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Who Will Play Now?
December 1, 2013 - Al Stephenson
The fight for the right to play in the NCAA football championship game became a whole lot more interesting after the games played yesterday. It seemed like Alabama and Florida State were destined to meet with only an undefeated Ohio State team being left out of the picture. That changed dramatically with Auburn upsetting the Tide in an ending that shocked all of us. Meanwhile the Buckeyes survived a Michigan squad that few thought had a chance to stay with OSU. Now if things don't change in the conference championship games - and isn't that a big IF - the controversy will be about whether a one loss SEC team should play Florida State ahead of an undefeated Ohio State squad.
My suggestion is simple. Let's forget who is going to play for the title - at least for a while - and glory in the game that is college football.
I'm not sure I've ever watched two back to back games that rivaled the excitement put on by OSU-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn. Big play after big play. Coaching decisions that will be second guessed for years. In case you are wondering what I mean by that, let me give you two examples, one from each game. Alabama has a fourth and one from the Auburn 13 with a half dozen minutes to go in the game leading by 7. A field goal gives the Tide a ten point lead that should be pretty much insurmountable. The only fly in the ointment is that the Bama kicker has already missed two field goals and had another blocked. His confidence level is as low as it can get. Nick Saban decides to gamble and the run gets stuffed. Well we know what happened after that, or you are not a college football fan. It will be interesting to see how much flak Saban - one of the best college coaches of all time - gets from his Alabama faithful.
The other one involves Michigan's decision to go for two after their last TD with a half minute left. An extra point likely sends the game into overtime. Brady Hoke decides to try to end the game then and there. The try fails, Ohio State escapes and Hoke will have to endure the criticism.
Lest you wonder what I thought about these two coaching decisions, well I'm willing to tell you. Keeping in mind that I have hindsight on my side, I will say that I would have gone for the field goal and the two point conversion attempt. That's just me. I'm willing to accept the fact that not everyone will agree with me. I also don't have to answer to the critics like Saban and Hoke do and for that I am glad.
As a football fan though, how do you top those games? They were exciting and went down to the wire. Throw in a Duke team that won ten games for the first time in school history and you have the beauty that is college football. Enjoy reliving this awesome college football Saturday. The rest of the stuff can wait for as long as - OK, I guess that's long enough.
Just for fun, let's do a visual. Duke beats Florida State, Michigan State beats Ohio State, and Missouri beats Auburn in their respective conference championship games. Now who will play for the national championship?
The view from my seat suggests that the answer should be "who cares." Let's just enjoy college football, an awesome game.
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