Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Football 2013 - Final BCS Championship

by Bill Holmes 

My Recap of the Last BCS Championship Game

January 2014 will be the last BCS Championship game before the switch to new four team College Football Playoff format next year. The game is between the #2 Auburn Tigers of the SEC vs the #1 Florida State Seminoles of the ACC. The SEC has won the last seven BCS titles. Can they win eight in a row?

In the future the current practice of pairing the number one and two ranked teams in a game will be replaced with a small playoff of the top four teams. Better than what we have now but there will still be problems and controversy. At the end of the 2013 regular season there was one undefeated team (FSU) and five one lose teams in the top ten. Which two one lose teams get left out? I think eventually the football playoffs will expand to eight and maybe 16 teams. You'll still have problems determining the eight or 16 teams vs the number nine or 17 teams but it will be better. It's harder for a team, or their fans, ranked in the double digits to bitch than a maybe number five team or were they really a number 4½ or 4¼ team. There will be plenty of time to debate and critique the new format in 12 months. The first College Football Playoff championship game will be played in Arlington, Texas at AT&T (Jerry's) Stadium. There is already a new logo but I haven't seen a new trophy yet. I'm rooting for the Gators to be in that first game. The stadium is only about 10 miles away and I know my youngest son, a big Gator fan, would love to go even if it is with his old fart dad.

Enough about the future, let's concentrate on the present. Florida State was the only major team that went undefeated. They sport a perfect 13-0 record going into the big game. The Noles were never in jeopardy of losing a game. They averaged 57 points a game while giving up fewer than 11 points. That's a very comfortable 46 point average margin of victory. Their quarterback, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston, won the Heisman Trophy. No doubt the #1 team in the country.

On the other hand, Auburn had a kind of Cinderella season. Auburn can score too. The Tigers averaged 41 points per game. They also gave up 23 points per game, many more against the good teams. Against Georgia and Alabama they had miracle plays at the end of the games for the win. They also came from behind to beat Texas A&M. It has been a lucky year but they did finish the season at 12-1. Their only lose was at LSU. It seems that every season there is a charmed team. The team that seems to get all the breaks and also pulls off a couple of miracle wins. Auburn is that team this year. I have no idea if the Tigers are the second best team in the nation. They are a good team and they have some serious karma going.

The oddsmakers have the Noles over a touchdown favorite. Probably a good pick but never bet against the Cinderella team. Sometimes magic keeps happening. Just plain upsets happen too.

I have mixed loyalties going into this game. I am and always have been an SEC fan. Auburn is an SEC team. On the other hand, my oldest son is an FSU graduate and I grew up in Florida. I will be slightly pulling for the Seminoles because of the family and state connection. I will not be heartbroken if Auburn and the SEC wins.

Now on to the game. It is being played in the Rose Bowl, far from Auburn and Tallahassee. Good weather is on tap. Temps in the 60's and calm winds. Of course ESPN had an all day pre-game show on all their channels. Every one of their 20,000 football analysts had something to say about the game. They even imported guest analysts like Nick Saban and Johnny Manziel. Tim Tebow made his debut as an ESPN analyst too.

FSU drew first blood with a field goal. Then Auburn went on a 21-0 run helped by an FSU fumble. The Noles salvaged a little with their own TD with 1:28 remaining in the first half. Winston did not look like the Heisman Trophy winner during most of the half. Halftime score Auburn 21 FSU 10. It was the first time this season that the Seminoles trailed at the half.

The inane field reporters spoke to both coaches as they went to the locker rooms for halftime. They both said "we like where we're at". Profound, grammatically flawed statements. Then we were treated to hundreds of experts telling us what we had just seen. Luckily there were so many commercials it ate into babble time.

It appeared that FSU woke up a little during intermission, at least the defense. The only scoring in the third quarter was a FG by the Noles. Then the fireworks started. There were 31 points scored in the final quarter. There were three lead changes in the last five minutes including one as a result of a 100 yard kickoff return. FSU took the lead for the first time with 4:31 to go. Auburn then marched down the field to retake the lead with 1:39 remaining. It looked like the War Eagle would prevail but the Seminoles went 80 yards and scored with 0:13 left. FSU wins 34-31. Good game. Jameis Winston adds the MVP award for the game to his trophy case. It was also his birthday, he turned 20.
Jameis Winston
The still inane field reporters corralled coaches and players from the winning team. The questions and answers were the same useless BS. Much of it unintelligible. Interviewing 20 year old's after a big game never produces anything worthwhile. There was then the requisite trophy presentation with a stage full of sponsors and other hangers on who had nothing to do with the game.

As mentioned, this is the last BCS championship in it's present form. FSU breaks a string of seven straight BCS titles by the SEC. The Noles were also the only favored team to win a BCS bowl game this year. It turned out to be a good final season for a flawed system.

Kudos to the Auburn Tigers on a magical season. They gave us several exciting  games and moments this season.

Congratulations to the 2014 BCS Champion Florida State Seminoles. A perfect 14-0 season, a Heisman Trophy win for their quarterback and a comeback victory in the big game.

Only nine months until the 2014 college football season starts.


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