Last night's College Football National Championship offered everything a fan could want: excitement, heroic plays, unpredictability, big-time players stepping up in the biggest of games, game-changing special teams moments, role-players taking advantage of the spotlight and a statement from Clemson's sophomore QB that next year's Heisman is already his, regardless of the country's infatuation with LSU's Leonard Fournette and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey.
Alabama's 45-40 victory was a game for the ages as the Crimson Tide won their fourth national title in the last seven years. Clemson's 17-game winning streak was halted, despite Deshaun Watson's spectacular performance, where he singlehandedly shredded one of the modern game's best defenses from start to finish.
With that being said, we hand out the following awards:
THE KEVIN DURANT'S MOM AWARD - Alabama's 6-foot-6, 242-pound junior tight end O.J. Howard was the unexpected hero of the game with his five catches for 208 yards, two touchdowns of 50-plus yards and a rotund 41.6 yards per reception.
To put his night in perspective, the dude had a total of 210 receiving yards in nine SEC games prior to last night. He basically had a microwave come-up, like when Ace serendipitously hooked up with Lulu in Paid in Full.
Howard's performance was phenomenal, but the real MVP was Clemson's otherworldly sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson, who completed 30 of his 47 pass attempts for 405 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 73 yards.
Watson became the first player ever to amass 4,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. The Crimson Tide defense looked impenetrable heading into this game, but Watson made them look weaker than that garbage that VH-1 aired last week called The Breaks.
(As a person that was fully in the mix of the 1990's New York City Hip Hop scene, running through every fly venue from The Tunnel, Nell's, The Red Parrot, The Palladium, SOB's, Grant's Tomb, The Big City Diner and everything in between, that cinematic failure was much worse than simply being contrived, wack and patronizing. Whoever was responsible for that nonsense, making the talented Wood Harris and Tristan Wilds' look like B-actors in the process, should be charged with assault and a crime against the culture!!! But I digress)
THE BILL RAFTERY ONIONS AWARD - With 10:34 left in the fourth quarter and the game tied 24-24, Nick Saban had the biggest onions in the building, calling for an onside kick.
Alabama executed it perfectly, recovered and Jake Coker hit O.J. Howard for a 51-yard touchdown and a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Saban normally plays things by the book, but he rolled the dice right here and he broke the bank.
THE PLAYA FROM THE HIMALAYA AWARD - Alabama's Kenyan Drake had the play of the game. After the Tigers cut the Crimson Tide's lead to four with a field goal, Drake busted through the door like Uncle Jerome and smashed the game open with a superfluous 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, giving his squad a 38-27 lead.
THE JAMES BROWN, IT'S A MAN'S WORLD AWARD - Clemson did a fantastic job of holding Derrick Henry in check last night. Right? Wrong! It seemed like the Tigers' defense contained the bruising Heisman Trophy winner, but the stat sheet told a different story. Henry capped off his incredible season with 36 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
With the momentum shifting seemingly on every drive, and with an abundance of unforgettable individual performances, along with coming down to the last few minutes, this year's national championship joined the short list of the greatest college title games ever played. The others are:
THE 1984 ORANGE BOWL: MIAMI 31, NEBRASKA 30- This was the game where the aura of "The U" was formed. Nebraska was down 17-0 and fought back, cutting the lead to 31-30 with 48 seconds left . There was no overtime in college football at the time, so Huskers coach Tom Osborne eschewed the tie and elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Gotta respect his gangster, even in the loss.
THE 2003 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: OHIO STATE 31, MIAMI 24 - This version of the Hurricanes, considered by many to be the best squad in the history of college football, had their 34-game winning streak snapped when freshman Maurice Clarett scored the game winning touchdown.
THE 2006 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: TEXAS 41, USC 38 - The Trojans were the back-to-back defending champions who walked into the game with a 34-game winning streak. But Vince Young hand-delivered Texas' first undisputed national championship in 36 years with 267 passing yards, 200 rushing yards and three TD's, which included the game winner, an eight-yard dash to the corner of the end zone on fourth down with 19 seconds to play.