Jan 7 2014, 4:30am CST | by Forbes
R.I.P. the Bowl Championship Series. The much-maligned manner in which the college football champion was determined for 16 years is now officially dead. It went out on a high note, with a thoroughly entertaining game, which ended with in a 34-31 win for the Florida State Seminoles over the Auburn Tigers. FSU’s win ended a dominant run by the SEC, which had yielded the BCS champ for seven seasons straight.
A few observations:
–National anthem singer, John Legend, is much better than Carl Lewis.
–Auburn wide receiver, Ricardo Lewis, dropped a wide-open catch that likely would have gone for a touchdown on Auburn’s first offensive series, just as he did in the team’s Iron Bowl victory against Alabama. Auburn fans may have been feeling some good karma then, despite the missed opportunity.
–The big question with FSU’s Heisman Trophy-winning, redshirt freshman, Jameis Winston, was how he would react to the pressure. In the ACC Championship against overmatched Duke, Winston was clearly nervous in the early going. But Duke was not threat Auburn would be. The Tigers were the best team Winston had faced all year. And Winston was off in the beginning, and never really got into the type of rhythm he’d grown accustomed to during a dominant season.
–It’s really hard not to like Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn, the offensive impresario and high school coach. He doesn’t look like a football coach, which is kind of cool.
–Alabama’s Nick Saban has a legitimate rival in Malzhan. This will be a fun rivalry to watch in coming years.
–ESPN had some serious action going on its sister channels, ESPN2 and ESPN News. On those channels, they had various analysts, like Johnny “Football” Manziel, Tim Tebow and Matt Millen, commenting on the game as it unfolded. It was a noble effort on the part of ESPN, sort of like a live form of Twitter. But like Twitter, it ultimately felt a bit crowded and distracting. For the most part, I stuck with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit, who called a great game.
–Auburn’s play-calling cards, held up on the sidelines by the assistant coaches, really played into the whole pop culture feel of the national championship game. They featured pictures of celebrities, including Beyonce, her husband, Jay-Z, Sandra Bullock and Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.
–FSU’s fake punt in the first half, which went for a first down and kept a drive alive that ended up in a much-needed touchdown, might have been the key to the game. It gave FSU life when they were left for dead.
–Timmy Jernigan, FSU’s great defensive tackle, gasped on the sidelines in the fourth quarter like a beached fish, a casualty of Auburn’s fast, take-no-breaks offense.
–Levonte Whitfield’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was breath-taking.
–Then Auburn marched right back for the go-ahead touchdown. That left the ultimate drama, 1:19 left on the clock, and the ball in the hands of Winston, the Heisman winner.
–Auburn’s Chris Davis, hero in the Iron Bowl for his runback of a failed field goal, was called for a critical pass interference with 21 seconds left in the game, a play that pretty much sealed it for FSU. From hero to goat in the span of three games. Football is a cruel game.
–Winston won with a touchdown pass and took home the offensive MVP award, a fitting end to a great game, and the end of an era.
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My book about former TD Ameritrade CEO-turned-football coach, Joe Moglia: “4th AND GOAL: One Man’s Quest to Recapture His Dream.”
Source: Forbes Business
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