Auburn is the undisputed National Champions of College Football. Best team in the country. Despite all the criticism of the defense, the coaches, the quarterback, and the university, Auburn is the best, and there is nobody that can say otherwise anymore.
The analysis of this game by the so-called 'experts' have left so much out it amazes me. How these guys actually get paid to be this incompetent is beyond me. I wish I could fail as miserably at my job and still keep it. Let's look at everything:
First and foremost, all we've been hearing all year is 'Auburn can't win without Cam Newton!' 'Cam Newton is the only reason they win!' 'Gene Chizik can't coach!' 'Their defense sucks!' We've been hearing it from commentators, sportswriters, and especially, Bammers. Well, the Auburn football team, the ENTIRE team, simply gave them all the middle-finger salute Monday night and proved them all wrong.
Before I write this paragraph, I have to say that I love Cam. I have no reservations about him NOT carrying us through more than one game this year. I also have no delusions that we would be undefeated national champions without him. However, in my humble opinion, Cam had his worst game of the year Monday night. It was partially due to him taking a hard hit and not being 100% for the entire game, but even when he was healthy, he still wasn't the unstoppable force he had been for most of the year. The 40+ day layoff will bear some of the blame, as will the jitters, but in the end, Cam was just a run-of-the-mill 'GOOD' quarterback Monday night. He really didn't play much better then Darron Thomas, who played a very poor game. With Cam only being 'good', instead of the inhuman, unstoppable, Superman-esque version of himself that we've been used to seeing the entire second half of the year, it was quite a letdown. At the end of the day, he got the job done. His stats, while not the eye-popping numbers we've seen all year were still quite good. Over 300 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns is not a bad day's work for any QB in the country. But think back to what we've been used to seeing over the past 7 or 8 games and compare it to Monday. Lackluster, isn't it?
Overshadowing his 2 touchdowns and 300+ yards of offense were the turnovers, mistakes, and lack of execution that we haven't seen from him all year. Auburn won the game by 3 points. Had Cam not made the mistakes he made, it would have been at least 3 touchdowns, maybe more. He didn't handle the blitz very well, he missed several wide open receivers on crucial plays, 3 of which were darn near sure touchdowns, and he turned the ball over twice, one time at a very crucial point in the game. Cam hasn't done that all year. He's come in when they needed a miracle, and has delivered. He's been unstoppable, unflappable, and darn near perfect. He wasn't Monday night. While he still had a good game, and still made the plays needed to win, he wasn't Batman. He was more like Robin. Still a superhero, but not 'THE MAN'.
The whole point I'm trying to make is that on Monday night, even though Cam Newton wasn't Superman, Auburn found a way to win. The TEAM found a way to win. Yes, that's right Bammers. All those guys that you have no respect for, the porous defense, the no-name receivers and backs, the big uglies in the trenches that never get any of the credit, they stepped up and beat the best team from the PAC-10, and the 2nd best team in the country. WITHOUT CAM NEWTON CARRYING THEM. All those guys that you say can't win without Cam Newton proved you wrong Monday night. Cam, although still definitely good, was very human. And for once this year, the rest of the team carried HIM. Cam wasn't forced to win the game himself on Monday. He didn't have to. The defense won the game.
Huh? The defense?
Yes, that's right. The porous, depthless, weak defense that nobody respected and gave a chance SHUT DOWN the #1 offense in the country. Oregon was held to more than 200 yards below their season rushing average, and more than 25 points less than their season scoring average. I'm sure if anyone had told Chip Kelly before the game that Auburn was going to score 22 points, he'd have gone straight to Vegas and bet everything he owned that Oregon was going to win that game. Hell, I might have done the same thing. And you know what? We'd have lost everything.
The defensive line spent the entire night blowing up every running play that Chip Kelly could conjure. The secondary, while making a few mistakes and getting beat a few times, pretty much blanketed Oregon's highly touted receiving corps and made every yard they gained tough. Even when they got burned a few times they never quit. They outran them and made touchdown saving tackles. They didn't miss when they were one-on-one. They didn't allow Oregon's receivers to get out of their clutches even when a catch was made. The linebackers were all over the place. They blitzed with reckless abandon, covered when they needed to, and were instrumental and helping the front 4 contain Barner and James. Let's not forget, Oregon was also the best red-zone team in the country. Auburn's 54th ranked defense forced 2 turnovers, a safety, and shut them down from 1st and Goal on about the 4 yard line on a crucial drive. The most effective that Chip Kelly was at moving the ball all night was on gimmick plays and big-risk plays. Oregon's mighty offense was reduced to nothing more than a few marginally effective tricks. Their highly publicized fast pace of play was a non-factor, since a large number of their drives were only a few plays resulting in a punt. I've heard people nonstop the last 2 days asking over and over why Kelly tried 4 straight runs on that 1st and Goal inside the 5 yard line. The answer is quite simple: It had been working for him all year long! At least until Monday night that is.
One thing we can't forget is the man who brought this all together, despite uneducated wannabes such as myself who condemned his hiring as the dumbest move in the history of Auburn football. That man is Coach Gene Chizik. These players, this staff, this season, is all his doing. He is the man that brought all the cogs and gears into place of this great machine. From day 1, despite all the criticism, he has done everything right. He's recruited relentlessly. He went out and got the best support staff in the country. He hired Gus Malzhan, and even more so, he was smart enough to recognize the man's brilliance and leave him the hell alone to let him do whatever he deemed necessary on offense. His coaching is apparent in the defense's night-and-day improvement as the year has gone on. He is the man that got the Tigers ready to play every single week, despite all the controversy and criticism surrounding the program this year. He is the man that lead this team to comeback wins against 4 very good teams this year, including a 24 point deficit on the road against the defending national champions. And finally, he is the man that got the team ready to play and win on the biggest stage in college football, in the biggest game in college football, for the biggest prize in college football, all after 40+ day layoff in which the team was bombarded from every angle with distractions from the Heisman, to the Broyles award, to the Lombardi award, to the Home Depot Coach of the Year award, and everything else in between. Gene Chizik can't coach? If you think that, you are a functional idiot. Quite simply, you have no business walking upright. Go back to the zoo. Yes, that's right, I'm talking to YOU, Bammers.
Oh, and by the way, Gene Chizik is now 8-0 in bowl games dating all the way back to being a graduate assistant. The man knows how to win the big ones. Maybe Bob Stoops should take lessons from him.
Auburn is the best team in the country. That's right, the best TEAM in the country. No matter how much anybody wants it to be true, Cam Newton is not the only reason. He's a very large part of it, no doubt. But is he the only reason? No way. Was Reggie Bush the only reason USC was that good? Was Mark Ingram the only reason Bammer was that good? Was Tim Tebow the only reason Florida was that good? No. If you think that, you are simply deluding yourself. Now, on the same line, if you take any of those guys away, does that team win the National Championship that year? Probably not. What's the point? The point is, as large a focal point as they are, they are simply part of the TEAM. They are one gear in the machine. I know, if your team didn't win, you're looking for any excuse to make yourself feel better. But it's time to face facts. Auburn University is the National Champion of football. They are the best team in the country.
And Monday night, they did it without Superman.