I didn’t find out that Auburn had won until this morning.
That’s because I turned off the game midway through the 3rd quarter and headed off to bed. Granted, I was tired and I’m looking at a long day of work today and needed the sleep, but that’s not something that ever kept me from seeing the end of a “title” game before. So what was different last night?
There’s certainly a lot of factors. The lateness of the starting time (the clock was ticking towards midnight as the game struggled towards the finish line) certainly didn’t help. But it would have been a lot easier to not steal glances at my clock if the game had been a better-played contest. For two teams that were supposed to clearly be the best two in the country, the game was anything but exciting — at least what I watched of it before hitting the play. Of course, if you like penalties, turnovers, mistakes on both sides of the ball, and failed drives — well, there were plenty of those to go around in the game’s first three-plus quarters.
The incredibly long layoff had a lot to do with that — you know, the thirty-seven days between their last games and the game last night (a travesty considering the hypocritical nonsense the NCAA uses about wanting to keep players studying as a reason to not have a playoff) — but what went through my mind on more than once occasion before I finally gave up on the game was — Maybe these two teams aren’t the best two in the country?
They definitely didn’t play that way. Last night was just more proof positive as to why, so long as the mega-conferences continue to deny a true playoff and deny schools like TCU this year a chance to fairly and legitimately compete for a title, the idea of
Auburn [Title To Be Vacated in 2014] as a truly deserving national champion is a bad joke. I won’t even go into the whole mess surrounding Cam Newton and what the NCAA’s unwillingness to make a tough stand now regarding his entire eligibility does to the legitimacy of [Title To Be Vacated in 2014]’s claim to being the nation’s best — but I’d be lying if it didn’t give me one more reason to turn off the television happily last night. (It seems I missed Cam Newton embracing his agent father at the end of the game, despite Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs telling reporters beforehand that Cecil Newton Sr. would not be in attendance by mutual agreement — another strong indication that, when it comes to the truth, neither the Newtons nor the school’s officials are going to be the place to find it).
Unfortunately, as long as the masses didn’t join me in abandoning the game sooner, true reform in the ranks of NCAA football won’t be anywhere on the horizon. The good news for me as I get older, however, will be that there will be one less night I’ll have to worry about staying up late to see the ending of a game.