Who wins the national championship in a hypothetical matchup of Alabama, Georgia governors?

Football in Alabama and Georgia in on everyone’s mind right now. The College Football Playoff National Championship kicks off between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs on Monday, January 8 at 7pm on ESPN.

The winner will not only get bragging rights for their university but the entire state. Given that this game has escalated to an all-out border war, TSL decided to look at this matchup through the prism of the state’s governors. Being a governor comes with a lot of cheerleading duties in matters of state pride.

With that, TSL presents the most nonsensical, hypothetical, football/politics crossover matchup of the year by determining who wins the Gubernatorial Gridiron Championship between Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Alabama’s Kay Ivey.

Round One

Category: Team Pride

Since the bridge that holds this loosely connected, fictitious matchup is football, let’s start by judging each leader’s team pride.

In terms of fandom, Deal gives Georgia the major edge. He was celebrating the Bulldogs Rose Bowl win all week while still managing to get shit done. Read his manic timeline of events in the last week as per his Twitter.

    • Jan. 1 – Dawgs win the Rose Bowl. Deal is pumped.

    • Jan. 2 – Declares major state of emergency in Georgia.

    • Jan. 3 – Deal attends a groundbreaking ceremony looking cold as shit.

    • Jan. 4 and 5 – Back to the things that matter. #GoDawgs

Kay Ivey, an Auburn graduate, understandably couldn’t get behind the Alabama football win. She shaded the Crimson Tide in her congrats by throwing every Alabama football team into the celebration.

Winner: Georgia 

Round Two

Category: Fundraising

If there’s one thing we’ve tried to preach here at TSL it’s that cash rules politics, which is why fundraising skills count in this matchup. A bad politician can’t raise money and thus can’t win elections.

Alabama’s governor Kay Ivey is good at fundraising in the way Nick Saban is good at having a pathological drive to destroy other people’s dreams. She raised $300,000 in December, bringing her total to $2.3 million in a primary. None of her opponents in the June 5 primary are anywhere near her.

Nathan Deal is term-limited, so he has no reason to fundraise for the 2018 elections. There’s no sign of any Super PAC organizing around him for a bid in an even higher office, so it looks like Deal is leaving the game for a while. In his last election, he showed his fundraising skills were withering anyhow when his Democratic challenger began to outpace him and nearly won.

The math and the energy here is all in Ivey’s favor.

Winner: Alabama 

Round Three

Category: Policies


If the other categories are as important as skill positions in football, the Policies category is the quarterback. It’s the deciding factor in victory.

Deal vs. Ivey is a hard one to judge, so let’s recognize some of the difficulties in making my ultimate decision in this category.

  • I’m the only judge, making bias hard to omit.
  • Ivey assumed her role as governor just recently, while Deal has been the dude in Georgia for eight years.
  • They’re both Republicans, so a lot of their political views are cut from the same cloth.
  • Does a winner here deserve it because of the impact of their policy decisions or the sheer number of decisions they’ve made? Eh, depends.
  • Do I take their past political decisions into account? I’ve decided not to, as this is a fictitious battle and I can choose to do whatever I want. You wouldn’t really take a college player’s high school stats into account when judging them in a collegiate championship game.

Ivey is the newer governor. She was sworn in following the resignation of Robert Bentley on April 10, 2017, but she immediately got to work signing bills.

By May 2017 she signed:

(Thanks, Wikipedia)

On a scale of Dalai Lama to Donald Trump, she leans towards the Orange One’s side. Most of these policies seem either inhumane (the adoption and death penalty one), restrictive (the voting one) and racially insensitive/out of touch (the statues and the voting one). I know my bias is showing, but I also can’t help but think she signed these to gain some love from the Republican base in Alabama before she runs for reelection. Objectively, however, she got a lot done in a short period.

Deal’s policies flirt with the right as well. He checks all the boxes. Syrian refugees? Ban them. Guns on college campuses? Allow them. But because Georgia has a sizeable Democratic voting bloc, Deal’s conservative policies come with some concessions in them.

In March 2016, Deal vetoed a religious liberty bill that had been passed by both houses of the Georgia State Legislature, which was protested by multiple large corporations, including Coca-Cola  and  Home Depot. The bill (HB 757) would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The corporate pressure pushed Deal into the veto and it saved the state from committing basic human indecency. 

Because of his tenure and his more middle of the road sensibility, Deal gets the slight edge here. An argument for either could be made, but I liken this category matchup to deciding between rookie year Kobe Bryant vs. final season Kobe. Neither put up big numbers. One was too young though he was energetic and athletic, and the other well past his prime. But I’ll take the Kobe averaging 17.6 points a game in 28 minutes.

Winner: Georgia

This brings us to our final tally.

Final Score:

Nathan Deal (Georgia) 2 – Kay Ivey (Alabama) 1.

Winner: Georgia.

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