Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

It had to happen sometime

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Joe Biddle

Alabama had to lose a football game sooner or later.

The defending national champions went down and out with a flair. It was the most unpredictable fashion one could imagine.

A Nick Saban team lost a chance to win three straight national championships by not only missing a 57-yard field goal with one second left in regulation, but the Crimson Tide allowed a 100-yard return for a game-winning touchdown when the kick came up short.

It was comical seeing a herd of nine oversized Red Elephant linemen, many of them wearing knee braces, lumbering down the field in a failed attempt to catch Auburn cornerback Chris Davis.

Once he cut the corner and reached the left sideline, Davis could have run backward and not been tackled.

Not even Nick Saban could predict such a scenario. I blame him for even allowing his place-kicker to attempt a field goal that was out of his range. Saban should have opted for overtime and taken his chances before a hostile Auburn crowd. He couldn’t resist taking another bite of the apple.

So with Alabama out of the national championship picture, at least for now, how do we decide which two teams deserve to play for the crystal trophy?

Undefeated Florida State climbed into the No. 1 seat in all the major polls. They will play long-shot Duke in the ACC Championship Game.

Having voted on the Associated Press and now Harris Poll for years, it is a virtual impossibility to determine teams’ strengths by putting numbers and statistics on paper. Games are meant to be played on a 100-yard field, be it real or artificial grass.

Here’s what I think after watching games last weekend. I like Florida State No. 1. Going against the grain, I would pick Auburn as the No. 2 team. I know, Auburn lost a game earlier in the season. And, remember they need to beat Missouri in the SEC Championship Game to get a seat at the BCS Championship Game table.

I know, Ohio State fans. Your beloved Buckeyes are No. 2 now in the polls. I know they are undefeated. So is Northern Illinois and they aren’t considered Big Game worthy.

On the night Alabama lost, Ohio State beat rival Michigan by a point in the final seconds when a two-point attempt resulted in an interception. Michigan was 7-4 before the game, 3-4 inside the Big Ten. Michigan scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, had 31 first downs to OSU’s 23. OSU piled up 393 yards rushing while Michigan had 451 yards passing. On third down conversions, Michigan was 8 of 14. Ohio State converted 3 of 8. Ohio State won the game.

In the Conference Football Power Ratings, the SEC is No. 1 with a 42.8 rating while the Big Ten jumped from fourth to third last week with a 35.1 rating.

Auburn’s lone loss was at LSU. LSU is now 9-3. It leaves me to wonder how Ohio State would fare in Death Valley. In the NCAA RealTime RPI rankings, Ohio State’s strength of schedule rating is No. 147. Auburn’s is No. 46, ahead of FSU’s No. 94.

What if Auburn loses to Missouri, or what if Ohio State loses to Michigan State? Ohio State may have two key players suspended, as they were ejected in the Michigan game. One is a starting offensive lineman, the other a kick returner.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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