good as they’ve been in 20 years. A lot of Mark Richt’s players making that so. True freshman quarterback making all of the difference in the world.  Good for him.

However, I am having a hard time overlooking Alabama’s experience in this moment. On this stage. Playing for championships under Nick Saban is as commonplace as running to Walmart for something you forgot. 2nd nature in Tuscaloosa. Heck, you might called 3rd for 4th nature too. They’ve been tested again and again and again.

For that reason, I see Alabama doing what Alabama does. Playing a tight game into the 4th then making a play that changes everything, made a little easier against UGA’s true freshman quarterback who’s best years remain ahead of him.

I’m taking Alabama 24-21. However, as a resident of the State of Georgia, a Bulldogs win would be amazing, if for no other reason we can stop talking about Herschel for a while. Sony Michel autographed footballs for everyone!

And for the record, mine is a food blog. So…we made a chicken fajita soup on Sunday night. Soup always better the next day.  Pairing it with some fresh baked focaccia from our friends at Atlantic in Savannah.

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jesse@eatitandlikeit.com'

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.

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jesse@eatitandlikeit.com'

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.

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