Saturday, December 21, 2013
It always bugs me when people talk about how these games don't matter. Those people just don't truly "get" college football. I have a feeling they're the kind of people that prefer pro football and just watch college football because it's more football. Tell Colorado State and Bowling Green it doesn't matter. Tell Navy and Brigham Young. This is the biggest game many of these teams will play all year. It's a chance to attract recruits. It's a chance to celebrate their seasons by playing on national television in a game that--with a few exceptions--is the only football game on television. Two fan bases travel across the country and pack a stadium at a neutral site for this celebration that swirls around the high holidays like a magical Christmas snow. New Year's Day bowl games are a sacred ritual. But I think it was Chuck Klosterman who put it best:
"I like college football. I like college football as an entity more than I like knowing who is (supposedly) 'the best' amateur football team in the United States. People used to bemoan the thought of a mythical national champion, but it all seems mythical to me. It still does, and it always will. I don't need to pretend that I know the unknowable. If you want a playoff system, it might just mean you want to feel as though football has a clear sense of order. You probably enjoy feeling as though you know who is No. 1, because that's what really matters to you. But maybe you like college football as an experience a little less than you think."
I couldn't agree more, Chuck. It is in that spirit that Vundablog presents our special BOWL EDITION of Hobbitcore's College Football Corner...
Saturday, December 7, 2013
It was already the biggest, most important Iron Bowl ever with the highest combined ranking of the two teams and the first time ever that the game would literally decide who goes to the SEC championship game. It was already one of the best games in a generation when Auburn overcame a 21-7 deficit and a soul-crushing 99 yard TD pass to tie it up at 28 and seemingly send it into overtime. Then...it happened. What some are calling the greatest ending in the storied history of college football. Better, even, than the fabled "Band Is on the Field" Cal/Stanford ending in 1982.
The sports media is often (rightly) accused of being prisoners of the moment. Every time something amazing happens, it's not just amazing, it's the most amazing thing ever. In this case, however, they may be right. Think about some of the greatest endings in college football history. "The Play" (Cal/Stanford) was incredibly improbable but it happened between two 5-4 teams and the only thing at stake was a trip to the Holiday Bowl. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl featured a slew of incredible trick plays and did wonders for the legitimacy of non-BCS schools but it was still basically a meaningless bowl game. Tom Osbourne and #1 Nebraska going for two in the 1984 Orange Bowl against Miami was epic and poetic but also fairly pedestrian as far as actual football plays go.
This game, on the other hand, is unquestionably one of the two biggest rivalry games in college football (along with Ohio State/Michigan), featured #1 Alabama, well on their way to an unprecedented third consecutive championship, and #4 Auburn, fresh off the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare," already carrying a "team of destiny" air about them and dying to ruin their hated rival's chances at a three-peat. The improbability of the play itself, though helped along by Bama failing to fan out and cover their lanes, is hard to dispute. And, of course, the epic call by Auburn announcer Rob Bramblett (and the screaming in the background of his coworkers) really cements the timelessness of this unforgettable moment in college football history. Witnessing it live on television was truly an honor. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be there.
BUT ANYWAY...there's a whole 'nother week of football to play...SOOO...
SEC Championship Game -- Atlanta, GA
4:00pm -- #5 Missouri vs. #3 Auburn -- CBS
I have to admit I've been underrating Missouri all year, especially their defense, which showed up to shut down Johnny Manziel last week. They also have an offense that can give Auburn significantly more problems than any they've faced all year. Still, as much as Missouri seems like the they're far and away the logical pick here, I just can't bring myself to go against a Team of Destiny.
Hobbitcore sez: Auburn
Pac-12 Championship Game
7:45pm -- #7 Stanford @ #11 Arizona State -- ESPN
This is actually a rematch of a 42-28 Stanford win. That one was at Stanford, though, whereas this will be at Sun Devil Stadium. I never much like the winning teams of rematches and ASU's D will play better at home and I think the Sun Devil's just have too much versatility on offense for Stanford's big, heavy defense.
Hobbitcore sez: Arizona State
ACC Championship Game -- Charlotte, NC
8:00pm -- #20 Duke vs. #1 Florida State -- ABC
You really have to take your hat off to David Cutcliffe for what he's done with the Blue Devils in recent years, bringing them from doormat to division champ. They'll scrape and claw to stay in a game that should be a shootout for a while but eventually the Noles just have too much talent for the Dukies.
Hobbitcore sez: Florida State
Big Ten Championship Game -- Indianapolis, IN
8:17pm -- #2 Ohio State vs. #10 Michigan State -- FOX (UPSET ALERT)
This is going to be a good one. Ohio State's offense vs. Michigan State's defense will be a sight to see and I really think Sparty matches up well with the Buckeyes' power running game. It will definitely be a defensive struggle which plays into Sparty's hands big time. And seeing as how the Upset Hobbit and I truly believe Auburn is a Team of Destiny, we feel convinced that the pieces will fall into place for them to slide on into the BCS title game.
The Upset Hobbit sez: Michigan State