When Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed last-second field goal 109 yards (100 officially) for the game-winning score against Alabama, the shockwave was felt from Tuscaloosa, Ala. to Columbus, Ohio. The nation’s No. 1 team had fallen. The now third-ranked Tigers punched a ticket to the SEC Championship Game. The door was finally open for No. 2 Ohio State to get to the BCS national title game.
Just as thousands of overjoyed Auburn fans rushed the field and celebrated the greatest ending to a game in the history of college football, maybe in any sport, Buckeyes fans likely danced in the streets, rejoicing in their good fortune. But Auburn’s win could be a double-edged sword for OhioState.
Sure, the Buckeyes have the one thing Auburn doesn’t – an undefeated record. But the Tigers’ resume is much stronger than Ohio State’s. The Tigers’ strength of schedule ranks 16th (NCAA) and 26th (Sagarin), while the Buckeyes’ falls well short at 80th and 61st.Auburn has 10 wins against bowl-eligible teams. Ohio State has seven.
Oh, and Auburn has the one thing no other team can boast – a win over Bama. Ohio State can deny the fact, but let’s face it, these Tigers have legitimate claim to play No. 1 Florida State in the BCS title game, assuming the Seminoles take care of Duke in the ACC title game.
And the campaign to see Auburn jump to No. 2 and into the national title game started before the first Tigers fan’s foot hit the Jordan-Hare turf. The argument is simple. One-loss Auburn should get the nod ahead of unbeaten Ohio State because, well, S-E-C! S-E-C!
The same goes for one-loss Missouri, at least according to Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs.
“An SEC team can’t get left out of the (championship game) with one loss,” Jacobs told USA Today in the afterglow of the Tigers’ upset win of top-ranked Alabama. “We just beat the No. 1 team in the nation, and a team ahead of us struggled today, I understand,” the AD said, referring to Ohio State’s one-point win over hated rival Michigan on the road.
“And a one-loss SEC team that wins in Atlanta— if it’s us or Missouri— you can’t get left out of the BCS after you beat the No. 1 team. We have a better argument because we beat the No. 1 team. … It’s already happened in 2004, and it would be a disservice to the nation if we got left out.”
If the somewhat mind-boggling magic, miracles, luck and good fortune the Tigers have already enjoyed this season (to go along with some great football) are any indication, they’re anything but out of the national title picture, even if Ohio State beats No. 10 Michigan State in the Big 10 title game.
Auburn is looking more and more like the team of destiny. Should the Tigers take down No. 5 Missouri, there’s a real possibility they’ll get in the title game. They wouldn’t be undeserving.