December 1, 2013
In the rush to categorize the wonder, grace and spirit of sports, and particularly, an outstanding play from a game, fans often fall back on standby words, that I believe, not only trivialize the accomplishment, but diminish the effort. It's one of those pesky pet peeves of mine. Not everything is great. Not everything is unbelievable. Though if you had spent the last couple of weekends watching Auburn football, you might be walking around with those two words bombarding your sports consciousness.
Season ticket holders at Jordan-Hare Stadium have been treated to two spectacular plays on a pair of Saturdays in November. The first was a couple of weeks ago against Georgia. The Tigers fired a hail mary pass that was deflected by two Georgia defenders backwards into the waiting arms of a wide receiver who must have thought Christmas had come early. He strolled into the end zone with the deflected pass for the game-winning touchdown. Then last Saturday, Auburn upset two-time defending national champ Alabama by returning a 57-yard field goal try, on the game's final play, 100 yards for the winning touchdown in the Iron Bowl.
If you want to hear the "Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat," Google the radio calls of those two plays from the different school networks. Auburn's announcing team is overwhelmed, but hardly speechless, in the description of the two plays. Rod Bramblett had already had his dress rehersal of spontaneous jubilation in the win over Georgia. Last Saturday, When Chris Davis was at mid-field with his return, Bramblett realized, just as his Alabama counterpart Eli Gold, "There is nobody there for Alabama. Auburn is going to win the Iron Bowl."
It was without a doubt a spectacular finish in a long standing rivalry. It's one people will talk about as long as fans talk about the Iron Bowl. The result now is that Auburn will play a very good Missouri team in Saturday's SEC championship. The Tigers also moved up to third in the next-to-last BCS standings. That didn't stop the roar from the south, before the BCS Standings were released, that once-beaten Auburn should be ranked ahead of unbeaten Ohio State in second place. The top two ranked teams go to the BCS Natiional Championship game. An SEC team has not only played in the title game the last seven years. SEC representatives have won them all.
The SEC's domination of college football has created a sense of entitlement for the conference, its schools, and the fans. It is a league of powerhouse programs. There is an attitude that the show can't go on without us. A BCS title game without the SEC representative can't be valid in determining a champion. I've discussed this idea before, the mystique and myth of this kind of thinking.
Don't diminish the value of the Saturday partnership with CBS. While other networks work the country for solid weekly match-ups, CBS schedules its afternoon, and occasionally a prime time slot, with watchable contests that are televised to the entire nation. No regional action here. You can never go wrong watching Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson. If you like college football, this one broadcast will seldom leave you bored. I am a Lundquist fan for many reasons. He is one of the few announcers to validate a big play immediately with two simple words. "No flags." He also knows when to allow the natural sound of a game to replace any comment that would simply restate the obvious.
Florida State and Ohio State were the beneficiaries of the upset. They are now one win from the BCS championship game. Both must play in respective conference title games this weekend. The Seminoles will play Duke. Ohio State challenges Michigan State. If one or both of the top two ranked teams loses, we will see an SEC team sneak in. I'm okay with that if it happens. If one of the top two teams loses Saturday. Only then.
Dave Brown serves as a special contributor to CHANNEL 5 Sports and produces his Overtime blogs on a weekly basis for www.krgv.com/sports.more »