Auburn University Tigers' head coach Chizik celebrates after his team scored a touchdown in their NCAA college football game in Atlanta

Non-AQ hopes dashed as Auburn, Oregon roll on to Glendale


Don’t be alarmed; that sound you just heard was the rush of air being released from TCU’s party balloons.

A day that began with the notion in some corners that at least one or possibly both of the top two teams in the nation could go down in defeat — thus opening the door for the Horned Frogs to crash the big boy table at the title game — ended the exact same way it started.  Auburn and Oregon unblemished, unscathed and on an early January collision course for Glendale.

And, honestly, the outcomes were never really much in doubt.  Nor, for that matter, are their respective crystal credentials.

Oregon had perhaps the “toughest” time of the two today, leading in-state rival Oregon State by just nine points at the half then outscoring the Beavers 21-10 in the second half to come away with a worse-than-it-looked 37-20 win.

Auburn, on the other hand, left little doubt as to the outcome, especially in the second half.  After crushing South Carolina’s soul at the end of the first half, Auburn proceeded to grind the Gamecocks’ manhood to a bloody pulp in the second half, outscoring USC 28-3 to win going away.

(As an aside, and, speaking of winning going away — which we will do in a bit — is there any way you could not give the Heisman to Cam Newton in a landslide?  Just give the man the trophy now and save everyone the hassle of working their way through the ungodly New York City traffic.)

In the end, and as much as I hate to admit it given how much I despise the system, the correct teams will be playing in the BcS title game.  If you look at Auburn’s and Oregon’s complete body of work throughout the entire 2010 season, they are the two teams most worthy of a working vacation in Arizona.

Sure, you could make a case that either Stanford or Wisconsin are playing better football at this point in the season — and they would be the two schools that serve as this season’s microcosm of the dire need for a playoff — but the totality of the work of the two teams that will face-off in the title game should be unquestioned.  They did it on the field and under criteria utilized by the current system that determines the national champion.  Bottom line.  End of story.

While I will continue to rail against the BcS, I won’t impugn what those two schools accomplished this season.  They are the worthiest of the worthy and deserve the shot at hoisting the crystal.  They’ve more than earned the right.

Absolutely nobody should take that away from them, regardless of the crap system that got them there.

Steve Spurrier discusses retirement; Gamecocks name Shawn Elliott interim coach

Steve Spurrier

Odds are pretty good Steve Spurrier has coached his final game as the Head Ball Coach, but Spurrier let it be known he is not going to go away quite as easily as you might think. Spurrier addressed the media today as South Carolina made its transition between coaches official. Spurrier noted he is resigning as head coach, but he is not necessarily retiring. As previously reported, Shawn Elliott will take on the role as interim head coach of the Gamecocks effective immediately.

The first thing Spurrier wants to remind everybody is he is not retiring. This is simply a resignation from his current position. Spurrier left the door open to possible options down the road for him in his post-coaching career. The idea of Spurrier walking away from the football world never to be heard from again is a startling one, so it is good to know he is not going to let that happen.

“College football is a game of recruiting, as well know,” Spurrier said when assessing why it was right for him to leave his job now. “That’s another reason I need to move on. I don’t know if coaching is completely over or not. It is fun being on a team. I might be a consultant for someone. I doubt if I’ll be a head coach again, but who knows?”

Spurrier said he realized Sunday the time to walk away was now and explained he always knew he would need to step aside the moment he saw himself holding the program back. That echoes the sentiment he has shared over the years, especially when asked about coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden as they each got up in the years. This season South Carolina is off to a 2-4 start, so the writing was on the wall for Spurrier, who also said it was in the best interests for all if an inevitable change was handled immediately.

“We’ve slipped. It’s my fault. I’m the head coach,” Spurrier said of South Carolina’s recent struggles.”We haven’t lost it. We’ve got a dang good team.”

“Our team is not in shambles despite what some might say,” Elliott said when he was given a chance to speak to the media. “We’re going to do everything we can to make the University of South Carolina proud of this football program.”

Elliott will now have the rest of the season to show what he can do as a head coach, and he knows this will be a bit of an open audition for the job as South Carolina starts searching for its next head coach.

Mark Dantonio quickly tosses aside South Carolina discussion

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.

He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.

“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network

Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.