Thursday, January 13, 2011

New at Rivals: The Magnificent Moment

My BCS post-game column is now up at Rivals'  A preview:

Ironically, the emotional peak of the night--Mike Dyer's 16-yard run that was originally called a touchdown--turned out to be anticlimactic, when Dyer was called down on the one after a review. But that was the moment when Auburn--players, coaches and fans--knew they had won. The dam was broken, the perfect season achieved, the trophy case opened up and the corks popped. Even when that score was called back, there was no doubt about the outcome. After four years of nailing clutch kicks, Oregon would have needed machine guns to prevent Wes Byrum from knocking through his career-capper.

It was a magnificent moment. Surrounded by somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 roaring fans in the stands, thousands more outside, and buoyed by the spirits of countless others back home and around the world, the 2010 Auburn team took to the field as one for the last time, undefeated, and claimed their place among the greatest of all time. I would say that you had to be there, but clearly, you did not. When the ball sailed through and the clock expired, it didn't matter where you were. You felt it, whether you were under the dome in Glendale or just off Magnolia Avenue in Auburn or hunched over a laptop in some far-flung corner of the globe: at that moment, in our hearts, we were all in the same joyous place.

Speaking purely for myself, the emotions of winning this game were directly on a par with what I felt when leaving the Superdome on the second day of 1984 and first of 2005, as well as within Jordan-Hare Stadium in November of 1993. Whether you or I or anybody else calls the outcome a "national championship" is immaterial in my mind; the achievement of winning all your games against a ferocious slate of competition is the most important achievement. When I saw the final A.P. poll the next day, my reaction was basically, "That's nice," quickly followed by a check on the current weather in ice-encrusted Atlanta. The results on the field matter. The opinions of a bunch of sportswriters and/or coaches, not so much. That's as true today as it was in any other year.
The rest is on the subscription side, but Rivals is offering a free first month to new subscribers coming over from FTB.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011