Throughout the BCS era - which thankfully will come to an end less than 2 weeks from now (not that the next era will be any less aggravating) - life has not been fair for the teams in the smaller conferences. If you played in the Mountain West, Sun Belt, CUSA, MAC, or (prior to 2013) WAC, you were automatically deemed inferior to the teams in the 6 major conferences even before each season began, no matter how good your team was. And to have any chance of earning a trip to one of the big money BCS bowl games, you not only had to win your conference, you had to go undefeated as well. This year there were a couple of teams that threatened to be BCS busters. Fresno State made it to Week 14 before falling at San Jose State; and the other .....
Northern Illinois overcame the odds last season, earning a trip to the Orange Bowl; but the Huskies won't be appearing in a 2nd straight BCS bowl. Coming into the MAC championship game with a 12-0 record, NIU fell - hard - to Bowling Green 47-27. It was the first MAC title in 21 years for Bowling Green. At 9-3, the Falcons didn't have the sparkling record, or the Heisman candidate, or the hype that NIU had. But their 21-20 loss at Mississippi State in Week 7 proved they were no slouches. And they came into the game with a ton of momentum, having outscored their previous four opponents by a margin of 176-17 since suffering their only MAC loss 28-25 to Toledo in Week 9. Included in that run was an impressive 24-7 win on the road against Buffalo in a Week 14 showdown that clinched the MAC East Division title.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
...... asked CBS announcer Gary Danielson - incredulously - as Alabama lined up to attempt a 56-yard field goal on the last play of the game. If successful, the kick would give the Crimson Tide an SEC West-clinching 31-28 victory over Auburn. But since the Tide had already gone 0 for 3 on much shorter FG attempts earlier in the game, Danielson, yours truly, and likely thousands of others watching were wondering what on Earth had possessed Coach Saban into believing this attempt would end up any better than the previous three.
Well, as you probably have heard, this attempt didn't end up better than the previous three - it actually went even worse. Not only was it not long enough to be good, it in fact was so short that Auburn CB Chris Davis was able to catch the ball in the back of the end zone and proceeded to return it 108 yards all the way to the house at the other end of the field (photos on right) to give the Tigers the victory, 34-28, in one of the most amazing finishes to a game you'll ever see. In case you somehow haven't seen the play (or you just want to see it again) here it is on a video from the Auburn website: