I’m sold on the SEC. It can no longer be ignored.
Auburn won the BCS national title game in Glendale, AZ Monday night, recording the second national championship for Auburn since 1957. It also marks the 5th straight championship won by a team from the SEC. The previous 4 winners were Alabama ’10, Florida ’09, LSU ’08, and Florida ’07. Those championships were won against the PAC-10, the Big 12 (twice) and the Big 10 (twice).
Over the last 5 years, the SEC has broken away really as the powerhouse conference that puts together amazing programs filled with future NFL talent. With the Big 10 and Big 12 clearly slumping this season, Oregon shot to the top of the ranks with their quick pace and high energy offense. Many writers and analysts, including myself, believed Oregon to be an unbeatable team because of how productive their offense was.
Well, Auburn certainly put a leash on Oregon’s offense, just as Oregon was able to adequately slow down Cam Newton. In the end, Auburn’s defense overpowered Oregon’s smaller players and limited the Ducks to just 75 yards rushing. Oregon was able to tie the game late in the 4th quarter after LB Casey Mathews forced a fumble from Cam Newton.
The dagger of the game came on a rushing play from Auburn RB Michael Dyer. With just over a minute to go in the 4th, game tied at 19, Auburn rushed Dyer to the right. He was wrapped up and brought down to the turf but the whistle never blew. The Auburn sideline yelled for Dyer to continue running. Replay later showed that Dyer’s knees, nor shoulders, nor any body part that would end the play touched the ground as he was tackled. Instead, he rolled over the defender and kept his feet, allowing the play to continue.
That run put the Tigers in field goal range with just seconds left in the game. Coach Chizik decided to call a run play up the middle. Dyer got loose again and was tackled on the 1 yard line with 10 seconds left. I still don’t know why the Oregon defense didn’t just let Dyer score to leave 10 seconds for the Ducks to score and tie it. You tackle the guy on the 1 yard line, and they can now run out the clock and kick a last second field goal.
Exactly what Auburn did. The kick was good as time expired and the “unbeatable” Ducks were cooked. The SEC, like them or hate them, now has a track record to rival the best dynasties in the sports world. Until the NCAA champion doesn’t come out of the SEC, how can you argue that the SEC isn’t the best overall conference?