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Did You See The Classic?

December 5, 2013

Alright, I am convinced. Alabama vs. Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl between the two Alabama schools is the best rivalry in college football. Michigan vs. Ohio State is fading as is Oklahoma vs. Texas. Last Saturday’s instant classic sealed the deal for me. 

Did you see the classic? If you did, where were you when “The Play” took place? Let’s review. It was a great game even before “The Play” took place. The game was tied at 28 apiece with one second remaining in regulation. Alabama, winners of 15 consecutive games and two straight national championships, attempted a 57-yard field goal. I am sure Crimson Tide fans were thinking - What’s the worst that could happen? Overtime? 

Few even had a thought that Auburn would put a player back near the goal post during the potential game-winning kick. I doubt few thought the player, Chris Davis, would catch the missed field goal and return the ball 109 yards for a game-winning touchdown. Just like that, game over. A game that will be talked about for decades to come. Almost forgotten was how top-ranked Alabama blew a 21-7 lead. Or how Auburn tied the game at 28-28 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Sammie Coates with 32 seconds left.  

What’s Next For Auburn? 

Just like that, Auburn can now make a legitimate claim to a BCS title game. Who would have thought it possible less then a year after the Tigers finished 3-9 and winless in SEC games. Last season, Auburn lost to Alabama, 49-0. 

Now they are 11-1, having put together six come-from-behind wins. Saturday marked the third time the Tigers have scored in the final 30 seconds when trailing or tied. They are 6-0 in games decided by six points or less. Watching these guys makes me think back a short time ago (2010) when Cam Newton and Auburn came out of nowhere to win a national title. 

There are still two obstacles out there for the Tigers to play for the national title. There are still two undefeated schools out there and both are ranked, for now, ahead of them. Florida State is ranked number one and Ohio State is number two. Both the Seminoles and the Buckeyes have to win their conference championship game this weekend to stay in the picture. Florida State will play Duke while Ohio State squares off against Michigan State. Auburn, meanwhile, will keep its eyes on those games while meeting Missouri in the SEC Championship game. 

There is already a great deal of talk that the Tigers should surpass Ohio State based on strength of schedule. The Buckeyes had a relatively easy schedule while Auburn thrived within the tough SEC. All three schools will be favorites this weekend so the controversy could start next Sunday.

Jhonny Peralta

What about Alabama you ask? For only the fifth week in the last 32 in the AP poll, the Tide woke up on  Sunday not ranked No. 1. For Alabama to get back into the top two both Ohio State and Florida State would have to lose their conference championship games next weekend.  

PED Guys Are Making Some Serious Cash 

There has been a lot written in recent weeks about the fact that players with PED histories are getting paid. There was Marlon Byrd who signed for $16 million. He barely made that kind of money over his entire decade-plus in the game. Then came Carlos Ruiz. He signed for $26 million. His career earnings prior to this year was $15 million. 

The story picked up even more steam last week when Jhonny Peralta, with around $30 million in career earnings to his name, picked up a $53 million contract from the Cardinals. There will be even more attention soon if Nelson Cruz, who has earned approximately $20 million in his career, actually gets the $75m contract he is seeking and will likely get. 

Carlos Ruiz

Critics are vocalizing thought on why those found guilty in recent months should be getting big contracts.

My question is, What is a team like the St. Louis Cardinals supposed to do? 

Peralta got $53 million because the Cardinals acted in the best interests of their team. They recognized a need on their roster, and determined that paying Peralta was the way to go. Their management is supposed to put out the best team on the field that he can, not police the morals of the sport. The best players are now always choir boys. If St. Louis did not sign Peralta, someone else would have. In fact, there are reports out there that he took less to play for the Cardinals. The deal makes St. Louis better. 

Nelson Cruz

I understand the emotional stance. Hey, the guy cheated. Why is he getting that kind of money? 

My answer to that is that he is getting paid because he served his suspension and there was a market for his skills.


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