Jameis Winston ended Auburn's improbable turnaround season Monday night with a career-defining drive. The Heisman winner hit Kelvin Benjamin for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining and Florida State won the national championship 34-31 inside the Rose Bowl.
Let's get this out of our system and move along...
Congrats to FSU on the win but I have to say last night's out come was a win/win for myself and most 'Bama fans.
1. FSU didn't look like the other worldly team ESPN and FSU fans made them out to be. They struggled for 3+ qtrs against an average at best Auburn defense. 21-3 felt a lot worse. No one should be surprised that Auburn was able to move the ball and score points on FSU but the way the Tiger D handled the FSU offense was impressive and also telling. Winston was rattled for most the game and it took a bit of luck for them to pull out the win. Again, credit FSU for doing something Alabama couldn't but at least now the FSU IS THE GREATEST ALL TIME talk is over.
That makes me happy.
2. Give the Auburn players and Gus Malzahn all the credit in the world. I know that's a hard pill to swallow for 'Bama fans but everyone expected FSU to take Auburn to the wood shed and the Tigers refused let that happen. You don't have to congratulate them or support them but at least give them some credit for making a game of what should have been a blow out.
In the end, as I watched Auburn's D dominate the 1st half, I couldn't help but wonder what could have been. Auburn's pass rush and press coverage were the difference in the game and you have to believe Alabama would be able to duplicate their effort. 'Bama struggles against offenses like Auburn's (and now we know so does FSU) but we are built to stop a team like FSU. BUT Alabama didn't take care of business when they had the chance and we are left to sulk in possibilities.
My question for FSU is can Jimbo win without Winston? The FSU offense, and even perhaps the entire team, clearly runs through him and if Winston doesn't play well they struggle to merely move the chains, let alone score touchdowns. If FSU some how wins back to back championships, look for Jimbo to ride Winston's coat tails all the way to a NFL job...
For Auburn, only time will tell if Gus can continue this magical run. Word is a few of the junior defections (Mason, Robinson) that were "guarantee" early entrees are thinking of coming back for another run. If that happens, expect Auburn to be hell on wheels next year. If they leave, all bets are off.
The flurry of instant analysis was endless throughout the Seminoles' 34-31 win, and a number of Alabama players participated in the fun.
Some quality trolling by our players. Funny how fans take team allegiance to an unhealthy level yet the players have a bit of perspective on who to cheer for...
"We want 'Bama" echoed as Alabama coach Nick Saban and the rest of ESPN's College GameDay crew went through the highlights of the Seminoles' 34-31 victory over Auburn.
Are you sure about that FSU? After last night, I'm not so sure...
The fourth-year junior earned his degree this fall and is already considered one of the top linebackers in the country. He plans to announced his intentions Wednesday. The deadline for underclassmen to declare their eligibility for the NFL draft is Jan. 15. “I have all the information i need to know what step I’m going to make,” he wrote. Hubbard followed with: “Talk bad about me im still a beast and bring more to the table then most but hey tune in Jan 8.” Another post said: “Im always the dark horse.”
Other Alabama juniors considering leaving early are safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan and offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.
Not surprising to hear Hubbard is contemplating leaving for the NFL. After-all, what would another year at 'Bama really prove? If he's already grading out near the top 2-3 rounds why stick around and risk injury?
If all four players leave early my anxiety level about the '14 defense will jump up a few notches...
At 6-7, Alabama holds a losing record as it opens SEC play Tuesday against Vanderbilt, but the Crimson Tide considers itself battle-tested. The grind of SEC play, where the Crimson Tide has been best under Grant, might not feel as arduous after the past two months it just experienced. "You can always look at a win and feel like you've made progress, but the biggest thing is we've had a very challenging non-conference schedule," Grant said. "With that, you learn lessons, but at the same time, winning always breeds confidence. It always gives you momentum.
Grant simply cannot afford to lose this game against Vandy. His seat is currently cold but something tells me if the team starts of the SEC slate with a few losses things will start to warm up. Hope for the best..