We have had some interesting bowl games the past couple of weeks and I have enjoyed watching a lot of them, but for me all of those are taking a backseat to the BCS Championship Game with Auburn being involved this season. That is the game that really interests me.
The Southeastern Conference West Division was obviously the stronger part of the league this year and that has been evident in the bowl games. What happened with Alabama and Mississippi State on New Year's Day goes to show they have outstanding football teams, but I think the opposition had a lot to do with the lopsided wins for the SEC teams in those two games.
The SEC certainly had a good chance to make it clean sweep vs. the Big 10 in this bowl season. Going into the Sugar Bowl, I thought Arkansas had a really good chance to beat Ohio State. Arkansas certainly had plenty of opportunities to make that happen, but the Razorbacks couldn't make just one more big play when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter after missing plenty of golden opportunities throughout the game.
I was really impressed with the way TCU played against Wisconsin in Rose Bowl. I am not sure if the game would have gone another quarter that TCU would have been able to hang on and win. It looked to me like TCU timed it out just right--60 minutes of good football is what they had in them and that is all it takes.
TCU didn't prove to me that it is a national championship caliber team, but the Horned Frogs showed they are one of the better teams in the country despite playing in the Mountain West Conference, a league they are leaving to join the Big East.
I would put Stanford in the same category with TCU as one of the really good teams in the country, a team that on a given day could beat just about anybody. Stanford's quarterback, Andrew Luck, was out of sight and it makes it more impressive that Cameron Newton beat him out for the Heisman Trophy, an honor the Auburn quarterback certainly was deserving of winning.
It looks like there are going to be a lot of Auburn fans making the trip to Arizona. As much as the players, coaches and the fans want the Tigers to win the national championship, it is still just a game and life is going to go on if you win or lose. You have to be prepared for either one happening. You can't get too high if you win or too low if you don't.
Coach Gene Chizik
I do expect the Tigers to perform well on Monday night against a very good Oregon team that will force Auburn to play very well to bring home the national championship trophy. I like the way Gene Chizik has developed his team this season and he is the type of coach who will likely have his Tigers ready to play one of their best football games, something that happened at the SEC Championship Game when we last saw the Tigers in action.
From the mailbag:
War Eagle Coach!
I was 9 years old when you were named Auburn's head coach. I was 10 when I became an "Auburn Man." I will be 38 when I make the trek to Arizona to watch Auburn win their first undisputed national championship in my lifetime. I wanted to take the time to thank you for the role you have played in making Auburn a force to be reckoned with in the nation and for giving Auburn an even playing field against Alabama forever.
War Eagle and God Bless!
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.