After an exciting night of conference championships on Saturday, the final BCS bowls were announced on Sunday. Most of the sports world waited with baited breath to find out how the BCS saga would close, would it go out like Walter White and Breaking Bad or would we be left confused, and spurned like the Sopranos finale?
College football the last couple of weeks has been outstanding: you had the highlighter Civil War of Oregon-Oregon State, a Michigan-Ohio State matchup that was one two point conversion from greatness, and of course The Iron Bowl. Not only could I write an article about that game, I could probably co-author a book with just about anyone who watches ESPN, and I didn’t even watch the game, that’s how great it was! (I was sitting in a freezing Commonwealth Stadium watching Tennessee start a new streak on my Wildcats) With all these fantastic games of late, including the conference championships, you would expect the final BCS Bowl Games to be awesome, a proper sendoff to an era of sports and yet…
“But Josh” You say, “We already knew the BCS Championship after Saturday, how much could they really differ?” Calm down friend, I’ll explain. Yes, thanks to the Spartans of Michigan State everyone here in SEC country let out a sigh/cheer after they eliminated Ohio State’s championship hopes. We knew that Auburn would carry on the SEC streak of consecutive championship appearances, we knew they’d face Jameis Winston and the Seminoles in Pasadena, we even knew Michigan State would face Stanford in the Rose Bowl, and yet there were so many possibilities, so many opportunities left in the land of What If that actually only stabilized the argument of getting rid of the BCS.
Potential matchups were there, I know I know, “Josh UCF HAD to go to a BCS Bowl they had an AQ from the almighty American!” (You’re being very critical of me today; also thank goodness that joke of a conference won’t have an AQ anymore.) The main matchup we missed out on though, the one I’m most distraught about, is the potential Ohio State-Alabama battle. This game would have been the next best thing to Alabama playing in the National Championship. Alabama will steam roll Oklahoma; mark it down, by at least two touchdowns. Ohio State taking on Clemson looks good on paper, but really both teams in my book are way overrated and lost the only games they were challenged in. Bama vs the Buckeyes would have given everyone a chance at something they all want. Ohio State, who went undefeated last season but was held out of post-season play thanks to some tattoos, would finally get their shot at the mighty Alabama. Urban Meyer would get a chance to prove his “SEC of the North” idea could work. And Alabama and SEC fans, they get everything, a chance to quiet SEC bashers, Florida by extension gets a shot at revenge for Urban Meyer’s post-“retirement” gig, and Alabama and Nick Saban reminds everyone who’s the boss.
Speaking of Alabama, let’s play a game. The game is called Why Couldn’t the Playoffs Start This Year. For the most part college football fans have been patient with this “lame duck” year of the BCS. The end was in sight and that was good enough…until we got to the end. Until the last 3 weeks, when college football got awesome again. Teams we’re dropping like flies, hard fought battles were a regular occurrence. THE IRON BOWL! That’s when we could no longer be patient. There are many people out there who believe Alabama is still the best team in college football this year (most of them live in Alabama but I digress). Imagine, if you will, a world where the College Football Playoff starts this year. Now we take the top 4 teams in the country, Florida State, Auburn, Alabama, and Ohio State, and we put them against each other! Tell me that’s not ending the season on a high note! You let Florida State run Urban and the Buckeyes out of the stadium (Ohio State is awful) but not only that (don’t get ahead of me) we get THE IRON BOWL REMATCH!
That’s right we take what someone is undoubtedly calling the greatest college football game ever on ESPN as we speak, and we play it again. Now we have Iron Bowl II of the season but it’s not just any Iron Bowl, no this is the Iron Bowl to decide who plays for a National Championship! Nick Saban on a sunny day surrounded by puppies and children jumping rope is a scary dude, but think of Saban playing a revenge game, against his team’s biggest rival, who also happened to knock him out of an SEC Championship. (I just wet myself a little) Alabama gets a chance to prove that the improbable return of a field goal for a touchdown was a fluke and Auburn gets to show it wasn’t. Not to take away from the amazing turn around Auburn has pulled off because it was outstanding, but Alabama also gets a shot to prove they are the best team in America. So much on the line, so much to prove, against your greatest rival, on a neutral field, in a rematch of one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen highlights of on SportsCenter (remember, freezing, lost, fun night!) you can’t write that kind of post-season drama.
And yet, instead, we’re left with Alabama-Oklahoma, Ohio State-Clemson, and once again as every year in the world of BCS we’re left wonder what could have been. And sure bowl season is a new beast and I could be entirely wrong…but then again…