Rivalry Week had some exciting drama

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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College football’s Rivalry Week did not disappoint. There were a few pretty spectacular upsets.

It’s impossible not to go straight to Auburn’s 48-43 win over Alabama. Watching Nick Saban have a rage stroke because he didn’t get his way was as close as it gets to Christmas coming early. However, I think once Saban went back to watch the tape, he took a few notes on the tricks Malzahn pulled—namely, the final penalty of the game.

Auburn lined up with 11 guys on the field on fourth and four with less than two minutes left in the game. Only thing is, the punter was lined up at wide receiver and Bo Nix was still lined up under center. This threw off Bama, who sent a punt returner out onto the field despite having 11 guys lined up already. Substitution penalty, five yard for Auburn, Tigers win.

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It was a pretty brilliant move. Saban was sick after watching his kicker doink the game-tying field goal, but he was physically disgusted when Auburn got the five yards they needed to seal the deal. For the first time in years, there will be no Alabama in the postseason.

I’ve heard and read a lot of Bama fans having smug reactions to the cheering the rest of the country is doing over the Crimson Tide’s loss, a lot of the “You hate us cuz you ain’t us” kind of stuff. It’s true, Alabama is a great football school with lots of historical and recent success. But when if you cheer for a team as successful as Alabama has been, you have to take the licks when they come. And they always come, sooner or later.

Odd years at Jordan-Hare Stadium, in November, where strange things always seem to happen. The Tigers have some magic dust sprinkled on that field.

Unfortunately, most of the other rivalry games didn’t come close to the level of action and drama as the Iron Bowl, but some are still noteworthy.

Another upset was Virginia over Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers have had a great season, by their standards. There was a historic win over Florida State, after which the field was rushed (whether the win over a historically bad Noles team deserved to have the field rushed is still up for debate), being ranked for the first time in years, beating the instate rival and the chance to have its first 10-win season since 1989.

As the ACC Coastal Division winner, the 9-3 Cavaliers have to endure a pummeling from Clemson in the conference championship game. I really don’t see a world where Clemson lets Virginia stick around in this one. The Tigers have to destroy the Cavaliers, leave absolutely no room for doubt, to stay in the playoff conversation.

But fortunately for Virginia, it won’t end there. There is a lot of talk that the Cavs might end up at a New Year’s Six Bowl, possibly in the Orange Bowl.

Way up in the frozen north, on a blustery, snowy evening, Minnesota’s row boat got stuck in the middle of a frozen river. Wisconsin won back Paul Bunyan’s Axe from the Badgers in a game where Minnesota looked awfully disappointing. After all this hype and “buying in” talk from the team and media, it’s a shame we won’t get to see this team take on Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship. Instead, Wisconsin will have the privilege of getting whacked by the Buckeyes for the second time this season.

This upcoming weekend has three conference championship games I’m really interested in: The Pac 12 with Utah (6) vs. Oregon (14), the Big 12 with Baylor (9) vs. Oklahoma (7), and the SEC with Georgia (4) vs. LSU (2). Lots of playoff implications within those three matchups! I’ll be back Saturday to talk about ‘em.