BCS Champion Yes - National Champion? Not really.
On January 10, 2011, Auburn won what was probably one of the weakest BCS championship games witnessed since the inception of the BCS.
But in reality, they only won a bowl game and not an outright National College Football Championship. Based on statistics regarding Oregon versus Auburn, the Tigers should have run roughshod over the Ducks.
Every SEC fan would have predicted Auburn winning by two or three touchdowns; instead, only because of poor tackling by Oregon, they managed to win by three points.
I realize that everyone knows a win is a win regardless of the point spread, but football analysts never had the game being this close.
Breaking down the game, I find it hard to believe that Auburn just didn't run the ball all night and wear out the Ducks defensive line. With such a size advantage and the defensive focus on Cam Newton, the Tigers should have completely dominated the line of scrimmage.
But give the Ducks credit: They managed to confuse Newton enough and provide a spirited team effort to keep it close.
In the passing game, Cam Newton missed more big throws than he made. Sure, he went 20-for-35 passing, but he missed two passes that were easy touchdowns and a third throw late, which probably would have led to another touchdown.
If Cam Newton can't make these throws, is he ready to be an NFL quarterback? If so, he'll need a lot of work in this area. He reminds me of Byron Leftwich, another big strong quarterback that never quite developed the needed skills at the NFL level.
For winning the BCS Championship should Auburn be considered the National Champion?
For the Ducks, the downfall was they could not get the running game going.
Of course, it was easy to see that the offensive line was overmatched by the Auburn defense. The Ducks had not encountered any team with the size and speed of Auburn. The ability to close on running backs, keeping LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner in check, was key to getting their defense off the field and staying fresh for the entire game.
Darron Thomas almost single-handedly kept the Ducks in the game, making big throw after big throw. The two early interceptions didn't help, but in the end the score didn't reflect that as being any advantage for Auburn.
So, I congratulate Auburn on being the BCS Champion. Unfortunately, I personally don't believe they are the national champion (since there's no playoff).
In my humble opinion, I believe the TCU Horned Frogs are probably more deserving of that title. They played a much more difficult opponent, also ending the season undefeated.
The Rose Bowl teams looked a lot like the BCS Championship game, except the Horned Frogs' offensive line matched up with the Wisconsin defensive line.
Both teams were able to run the ball, with the difference being Andy Dalton's presence in the pocket. His ability to run successfully when needed and his superior play in the passing game proved to be the difference.
Dalton will be drafted as a quarterback in the NFL with all the necessary skills to be successful at the next level.
When examining Auburn against TCU, I can only come to the conclusion that if an NCAA Championship Game were played next week, TCU would probably be the winner by three.
Of course, that's a pipe dream and will never happen.
We'll just have to wait for next year and hope that TCU, now in an automatic qualifying conference, can repeat what they accomplished this year.
Of course, with the Horned Frogs playing in a weak conference, SEC and Big Ten fans will say they don't belong in the discussion because of their schedule—even if they win the Big East and go undefeated.
Sounds a lot like this year, doesn't it?