Most of America got what it wanted on Saturday.
That’s not to say America hates Ohio State or loves Auburn. Neither of those is accurate.
It’s simply to say this: In the final year of the BCS, most of the college football universe wanted to see the best team in the nation take on – and, depending on what region you’re from, take down – the best team in the SEC.
Sure, a Florida State-Ohio State game would have signified the end to the SEC’s unprecedented streak of seven consecutive BCS championships. It would have also been anticlimactic and would have left some doubt.
When Michigan State upset the Buckeyes, it gave to the nation a tremendous sendoff for the BCS.
The Spartans gave college football “The Behemoth vs. The Best of the Best.”
Florida State, the Behemoth, ran through its regular-season like Auburn through SEC defenses.
Jimbo Fisher’s team has been so dominant that nobody has been within one score of it during the fourth quarter this season. Opponents have been within two scores of the Seminoles for just 10 minutes, 3 seconds of game time during fourth quarters this season.
There’s no question that Florida State, led by near-certain Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston, provides a real challenge to the run of SEC dominance.
That is, of course, unless you ask the more arrogant elements of the SEC.
Critics will point to a perceived weak schedule Florida State played this season as evidence that the Seminoles haven’t been tested. (It should be pointed out, though, that FSU defeated three teams currently ranked in the top 25.)
In the same eyes of those same cynics, even FSU’s best win – a dominating road victory at Clemson – took a hit when the Tigers lost by 14 points at South Carolina.
Auburn, meanwhile, came through the gauntlet of the SEC. The Tigers navigated a closing stretch of games against Georgia, Alabama and Missouri, finding – neigh, creating – ways to win games.
Auburn missed South Carolina in the SEC, but played the rest of the best teams in what many believe to be the best conference.
And when your league has captured seven consecutive BCS championships, it has earned the right to call itself the best in the nation.
Hence, Florida State – The Behemoth – against Auburn – The Best of the Best.
With exception to those in Columbus, Ohio, this matchup between Florida State and Auburn gives the nation what it wants.
SEC fans get a chance to wrap up a BCS era that led the league into unquestioned prominence with an unfathomable eighth consecutive title.
SEC haters, meanwhile, get to see arguably the greatest team to oppose the vaunted conference in a title game match up against an Auburn team many believe has lucked its way into its position.
Well, mostly everybody, anyway.