The next few weeks are going to be interesting and irritating, exciting and silly.
Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor, AuburnUndercover.com
ESPN.com columnist Ivan Maisel, as good as there is in our business, really puzzled me today when he wrote the following about the rise of teams from lesser conferences into the BCS debate:
“The unease may be as easy to discern as reading off the BCS top five: Oregon, Auburn, Boise State, TCU and Utah. The last three are, as stated above, non-AQ party crashers. The first two may be from power conferences but they aren't exactly college football royalty. They have one national championship between them. Ducks head coach Chip Kelly is in his second season, and Tigers head coach Gene Chizik needs to go 12-0 just to get his career record above .500.”
I know Ivan says Alabama has won 13 national championships because he’s written it before. That being the case, he should know Auburn can claim at least five or as many as eight using the same mode Alabama uses. And I’m not sure what in the world the overall record of the head coaches has to do with anything.
Maybe Auburn isn’t “royalty,” but if the Tigers are in the BCS Championship Game they will have gone undefeated for the second time in seven seasons and won 11 or more games for the third time in seven seasons in the toughest conference in the country. Not many have been much more “royal” than that.
In my mind, college football has no bigger issue than the tendency to look at some schools one way and some another. Since there is no playoff, that can lead to real injustices. Though there is really no way Auburn or Oregon, if they both win out, don’t play for the national championship, this debate wouldn’t be happening at all if Florida and USC were in their places.
The national championship race should be about this season and this season alone. Honestly, based on that, there’s no question Auburn, with four wins over current Top 25 teams and three SEC road wins, should be No. 1.
To finish it out, Auburn will have to beat Georgia at home and beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Not even in the wildest of scenarios could Boise State or TCU even come close to matching that resume.
When Bobby Bowden went to Florida State, he said he’d play anybody anywhere, and he meant it. The Seminoles didn’t demand return games. They just went and played. And they won. That’s when Florida State football became the force it is today.
Boise and TCU need to do the same thing. If the play enough good teams and win enough, they can make their cases. Until they do, until they subject themselves to tough game after tough game after tough game, they truly have no case.