(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)
Just like every other sports fan in America, I tuned into the granddaddy of them all Wednesday night, the (fill in corporate sponsor here) Rose Bowl. The national championship game was being hyped as possibly the greatest college football game ever played in the hours leading up to kickoff.
I sat down in front of the tube expecting something less than spectacular and was pleasantly disappointed.
Through the magic of DVR, I managed to catch every play – except for USC’s second touchdown of the third quarter – and was mildly shocked when the ‘Horns ended the Trojans 35-game winning streak.
(Although I have to admit that I was telling anyone who would listen that if it was close at the half it would be anybody’s game.)
I’ve said it before and I’ll have to write it again: Reggie Bush’s Heisman was a flat-out joke. After this paragraph I will try and refrain from mentioning his name again, but DeAngelo Williams could run circles around Bush.
Forgetting that nameless Tiger for a while, Bush wasn’t even the best player on the field Wednesday night. Anyone who watched will tell you that Vince Young looked like the most unstoppable player ever, as he rushed for over 200 yards and threw for over 200.
Matt Leinart didn’t have a great game, but he was better than Bush, ditto for LenDale White.
Bush constantly tried to run to the outside Wednesday, where the speed of the Texas defense was there waiting for him all night. A true Heisman winner would have taken it straight to Texas, instead of running for his life to the safety of out of bounds.
One of the few times he did bust one, he forgot that he was just named the nation’s top running back and tried a lateral while he was being tackled, which was promptly recovered by Texas.
White had more carries, more yardage, and more touchdowns than Bush, who managed a measly 13 carries in his final collegiate game. (And there’s no doubt he’s declaring for the draft, due to the fact that he prepared for the Rose Bowl by interviewing prospective agents.)
Young proved to the country Wednesday night that he just might be the next great NFL quarterback. The way he played against the Trojans, any NFL GM would be ignorant not to pick him, regardless of who is currently under center (except for maybe Peyton Manning).
If he comes back, Texas will be the team to beat again next season. And hopefully the BCS will luck up and get it right again and have an epic showdown like Wednesday’s on tap for the next national title game.
Don’t get me wrong the BCS is still flawed, and they benefited greatly from a late-season Penn St. loss, but if there was a number one and number two match-up like Texas and USC every season, people would forget how attractive a playoff system would be.
What a fitting end to a great college football season. It’s a long time until next fall, but at least we had Wednesday’s instant classic to sate us until next September.