First post of the new year will probably start off very one-sided, but I will dig deep into my soul to find the necessary line between objectiveness and subjectiveness. However, I tend to put my heart above my appearance as an objective writer. I will, in no way, disregard my beliefs just to make an audience listen. My blog is here for me to express my thoughts and opinions, and regardless of how many people may read it and agree or disagree with it, I am accomplishing what I've set myself out to do with this platform.
Auburn University. National Champions in college football. It was one of the greatest moments in my life of sports. I've been an Auburn fan since I was a little guy, and to finally see them win a championship is wonderful. However, it saddens me that the entire country doesn't feel the same way, as multiple sports writers went right to the computer to post their take on "how long will Auburn keep their championship" and to chronicle the current status of the Cecil Newton saga. Those writers get the readers, but that is what they are paid to do. I am not paid, and the only benefit I receive out of writing is a sense of accomplishment, that I was able to coherently express myself in the best way I can. I am not going to continue on using this post to bash the media that decides to write pessimistically on Auburn's amazing feat, but I will congratulate the team, as a whole, and who I saw that made impact plays throughout the game.
First of all, Cam Newton was not the best player in the game. He was the leader, and he kept the team in the game, but he never looked comfortable for extended amounts of time, and not because the offensive line was not blocking, but Oregon's defense did very well in taking away his running options when there was no receiver to get the ball to. Cam missed on a few plays, but one game doesn't tarnish his season as the nation's leading passer in efficiency. He connects on long balls, he connects when there is room, but there were a few he did miss on. NFL scouts, whether he had a perfect game or the game he ended up with, will account for the multiple times he led his team back into a game, namely the Georgia game, where he only threw the ball 17 times, and every one of those passes would have been caught on a normal day for his receivers. His two touchdowns to Philip Lutzenkirchen were two of the best touchdowns he threw all season - tight window, and a throw that could have been mistaken as a ballistic missile - on target and on a line. His game against Alabama and South Carolina, 30-48 (62%) 551 yards, 7 TD, and passer ratings greater than 200, along with 36 carries, 112 yards, and 3 TD, he accounted for 10 TDs and 663 yards in two of the biggest games of his career.
But, like I said, Cam Newton wasn't the best player on the field that night. Michael Dyer, the offensive MVP, with a bruising 143 yards on 22 carries, and nearly had the go-ahead TD with 0:10 on the clock. His run to setup the offense well in field goal range was the play of the game for sure.
The best player, whether the nation likes him or not, was Nick Fairley. He was the focus of the Oregon offense to keep him out of the backfield, but that didn't work. When one player gets singled out on defense, yet still impacts the game, not to mention leading the Auburn defense to hold the nation's leading rusher to under 50 yards and 3.8 yds/carry. Kirk Herbstreit mentioned him being as dominate as Ndomakong Suh, and he may very well be. Suh is also regarded as a dirty player, even still in the NFL, yet he is more than likely the Rookie of the Year for Defense in the NFL and will probably be the most dominate defensive lineman in years to come. I do think his discipline after a play will have to tighten up, and I imagine that the NFL would break him of the late hits and cheap shots, but Suh has been flagged and fined this year for his hits, although questionable calls. The NFL will crack down on him more than the NCAA did and hit him in the pocketbook - that combined with the rough nature of the NFL should change his habit of cheap hits after a play.
Auburn's National Title will always be under question, regardless if the NCAA does allow them to keep it. People will always speculate. The media will always find the dirty laundry, and that is their job, disgusting as it is. The facts that matter is Auburn won the game on the field, and just as USC won their game on the field, regardless of 1 ineligible player for 100. I am confident Auburn will not be found in the wrong with Cam Newton remaining eligible, because Auburn is where my heart as a sports fan lies.