Auburn won the Iron Bowl in dramatic fashion Saturday. But the strangeness of the win –– last second field goal attempt returned for a touchdown – should not detract from the glory of the accomplishment.
The outcome was no fluke. If it had not been for AJ McCarron bailing ‘Bama out with those two huge passes from inside his own 10, Auburn would have blown the Tide away with an offense that not only passed well out of the spread formation but ran the ball even better.
Alabama’s early miscues helped Auburn take advantage of the home field crowd early on. The only mistakes Auburn made were letting Alabama convert for big yardage when the Tigers had the Tide pinned up against its own goal line.
But with its only undefeated team, Alabama, now besmirched, the SEC may not have a berth in the BCS national championship game. This would be the first time that has happened since Texas and Southern Cal determined the 2005 championship.
Florida State, 12-0 and pride of the Atlantic Coast, is the most complete football team in the nation. The defense, stacked with experienced upper classmen, is stout, while Jameis Winston makes the FSU offense one of the fastest and best in the nation.
“We are not a one-man football team,” insists FSU’s coach, Jimbo Fisher.
That is true, but Winston is the likely Heisman Trophy winner assuming off-the-field issues (investigated for rape) do not obstruct his path. It’s difficult – though not impossible — to imagine the Seminoles winning the Crystal Football without Winston.
As it stands now, Ohio State and Florida State would play for the national championship. But that’s not the way it’s likely to end up.
As we saw last Saturday the Buckeyes struggled to put down the regressing Michigan Wolverines. Brady Hoke made a questionable call to go for two at the end of the game, but Michigan failed to convert. If the Wolverines had gone into overtime at home, Ohio State would have been in trouble
Next, the Buckeyes, 12-0, will face an 11-1 Michigan State, whose defense is the most respected in college football.
The forecast from this corner: The Big 10 championship game will be the end of Ohio State’s 24-game victory streak, which is the 27th-longest in NCAA history.
It’s inconceivable that Michigan State, with a loss on a mostly soft schedule,
could vault into the BCS title game over a 1-loss SEC champion, be it Auburn or Missouri, who play for that title on Saturday (CBS, 4 p.m. Eastern).
Don’t count the SEC out just yet.