Originally Published: Jan 11, 2011 10:50 PM CDTEven in national championship games, more times than not, football comes down to a matter of bounces. No doubt, Auburn was the better team last night. They’d be the better team today and the better team tomorrow. Auburn would beat Oregon at least seven times out of ten. But had Auburn not gotten a late break, the game would have quite possibly gone to overtime. And when that happens, the team with the momentum wins just as often as the team that might have just a tad better talent. The “bounce” I’m referring to was the play that wound up setting up the game-winning chip shot FG. Actually it was shorter than thatmore like a flop shot, that did anything but flop. Anyway, the difference-making play was a 37-yard run by frosh RB Michael Dyer near the end, which set up the memorable flip wedge. War Eagle. On the biggest play of the game, Dyer appeared to have gone down. But his knee never touched the turf and his teammates never shut up until he’d gotten back on those muscle-bound chunky wheels and toted the piglet far enough down the slippery slope to put it in position so that three plays later overtime could be averted and a title could be won. All of which led Gene Chizik to repeat, “War Eagle. War Eagle. War Eagle.” The break for Auburn was that Dyer thought he’d gone down. But since it was within shouting distance from his cohorts in crime, Dyer quickly learned differently and took off hauling tail. After regaining his balance, Dyer dashed for the decisive yards. Auburn took advantage of the good fortune and its good players and won the game with a buzzer-beating three pointer. War Eagle. Good game but not great game. Good teams but not great teams. But great is relative and these two teams, plus TCU were the best of the bunch and deserved to finish 1, 2, 3and in the order they finished according to AP: Auburn, TCU and Oregon. I like the guy, but someone bring out a feather and tickle Gene Chizik Love to see him laugh. Saying “War Eagle” every other sentence might mean more to me if I’d lettered in Auburn. But I didn’t and so hearing Chizik bark “War Eagle seventy-six times wore me out. Apparently a wonderful gent, I’ve never seen a man reach the summit, have his moment in the sun, never come close to a smile, and toss out “War Eagle” more often than Rickey Henderson used to say, “Rickey.” Rickey be Rickey and Gene be “War Eagle.” Cam Newton was poised and Oregon QB Thomas was rattled. Newton’s teammates were helped immensely by his confidence. Thomas’ teammates saw their leader hesitant, indecisive and much of the time too herky jerky to make good decisions. He was often jitterylike a trucker on Vivarin drinking hot java at a 24/7 truck stop. I’ve seen guys down a gallon of coffee Unacceptable: Why was the field in such a big game slipperier than rides at White Water Bay on a 100 degree day? In case you are deaf and dumb and can’t hear the 24/7 promotion of the SEC, the conference has won seven BCS titles. OU and Texas make it two for the Big 12. The ACC, Big East, Big 10, and Pac-10 have only won a single national title. Hey, if your team played in a conference that dominant, you’d be loud and proud. Just like the southerners. ESPN’s Robert Smith’s Top 5 teams of 2011 1. OU2. Florida State3. Alabama4. Oregon5. Texas A/M First Odds to win the 2012 National Title (sportsbookgurus.com) 1. OU 5 to 1T2. Florida/FSU 8 to 15. Nebraska 12 to 1T6. Alabama/Oregon/Texas 15 to 113. OSU 30 to 1 What this shows more than anything is that the traditional schools bring the money. That’s the only way to explain Florida as the No. 2 fave and UT tied for sixth at 15 to one. Bet I can count on one finger how many of you thought Florida State would be the second favorite to win the national championship after OU took them to the woodshed early this season.
Congrats to Auburn and to Coach Chizik and his staff. Hope they aren’t doing what the latest stories are reporting. Grinding. One story reading that “Ten hours after winning the national title, Auburn coach Gene Chizik was typically intense and businesslike, already saying the time to celebrate was over. He said that the time had expired and that Tuesday morning they’d have to start all over today.” To which I’m sure Mean Gene added, “War Eagle!”