Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm having trouble thinking of a better finish, ever

One of the college football polls is obligated to award the BCS winner the national championship, but here's hoping -- if one-loss Florida defeats unbeaten Ohio State next week -- the voters in the other poll seriously consider the undefeated Boise State Broncos for national champions.

It's not like there isn't a precedent for this sort of thing. In 1984 BYU won a national title despite its lack of a major conference schedule. And BYU's final win was in a pre-Christmas bowl game against a 6-5 team while, last night, Boise State defeated the Oklahoma Sooners -- a team that may have been one horribly blown call away from playing for the national championship -- in a New Year's day bowl.

Furthermore the 1984 BYU team was probably made up of 25-year old post-mission Mormons and the enormous, middle-aged Samoan slaves they brought home. 2006's scrappier underdogs come from a school that has been competing on the Division 1-A level for less than a decade, play on an iconoclastic blue-turfed field, feature a rookie head coach, and seem to operate under the delightful delusion Boise is a state.

But it was the decisions that the rookie coach made in the waning moments of regulation and overtime that make the Broncos the feel-good-story of the college football season and the could-be-should-be national champions.

Maybe it wasn't that big of a risk to pull out the hook and lateral -- which the Bronco players later revealed has never worked in practice -- on fourth and 18 with 16 seconds to go in regulation: What else are you going to do?

It's just not everyday it goes for a 50 yard touchdown and a tie game.

Then, down by a touchdown again in OT, why not attempt the halfback option pass on fourth down? You're already deep into the house's money.

When that also works for a touchdown, there is really no other choice but going for two and the win.

And, while you're at it, call for an exotic Statue of Liberty play to give what was already a spectacular finish the potential to become a legendary one.

Boise State's star running back Ian Johnson took the hand off from the small of the QB's back and then sprinted into the corner of the end zone for two points and the most exciting big game comeback I've ever seen.

Then Johnson, sensing what a tidal wave of momentum he was riding, went to the Boise State sideline and proposed marriage to the Broncos' head cheerleader.

She excepted with a flurry of tears that would make Brett Favre proud. Although I do suspect the proposal wasn't completely out of left-field, it still must have been extra special because, at that point, if Johnson had gone to the other sideline and proposed marriage to the Sooner's head cheerleader nobody would have expected anything less than the improbable yes.

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