The Battle in 'Bama: Why Auburn and Alabama Solidify The NCAA Playoff Argument
In a game of inches, no other game this season has shown the true bravado of the phrase 'any given Sunday.'
Alabama, in theory, had nothing to play for.
Auburn had everything to play for.
In the parking lot, Crimson Tide fans were selling T-shirts that read 'Scam Newton,' with the 'S' as a dollar sign. Tuscaloosa was sold out. The fans were on their feet the entire game.
So why does this game suggest a playoff bracket?
Alabama showed the nation today that not only can they beat anyone on any given day, but even in defeat, the Crimson Tide relayed to their fans that no matter what the circumstances are in the BCS, every game is equally as important.
Cam Newton and the Auburn offense played horrifically in the first half. They trailed 24-0, were being out-gained 314-2 at one point, and Newton was in the red as far as yards on the ground.
Thank goodness the Tigers have a guy named Nick Fairley.
As Alabama tried to add to their lead late in the first half, Fairley stripped McElroy and recovered the fumble. This was one of two fumbles by Alabama inside the red zone, the other being fumble out of the end zone as Ingram rumbled down the sideline for a big gain.
Newton came back on the road in one of the most intimidating stadiums with over 100,000 fans going nuts.
I think he's silenced his critics...on the field, at least.
Can you imagine if this was a playoff game? Perhaps with the winner playing the winner of Oregon and Boise? It's games like this that make me angry that we can't see a three-loss team like Alabama in another battle royal.
I agree with the argument that every game is like a playoff game, especially in the SEC.
But what fun would it be if we could mix in the home-field advantage in a bracket of top-ranked teams?
It's an old argument, and I'm certainly not trying be the millionth BCS system whiner, but Alabama and Auburn have shown us how great games can be when there's nothing to lose (Alabama), and when there is everything to gain (Auburn).
Imagine if both teams had the chip on their shoulder as having made it to the playoffs.
When it's said and done, Auburn's Cam Newton quite possibly sewed up his bid to win the Heisman Trophy.
Now with Arizona underway at Oregon, and the score tied at 14 in the second quarter, will be have two reasons on the day after Thanksgiving to march towards a college football playoff system?
Obama couldn't even get it done, so it may be games like these that eventually decide the fate of the idea.
Don't hold your breath.
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