Look, I’m not a fluent observer of the BCS — which stands for Bowl Championship Series, as I understand it. I have hovered over it, read critiques of it from coast to coast, some righteous observations, some meanly critical.
We now move into the home stretch of the season, and most of us check the ratings and come to the hasty conclusion that the national championship will be played between Auburn and Oregon — that being the BCS Championship.
I should have paid closer attention to this scramble for domination, though it hasn’t been that much of a scramble. Oregon and Auburn have pretty much staked out their positions, in that order. Neither is strong on defense, but for that matter, defense has pretty much lost priority in college football.
Oregon has three foes left — California, Arizona and, the old traditional with Oregon State. Auburn has two, Georgia at home and its old traditional with Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Oregon plays Oregon State in Corvallis, and nothing can be taken for granted there. Georgia and Auburn? In Jordan-Hare Stadium?
The Tigers look like a cinch, though defense has not been one of their strengths this year. Chattanooga ran up 24 points on them last week, and on most any given day, the scoreboard in their games has been given a workout. And then there’s the surfacing gossip hovering over the head of their sudden quarterback ace, Cameron Newton.
Newton has been widely traveled, it seems. Frankly, I wasn’t aware that he had ever been at Florida, and now I read that he had been nailed for cheating while a Gator. We’d already read the flagrant charge that he had an “unofficial” agent marketing him about, upon which the Auburn coach, Gene Chizik, blurted out: “Cam Newton is eligible to play football at Auburn, and that’s all that counts,” or words to that effect.
Newton is a horse of a quarterback. I don’t know that I have ever seen one as tall, as huge and as quick as he. He’s built like a tackle and runs like a split end. And sorrowfully, I must admit I’d never heard of him before this season, which probably reflects more on me than my news sources. Now he comes forth with a couple of clouds hanging over his head.
There are other precincts to be heard from considering the BCS matter. What about Texas Christian? The match against Utah was forecast as an even affair, and the Horned Frogs left deep wounds in the high country. Then, Boise State can’t be left in the wilderness, though those guys played their hand too early. They upset Virginia Tech, but the next week James Madison let the air out of that balloon. Then they beat Oregon State, but most everybody beats Oregon State this season. And before it’s all done, LSU may poke its head in the fray.
In the long run, it might turn out that TCU is the best team in the country, but the Frogs will be playing in the Rose Bowl, not the BCS game. Come to think of it, that might be the best deal of them all.
Furman Bisher is one of the deans of American sports writing. The longtime Atlanta sports journalist is a member of the Georgia and Atlanta Sports Halls of Fame and in addition to his newspaper writing has authored multiple books on major figures like Hank Aaron and Arnold Palmer. He writes periodic columns for the Daily Post.