I think the Iron Bowl was the first rivalry game I was aware of, something about it always being on Thanksgiving weekend is a memory I have going all the way back to my budding sports fan days. I rooted for Auburn. Charles Barkley factor? I can’t be entirely sure. Of course, now I don’t particularly care about either team and the entire weekend is flooded with so-called rivalry games and they all have their names like “Civil War,” or the Battle for Uncle Chester’s Suspenders. Makes me a little nostalgic for the days when it was Iron Bowl/Skins Game/Turkey. Maybe the two teams are to blame. There haven’t been too many Iron Bowls that had a big impact on the BCS. They let a lot of other teams creep in and steal some thunder.
I think I’ve mastered the college football season. I caught a couple of big games here and there, and now with two weeks left, I am present and accounted for. It’s time to watch some conference title games, and time do a little prep work so I at least know who is on the field for the national title. As contenders in major conferences slip away, it has felt like we’ve been pointing toward Oregon vs. Auburn for the National Title for a while. Standing in the way, aside from the potential asterisk that is Cam Newton, is Alabama. The defending national champions have two conference losses, but will play to ruin Auburn’s season and possibly get themselves through the BCS back door.
I’d be terrified of ‘Bama if I had anything to do with either Auburn or the BCS. Auburn gives up too many points for my liking to be considered one of your traditional SEC powers, the type of teams that have been piling up national championships lately. The way they can out gun a team like they did Georgia a couple of weeks ago makes for great viewing, but I think it makes them vulnerable a little bit as well. To my mostly uneducated eyes, I think ‘Bama is going to be able to score plenty of points. Of course, if the Tide pull off the upset, it will send the BCS standings into a state of uncomfortable flux.
Auburn is already guaranteed a spot in the SEC title game, but if they lose this weekend, they’ll drop in the polls behind the unbeaten non-BCS All-Stars, TCU and Boise. I imagine they wouldn’t drop below behind 1-loss LSU, who they’ve beaten, and is completely shutout of the picture. Even so, if the Tigers fell to #4 (and where do you rank ‘Bama in this scenario?), that doesn’t give the BCS a nice and tidy 1 vs. 2 match-up. I’m sure they’d still love to square off Oregon against Auburn, but I don’t see how’d they get away with that. The non-BCS schools and the Big-10 champion would riot. So, if it has to be Boise or TCU, which one will get the nod? And, if Oregon were to lose as well sometime before the end of the season, then how ugly does it get? Would the fans accept Boise vs. TCU for the national title? Because, I sure as hell wouldn’t.
Oregon and Auburn is the game I’ve settled on in my mind, and so that means that I’ll have to revert back to my Barkley fan ways and pull for them this weekend. It also means there is probably no chance of that match-up happening. Would a six-team BCS 1-loss cluster bang and two undefeated non-BCS schools finally blow things up enough to get a serious change and a result on the field? Probably not, but it’d give everyone something to complain about all Bowl Season.
My preferred National Title Match-Ups:
- Auburn vs. Oregon. The Paul Westhead Game. First team to 60 wins.
- Auburn vs. TCU. If one big teams goes down, I’d prefer it to be Oregon. Auburn’s has the brutal SEC schedule, and I see some type of dark humor in sticking it to Boise yet again.
- Boise vs. Oregon. To listen to the collective crickets east of the Mississippi and hear people talk about “World Series level ratings.”
- Boise vs. TCU. Let’s just completely invalidate the entire thing.
- Stanford vs. Ohio State. Not possible, but prototype college QB vs. prototype pro QB gets my attention.