Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Epic Classic for the Ages Goes To Cam Newton and Auburn
What fun it was to watch a mesmerizing classic, one of the greatest games in collegiate football history that ended on a fascinating sequence to calm the nerves of the tense Auburn faithful in the stands, eventually witnessing the spectacular ending.
In command, when running back Michael Dyer worked in traffic and dusted by Oregon defenders, he was a basic factor in the sterling rush attack.
Finally, three players later in the series, he ran a mere 16-yards to settle for a yard short of the end zone. That led to the 19-yard, game-winning field goal that kicker Wes Byrum booted as time expired for his sixth career game-winning field goal, the one that salvaged perfection and gave top-ranked Auburn a thrilling 22-19 win over the No. 2 Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game Monday night.
This was, by far, a breathtaking finish for a contest that never had a dull moment, but hijacked our senses as we watched a memorable classic, a title game we'll discuss for years.
It's been awhile since the last time America has seen a galvanizing finish of a suspenseful game, as if the masses were gazing at a heart-stopping movie. But if not, it's apparently jolting for the Tigers, a university with a built program that was overdue of fulfilling goodness. It turns out, after all, that Auburn is a distinguished emblem of the Southern Eastern Conference, if not all of college football now that they claimed the noble prize.
"Winning a championship for the Auburn family, I can't really describe it right now," Chizik said. "To try would probably cheapen it."
The timing couldn't be better for Auburn's emergence to prevail on the brightest platform in college football and release the nagging adversity that nearly overshadowed a sensational season when the Tigers evidently startled the nation with its inconceivable streak of mind-blowing wins.
From there, Auburn wasn't viewed as darlings, but was allowed to qualify for a national title appearance and be one of the best teams in the nation for such an eye-opening upheaval.
"Anything is possible," Newton said. "I guarantee, five or six months ago, that no one would bet their last dollar that Auburn would win the national championship. And now we're standing here."
Now, he's portrayed as the beloved figure for a storied football program, worthy of applause in the South, a region where folks are devoted to football and immerse in the sport unlike any other territory.
It's not too often, particularly for an adverse player, when someone like Cam Newton can maintain calmness and handle the farce of absurdity and criticism from an unholy scandal, accused of breaking NCAA rules because of his father's bad judgment by foolishly auctioning his son.
Aside from all of the mess in the past, it was Auburn in a collision course against Oregon, and obviously, only one team came out victorious on a glamorous night in the desert. As the capacity crowd filled in every seat inside the University of Phoenix Stadium, Auburn won the school's first national title in football since 1957.
Back then, the popular toy kids played with were hula hoops and slinkys. Back then, Little Richard was the hottest album sold in record stores. Back then, President Eisenhower was in office.
When it was finally over, after it seemed like the epic classic was on its way to overtime, confetti rained down onto Newton's head and he smiled as coach Gene Chizik lifted his arms skyward, proud of his players and the Tigers as a whole.
"I've told my guys that it's not about them," said Chizik. "In 20 years it will be about them. But this game is about all of the Auburn people who never got the opportunity to be where we are."
In the stands, a cheerful crowd of orange-clad fans saw the Tigers celebrate an exciting win and hadn't experienced this much glory for almost six decades. It's common these days that an SEC school wins the national title, especially when Auburn won the fifth consecutive Southern Eastern Conference national title, the seventh victory of the BCS era.
The haze of uncertainty for Auburn dwindled in the end of a memorable night and its recent dominance offered seemingly a clear understanding, generally mastering its long-term goal in the Valley of the Sun.
Mostly, though, the Tigers executed with balance, poise and mental toughness in desperation and the moment when the majority were watching, no longer non-believers of Auburn.
It's hard to earn fame when a school is close to another renowned university, traditionally known as a popular program for inheriting national titles or dominating the conference as the powerful team.
Besides, the Tigers weren't always so good and played in the shadows of the cultivated Alabama, an archrival located nearby, and last season, the Crimson Tide won the national title.
Much vintage was stored in the convincing ending to a historic and accomplished season.
Most of the night, the Tigers heard the crowd madly chant and as a way of encouragement, they reacted to the fervid crowd and played at their highest this season against an effectual Oregon with a forceful, menacing, impetuous defensive strategy.
All of that, even if Oregon is the highest-scoring team in the nation, obstructed the accelerated rush attack led by LaMichael James, who is arguably the fastest man in the nation.
Of all nights, he wasn't the fastest man, he wasn't nearly as scary, but harmless and wore a frown of frustration and disappointment. It's a rarity when he's not capable of having a huge impact, and for once, he was held to 49 yards on 13 carries, battered by Auburn's firmness.
As it seems, by all standards, the university has a singular tradition from the Tiger Walk to the War Eagle yell. Off for 37 days, Auburn showed no signs of rust and attacked early on, as the nation debated whether or not the game would be high-scoring.
Respectively, the Tigers, standing as a symbol for the SEC, earned tons of adoration by capping a perfect record and surviving BCS mayhem with an impressive 13-0 record to define perfection.
But incredibly, the Tigers held Oregon to 19 points with the assistance of a beastly Nick Fairley, a primary factor on defense. His presence alone came handy and he had three sacks and the fourth down stop that prevented Oregon from driving.
There was assistant athletic director Joe Whitt, wearing his usual black hat, standing in the Tigers' locker room and had a warmhearted smile. The last time the Tigers went 13-0 it happened in 2004, the year the rural university was snubbed by the unfair BCS.
Before then, the Tigers went 11-0 in 1993, the year the school was unable to compete for the top-ranking in the nation due to postseason probation.
For now, if you are worried about an asterisk, don't panic. However, the investigation of the Cam Newton scandal is still pending, but until then, Auburn is 14-0 and the best in the nation.