Tuesday, January 11, 2011
If you thought this game (which had an over/under of 75) would feature 41 total points, a game winning field goal, 2 goal line stops, and the same number of turnovers as touchdowns, you should consider quitting your day job and betting sports for a living. This game wasn't the shootout predicted by the experts, but it was just as exciting.
And the big difference was Auburn's defense. Their line was able to come up with some huge plays, like a safety, like a goal-line stand, like pressure that resulted in an interception, and so on.
I think Auburn's rigorous SEC schedule prepared them for such a tight contest. In that league, especially in their division, you have to be able to win tough games against good opponents. Repeatedly.
Oregon averaged a 30.9 point margin of victory this season. Auburn averaged an 18.2 margin, which was inflated by a few blowout wins. The Tigers played 5 games decided by 7 points or less. Oregon played in 1 such game. That might make Oregon sound better, but in hindsight, it makes Auburn seem more capable of winning close games. At the very least, they came in with more experience in them.
It's not that Oregon choked in this close game, just that Auburn didn't play with anxiety in that last drive.
This is the 5th straight BCS title for the SEC, and their 7th overall. Don't forget, Auburn went 13-0 in 2004 and were excluded from the BCS title game, so it's almost like #8 for the SEC.
It was a great end to another interesting and thrilling season. Auburn's schedule was full of instant classics, and they deserve their Championship. There were a few loose ends, with an undefeated TCU team floating around. "Power conferences" like the Big East and ACC downright sucked this season. And radical realignment of all conferences seems to be on the horizon.
Ultimately, I'm happy that the stupid, jersey changing team from Eugene has one set of apparel they'll probably never don again.
This guy must feel like an idiot.
Although he's probably felt like an idiot before.
I hate using a French word on the heels of a loss to Montreal, but why not? The Bruins blew a 2-0 lead up there, then fall behind 2-0 to Pittsburgh, only to come from behind in the last few minutes. It's also reminiscent of November, when the Bruins rallied and beat the Penguins 7-4.
Mark Recchi knows when I'm thinking about criticizing him. I was considering doing so again. And again, he comes up with a big goal that shuts me up.
This game turned around much earlier than that, although there was no way to know it. After being penalized, and watching the Bruins give up a goal, Recchi was once again sent to the box. He even got an extra 2 for arguing. His teammates mounted a solid kill, keeping it a 2-0 game. I remember Savard in particular playing with intensity.
The B's got desperate late in the 3rd and ramped up their attacks. They earned a power play, and were seconds away from seeing it squandered when Chara blasted a knuckling slapshot past Fleury, who had been playing a hell of a game to that point.
12 seconds later, Bergeron makes a terrific pass to a driving Marchand, who knocked in his own rebound to tie it. Bergeron's been a force on offense, and has been ever since I started criticizing him. He's tallied 5 goals and 9 assists in his last 12 games. At the moment, he's the Bruins' most productive forward.
The Penguins have been struggling, and were without Crosby. Nevertheless, the Bruins showed good character in this win. They didn't give up when they fell behind 2-0. They didn't give up when Fleury stopped their best shots. They played with passion when they had to, and earned a nice win.
They host Ottawa tonight. They've got to start taking care of business within the Division, and they need to start winning at home. They can do both tonight.