I know that the BCS has been criticized for many reasons from its inception. But what is lost in all of the criticism is that the entire purpose of the process was to pit the top two teams against one another in a winner take all game for the national championship. Forget all of the noise about the other four games that were under the same umbrella. At the end of the day, as we say a belated goodbye to the much maligned system, is that more often than not, they got it right. And tonight, it was right in a way that we haven't seen in the entire tenure of the BCS.
We started out the night with an overwhelming favorite from a former dominant program hailing from a conference that has been criticized in recent years for failing to deliver a top team. And we had a Cinderella underdog team from a conference that had won the last seven titles. Would Florida State's weak schedule come back to haunt them? Could Auburn continue their season of destiny to win a national championship in coach Gus Malzahn's first season? Was the freshman Heisman Trophy winner capable of leading his team to victory in spite of his youth and increased expectations? Would Auburn's defense be able to depend on its bend but not break style to hold off the nation's top scoring offense?
I didn't really have a dog in this fight, except that I was leaning toward FSU to get a win for the ACC, from which my Virginia Tech Hokies hail. But at the end of the day, irony won out, with a kick return for a touchdown becoming a game changing play in Florida State's favor. Even though the final score was very close, this was a tale of two games. The first twenty-seven minutes were all Auburn, looking momentarily like it might end up being a Tiger blowout. But a huge special teams play, the fake punt by Florida State, kept a drive alive late in the first half that ended up turning the tide for the 'Noles. Auburn won the first game 21 - 3, and Florida State came back to outscore the Tigers 31 - 10. Basically, the final thirty-three minutes went the way I thought the game would go from the beginning.
Jameis Winston and several other Seminole players looked nervous, missing some open plays early in the game. Once Florida State adjusted their defense to answer what Auburn was doing offensively and the 'Noles started running the ball to ease the pressure on their freshman QB, it seemed as if they started to hit their stride. Add to that a little quicker pace to freeze Auburn's defense and it was all they needed to squeak out a tight victory with thirteen seconds left. At the end of the day, or night in this case, I believe the best football team during the course of the season held the crystal trophy as the final BCS national champion. Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles!