No matter what had happened at the SEC championship game in Atlanta, Auburn fans would have been happy enough. Going into the Alabama game in late November, Auburn’s one-loss record compared very favorably to the nine losses our team endured last year, one of which included a 49-0 ass-kicking from our in-state rivals in crimson-and-white. So frankly we didn’t really care how we beat Alabama this year— it just felt damn good to beat them! Magic or no magic . . . luck . . . pixie dust . . . call it what you want. That victory over Alabama led Auburn to the SEC championship, which is a far cry from the winless 0-8 conference record the team had last year.
After beating ‘Bama and moving to #3 in the rankings, Auburn fans knew two things: our Tigers would play a really strong Missouri team in the SEC championship, and we needed #2 Ohio State to lose to Michigan State, so we could have a chance to play Florida State in the national championship game. When the day came, Auburn and Missouri played at 3 PM, so after that game was over, we would have to watch Ohio State vs. Michigan State that evening to see what would happen there. (Frankly, I wasn’t really worried what would happen between Florida State and Duke in the ACC championship game.)
Well, by the time I went to bed, I was happy with the outcomes! After three quarters of watching Auburn and Missouri slug it out, Auburn pulled away in the fourth quarter, mainly behind Tré Mason’s incredible running. He had 304 yards rushing on Saturday night, within a total of 677 yards of offense. The final score was 59-42.
After all the hollering was done, the food began to get packed up and the kids were starting to run out of gas, my wife and I watched the first few minutes of the Big 10 championship game, then headed home. We could pick it up once the kids were in bed, and watch it while we browse social media to read all of the War Eagle! pronouncements of our ecstatic friends and family.
By the time we got home, the score was 17-0 Michigan State! I called my wife into the den and showed her what was happening. With wide-eyed looks of recognition about what that meant, we finally said it out loud to each other: Auburn is going to the national championship game! I watched and worried as Ohio State rallied, tied it up and even took the lead . . . but it wasn’t meant to be for the Buckeyes. Michigan State, a team I’ve never given to two spits to watch, did it— they beat an unbeaten team (on a 24-game winning streak) and solidified Auburn’s right to play Florida State in Pasadena.
Last Saturday was the third exciting football game in four weeks (since the week between the Georgia and Alabama games was an off week). We’ve gotten to jump up and down and cheer for Ricardo Louis’ wild reception to beat Georgia, Chris Davis’ wild runback to beat Alabama, and now Tré Mason’s and Nick Marshall’s wild running offense to beat Missouri.
Already, the big-time sports announcers are counting Auburn out against Florida State— exactly the same way they counted Auburn out against Texas A&M, and against Georgia, and against Alabama, and against Missouri . . . It’s no wonder they keep calling Auburn’s season “magical”— because only an inexplicable, mysterious force from the Great Unknown could possibly explain away how freakin’ wrong they have all been over and over!
So Auburn is heading to The Rose Bowl on January 6th.
All I really want to know now from the BCS folks is: why’s the game got to be on a Monday night? Why can’t it be on a Saturday? When we go to a playoff system and this BCS business is put to bed, I hope the folks who organize that system will have enough sense to schedule the games on dates that actually work for the fans.