Before last night’s Tostitos BCS national championship game in Glendale, Ariz., Oregon and Auburn, the two schools vying for the title, last played football during the first weekend of December. The geniuses who run college football force players and fans to endure such an illogical gap. So was the game worth the month-long wait?
Kind of. A last-second field goal decided Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon. In this year’s title game, college football desperately needed a tight contest. Fans are fed up enough with the bowl system; all these lopsided title games just added to the pain. Before last night, it had been five years since the BCS championship game was all that close (in 2006, Texas quarterback Vince Young led the Longhorns to a thrilling 41-38 upset of USC, which featured Heisman fraud Reggie Bush).
Still, the game just felt a bit . . . weird. First of all, why was Oregon wearing fluorescent yellow-green socks? This sartorial selection blinded millions of HDTV viewers across the country. Second, players kept slipping all over the re-sodded field, as if they were wearing socks on a shiny kitchen floor. Third, the game supposed to show off the high-powered offenses of both teams – Auburn, for example, has Heisman winner Cam Newton – and end in a wild, unforgettable 51-50 touchdown festival. Clearly, the final score fell short.
In fact, an odd play helped decide the championship. With just over two minutes left, and the game tied 19-19, Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant tackled Auburn running back Michael Dyer near midfield. Or so everyone thought. Dyer actually landed on top of Pleasant as the Oregon player wrestled him down; since Dyer’s knee never touched the ground, the play was still live. Everyone stopped, however, since it certainly looked like Dyer had already been tackled. An alert Auburn sideline urged Dyer to keep running: he picked up another 31 yards, instantly putting Auburn into field goal range. Auburn got down to the one-yard-line before Wes Byrum hit the winning kick, a 19-yarder, as time expired.
Though the Tostitos tilt was exciting, it was far from a classic. At least there will be more college football next week, when Texas Christian University, the other major team still undefeated after the bowl season, will play Auburn to truly determine who’s the best team in the game.
Oh yeah, college football doesn’t permit such a logical conclusion. But it doesn’t hurt to dream, right?