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Outside » Outside Features

The Best We Can Do?: The anticlimactic ending to an otherwise dynamite bowl season

The anticlimactic finish we all knew was coming.


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The extra point, meaningless at this point in the game, clanked off the upright. There was a confused hush in the stadium, the television announcers fell silent and in the room in which I was watching the All-State BCS National Championship Presented by Professor Snoozington's Boredom Tonic™, I wasn't the only individual to laugh.

"That kind of sums up this entire affair," is what uninterested parties seemed to be saying.

Trent Richardson had just rumbled 34 yards down the sideline for the only touchdown of the 120 minutes of play that LSU and Alabama had engaged in during the past two months. Finally, one of these two "defensive powerhouses" (which is code for "mind-numbingly tedious team to watch, unless you attended or live near said team") had reached the end zone, but then the shanked extra point brought us back to a reality in which two teams from the same conference and same geographic region were playing (again) for a share in a championship that almost no one believes is actually legit.

The college football season had come to a close in a punishingly uninteresting display of offense that resulted in LSU crossing into Alabama territory only twice. And the game was essentially over when they did even that. For all intents and purposes, this was a blowout, but not the sort of Boise State.-in-the-Las-Vegas-Bowl, let's-see-how-far-we-can-throw-the-ball-before-we-go-get-drunk, maybe-we-can-break-some-records sort of blowout. It was a systematic dismantling, performed with the sort of precision and grace the South believes itself to represent. It was as perfect as a defense has been in any bowl game...and that's worth noting.

Still, it was boring. And we knew that would be the case going in. The first time they played, LSU won by the baseball-appropriate score of 9-6. In overtime. This is part of the reason the television audience was the second worst for a championship game in the BCS era - we knew we weren't going to see much on the scoreboard and it's been a bowl season (and a season as a whole) that's put plenty on the scoreboard.

College football fans (except for those who only recognize the SEC as "college football") have come to enjoy and subsequently expect outrageous displays of scoring. In this bowl season alone, we saw Washington and Baylor slug it out to combine for 123 points, a Rose Bowl with 1,000 combined yards from scrimmage and more firepower than a Die Hard sequel, and a West Virginia team that put 70 up on the board. Want more? The Fiesta Bowl finished with Oklahoma State edging out Stanford 41-38 and in something called the Ticketcity Bowl, Houston's Case Keenum passed for 532 yards.

It's been a winter of big numbers in a season of big numbers and so why wouldn't we come to expect the alleged best two teams in the country to also give us more big numbers? So you can understand why number (and touchdown) junkies such as myself feel like they're sitting amid a mountain of wrapping paper suffering from the worst case of Day After Christmas Syndrome in recorded history.

That was as anticlimactic of an ending to the football season as most of us can remember. But here's the thing, fellow football fans: maybe we've become spoiled by the spread offense and its sexy cousin, the pistol. The big numbers and dazzling big-yardage plays have made us jaded lovers of 400-yard passing performances and wide receivers who rely on an offense that puts them "in space." Maybe that's why we're so let down. We've been wooed all season and then when two old-school programs play some old-school football, we don't know what to think of it.

That could be the case. But it was still boring... unless you live in Alabama, of course.

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