Posted on: January 15, 2011 9:13 am
I for one, enjoyed the BCS Championship game between The Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks. At the fine wing and ale establishment that a few of my closest friends were watching the game in, the crowd was definitely pro-Oregon, so much so, that I was the only Tigers fan. Decked out in an Auburn golf shirt and baseball cap I watched the drama unfold. <br />First, some reasons why I chose to cheer for Auburn. I am a huge South Eastern Conference football fan, that was born and lives in Canada. My favorite team is the Florida Gators. Since 2007 I have played college fantasy football that was SEC teams only. I follow all the games here on CBSsports.com gametracker, on the internet via live streaming, and on CBS and Peachtree tv where there is an SEC Game of the Week. This year the computer drafted my team and selected Cam Newton as the quarterback. As a result, I followed the Auburn Tigers throughout the season and PVRed all of their games as the high school team I coach runs a very similar offense as the Tigers. Anyways, as the season progressed and the annual Iron Bowl that pits Alabama against Auburn loomed I listened to the pundits on College Rivals Radio and researched the history of the game. Once the Tide surged ahead 24-0 and the Tigers, led by Cam Newton rallied to win, I knew the Tigers (and the SEC) had another shot at a BCS Title. In the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers beat up on the Gamecocks and sealed their shot at a national title. In the PAC-10 conference I usually cheer for the Oregon Ducks as they have a high tempo spread offense that is exciting to watch. I knew this game would be a good one.<br />For the first few weeks of December, my family and I travelled to Florida for a vacation and I was immersed in the SEC culture. The local newspapers and tv stations were pumping up the SEC and how they have dominated throughout the past decade. I was given an Auburn Tigers hat from a former alumnus and army veteran who lives and breathes Tigers. (He is a friend of my parents). <br />Ok, back to the game. When the Ducks went up 3-0 the bar seemed to be staring at me in my Tigers gear and let me have the ridicule. Not long after the Tigers scored and the bar let me know how much of a cheater Cam Newton was and how he didn't deserve to be in this game. I let flow off me and I concentrated on the game. Then the Ducks scored and the jabs came fast and furious. Once the Tigers tackled LaMichael James in the endzone for a safety the crowd became less rowdy and then the Tigers scored to take the lead. Everything was pretty quiet until Cam Newton fumbled and the Ducks tied it up. The crowd turned and again I was the center of their attention. I let it slide as I knew the Tigers and the SEC would not let me down. Then Wes Byrum kicked the game winning field goal and the crowd fell silent except for a few liquid courage filled losers who were quickly escorted out. In the end, the SEC won its fifth BCS Title in a row and moved to 7-0 in title games in the BCS Era.<br />I enjoyed the game because both defenses came to play and they forced turnovers and created excitement. The Ducks ground game came to a grinding halt and Cam Newton was pretty much held in check. The Tigers unsung heroes were the difference. Former starting quarterback Kodi Burns (senior) caught a 35 yard touchdown pass. Wes Byrum (senior) kicked two field goals including the game winner. Freshman wide receiver Emory Blake caught a 30 yard touchdown pass. Freshman running back Michael Dyer rushed for a game high 143 yards. Senior defensive back Zac Etheridge, who was seriously injured in a game versus Ole Miss a year before and lay motionless on the field for 20 minutes and who sustained a cracked a vertebrae in his neck and many believed he would never play again, had a key interception. Senior defensive back Demond Washington also had a key interception. All in all it was a team effort and the team as whole played as one.<br />I believe that Auburn deserved the victory and it was well earned. In 2011, whoever wins the SEC Championship has a great chance to win the BCS Title and take home the SEC's sixth straight BCS Title. As the shirt says, "Great teams are built in the South".
Posted on: January 11, 2011 9:19 am
With the win by the Auburn Tigers over the Oregon Ducks 22-19, the SEC has hauled in its 7th BCS Title in 13 years and 5th in a row. The BCS started its Title game in 1998 and in the inagural year the Tennessee Volunteers beat the Florida State Seminoles 23-16 in the Fiesta Bowl. In 2003 the LSU Tigers won the SEC's second BCS game by beating the Oklahoma Sooners 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl. In 2006 it was the Florida Gators beating the Ohio State Buckeyes 41-14, in 2007 it was the LSU Tigers beating the Ohio State Buckeyes 38-24, in 2008 the Florida Gators beat the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14, and in 2009 the Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Texas Longhorns 37-21. Since 1998 the SEC is 7-0 in championship games. It seems that in recent years the SEC is the top conference when it comes to BCS Titles. I know one reason is that the SEC is deemed a tougher conference and that helps in the polls when you talk about conference strength and strength of schedule. It helps to be ranked higher than teams with equal records. One reason that most don't talk too much about, I think, is that the bowl games are played in the winter months. While alot of the countries other top college football conferences are blanketed by snow, the SEC is able to practice outside and its business as usual. The BIG 10 for example, has to practice indoors in preparation for the Bowl season, this is out of the ordinary for them and they sometimes lack focus when the games begin. Secondly, the rosters of most SEC teams is loaded with players from their home state. These young men are growing up rooting for and dreaming for playing for the teams in their state. The south seems to be producing these young talented players at a great rate and they are staying locally. Another reason is that the SEC congerence has alot of their games televised nationally on Peachtree and on CBS (the official home of the SEC), and these players go to a SEC school to play on tv. Its a huge drawing card to be in the national spotlight. I for one am a huge fan of the SEC, although I grew up and live in Canada, there is something about watching a Florida, Alabama, or Georgia game in late November and seeing the crowd in t-shirts and shorts while I am buried in 4-6 feet of snow. GO SEC SO!!! Like the slogan on the shirt says "GREAT TEAMS ARE MADE IN THE SOUTH"
Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:16 am
Edited on: January 3, 2011 9:28 am
As I watched the bowl games so far this season it has occurred to me that some conferences may in fact be better than others, but good teams are still good teams no matter what conference they are in. For example, TCU, is in a weaker conference but still was able to beat a Big Ten powerhouse like Wisconsin. TCU also had the best defence in the country statistically and they remain unbeaten at 13-0. It also appears to me that certain conferences were able to dominate others. For example the SEC dominated the Big Ten so far this year in bowl games. Mississippi State beat Michigan easily 52-14, Alabama beat Michigan State easily 49-7, Florida beat Penn State 37-24, with Arkansas versus Ohio State to come. I think also has to do with the fact that during bowl season most of Big Ten country is covered in snow while the SEC is still rather warm. Also it appears that the Big Ten is built on size and power while the SEC relies on speed. I hope that one day the NCAA will use a playoff system to determine its champion but until then its always interesting to see who gets matched up with whom and how the conferences match up with each other. I for one am looking forward to the BCS Championship game between Auburn and Oregon. I think Cam Newton will show why he won the Heisman and will lead his team to victory. Despite the rumors and the haters, he was the best player in college football this year and deserved the Heisman. He controls games with his legs and his arm and is a great motivator. There were times this year when he loaded the team on his back and carried them to victory. It is scary to think that he can come back next year.