Sports | BCS Tournament Recap
With parades marching throughout the land celebrating another year of renewed energy and enthusiasm about the future, 4 teams took to the field to prove something as well: The Ohio State University, the underdog and Big 10 Champion, Florida State, ACC and defending National Champion, Alabama, SEC Champion, and Oregon, PAC 12 Champion. These conferences saw their constituents take to the boards and phone lines proclaiming their superiority and dominance over one another, but the time for talk was now finally over as New Year’s day arrived. What was to come at the end of this day, no one could have expected.
Looking at my own predictions for the day, I can say I was barely half-right. Having strong faith in the Oregon offense and pacing after watching Chip Kelly implement the same style for the Eagles, I knew Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston had their chickens coming home to roost. Getting the benefit of the doubt all year, and operating within a weak ACC conference (that still pillaged the Big East for what gain, I ask, besides dollar signs), the Noles would not be awarded with last minute offensive pass interference calls or botched 4th & 1 Shotgun attempts that would have ended the streak and possibly afforded a more deserving team that precious slot.
Watching the hands on the hips and gasping for air as Super Mario lined his team up and marched down the field, it appeared that the champions were resting on their laurels the weeks leading up to the Rose Bowl. Showcasing their trademark resilience in the closing minutes of the first half, FSU was able to score their first TD and leave the field with some momentum on their side. This confidence remained as they responded with another TD after Oregon opened the half with a TD of their own. It quickly spiraled out of control shortly thereafter. 1 turnover, 1 touchdown. 2 turnovers, 2 touchdowns. 3 turnovers, 3 touchdowns. The script continued as Oregon exploited FSU for 5 scores in less than 15 minutes. To critics of Oregon, it was an eye opener. To critics of FSU, it was the vindication we have waited for all season.
1667 miles to the east, two quarterbacks with completely different credentials prepared for what many pundits agreed would be a foregone conclusion. With another injured QB, how could the Buckeyes hope to compete with the stout Alabama Crimson Tide, Champions 2 out of the past 3 years, a pedigree that demands respect and often earns the scorn for the same reason. But if the Buckeyes have proven anything this season it’s that it’s happy to be underestimated by their opponent. For proof, look no further than the rout against Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship (and what Wisco did to War Eagle hours earlier.)
Quick turnovers and missed opportunities in the Redzone seemed to create a storyline that OSU would be unable to score to keep up with the Tide, but with each series, Cardale Jones settled in and became more confident, especially in 3rd down conversion situations. In a quick swing of the pendulum, OSU rallied from 21-6 to 21-20 to close out the first half. Strong clock management and the amazing catch by Michael Thomas from Evan Spencer showed this game would not be the second rout of the day. With a hard-hitting, white-on-rice defense keeping Amare Cooper from ever becoming the game changing WR that has earned him the reputation as nation’s best, Ohio State never quit being hungry on both sides of the ball. With the collapse of Alabama, so too the reputation of the SEC West, limping to 2-5 in their bowl games. More interesting is the 3-0 record posted by the SEC East, considered the weaker little brother all season long.
With the table set for two one week from now, we will have to rely on the NFL to provide us the interim entertainment this Wild Card Weekend. It wouldn’t be the worst thing either if the Superbowl would take a leaf out of the BCS’ book for timing and scheduling the final.