Missed opportunity after missed opportunity led to the Carolina Panthers bow out of the playoffs as they fell to New Orleans by a 31-26 count.

Carolina outplayed the Saints throughout the entire contest, but four field goals on the Panthers first four scoring drives is inexcusable for a playoff team. Carolina also had a chance to win late but again did not capitalize on the opportunities they had.

One thing that is clearly obvious is that the offense needs a revamp and an identity. Field goals do not win games and the Panthers do not have skill players to finish off drives with touchdowns. This just should not be the case when you have a playmaker at quarterback in Cam Newton. Carolina needs to put some new talent around Newton.

alabama-freshman-quarterback-tuaRoll Tide

It is rare when we are surprised when Alabama wins a national championship game. This is because the Crimson Tide rarely, if ever, have to come from behind to win the title game.

But Alabama came back Monday night to pull out a classic 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.

And the hero for the Tide was a true freshman quarterback from Hawaii. Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench in the second half and willed Alabama to the title.

Tagovailoa (say that fast three times)  came in for a faltering Jalen Hurts and threw three TD passes including the game-winner into the hands of another freshman, DeVonta Smith in overtime on a second down and 26 play.

The word “dynasty” is rarely used in college (or professional) sports anymore. But I do not hesitate in saying that Alabama and head coach Nick Saban have a dynasty going. The Crimson Tide have won five national championships over the past nine years. All five have been with Saban at the helm. This title was No. 6 for Saban as he won another one at LSU. He is now tied with Bear Bryant on the all-time list.

NCAA Hoops

College football is over and it is time to switch over to college basketball. Let’s take a look at the national rankings. Amidst all the football last weekend, I heard that there were a number of upsets on the hardwood.

In fact, 15 of the top 25 teams suffered losses, including No. 1 Michigan State, No. 2 Duke, No. 4 Arizona State, and No. 5 Xavier. The newest AP Poll therefore showed a lot of movement.

Villanova returned to the top spot after just one week thanks to Ohio State’s dominating 80-64 victory over then-number-one Michigan State. The Spartans fell three spots to No. 4 and Duke dropped down to No. 7 allowing the sizzling West Virginia Mountaineers and the upstart Virginia Cavaliers to round out the top three. Who knew they played good basketball in the Virginias?

There is a tie at No. 5 with Wichita State jumping four spots and Purdue jumping eight spots. Look out for the Boilermakers. I just watched them beat a very good Michigan team in Ann Arbor. Purdue, with a senior-laden roster, has all the ingredients to make a deep run into March Madness.

Photo: Tua Tagovailoa, #13