What To Watch: Auburn's Magic Beans
By Steve Barnes
So we have made it to Championship Weekend and there is one question still out there: Does Auburn have enough magic to do it again?
Against its last two opponents, Gus Malzahn has pulled out the pixie dust and miracles occurred. First, he tossed out some magic beans and made a pair of Georgia look like Uga — thumbless. Next against Alabama, he rubbed the belly of some ancient statue and for one second made Nick Saban look like Lou Saban (I still see the “They’re killing me Whitey, they’re killing me,” clips on ESPN.)
Is there anything else in the Tigers’ magic bag this week for the SEC title game against Missouri?
A couple of days before the game last week, I was at a friend’s house and her mother stopped by. Mom is a big Auburn fan and asked my opinion on the Iron Bowl. I told her I thought Alabama would win by 20 points. She responded she did not think Auburn would beat the Tide, but then again, she thought it would lose to Georgia too.
This one is for my friend’s mother since I seem to be one of Auburn’s lucky charms. I will pick Missouri to win in the Georgia Dome.
GIVE IT TO HIM NOW: Now that Jameis Winston will not be charged with sexual assault, he is going to win the Heisman unless he does something incredibly stupid in Charlotte. He will be Florida State’s third winner, joining fellow Seminoles quarterbacks Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke.
A cool fact: Each of those players was a two-sport athlete with the first two playing professionally in other sports. Weinke was in the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor league organization before playing at FSU, Ward ended up playing for the New York Knicks. Winston is an outfielder and pitcher for the 'Noles.
Another cool fact: Should he win, the will be the third winner from the Birmingham area. Pat Sullivan went to Birmingham’s John Carroll High School and Bo Jackson is from Bessemer, a town on the outskirts of Birmingham where Winston also hails. I can’t think of another town with two winners.
Finally, Florida State can be proud, but not the state of Florida. Each of those three players hails from outside the Sunshine State. Winston from Alabama, Ward from Georgia and Weinke from Minnesota.
Oh, there is that pesky little fact each name begins with a “W."
SPEAKING OF FSU: Florida State is about a four-touchdown favorite to beat Duke on Saturday. That is a pretty high spread, but look for the Seminoles to cover. They will score at least once on defense or special teams.
THE NOLES' PASADENA FOE: If Ohio State wins, the Buckeyes will face FSU in the BCS championship game. All that is standing in front of it is Michigan State. Sparty has one of the best defenses in the nation, but be honest, with its schedule, Ohio State has not had to show one-third of its playbook. Book that flight West, Buckeyes.
Even if Auburn crushes Missouri and OSU squeaks by Michigan State, I don’t think there are enough magic beans in the pouch to build a beanstalk high enough for the Tigers to climb and pass Ohio State.
Be very glad, Buckeyes. If not for the onion-skin schedule, you would not be here. In fact, if you were in the SEC West, you’d probably finish third behind Auburn and Alabama. Maybe even LSU if you weren’t ready.
A LITTLE DESERT LOVE: Arizona State is hosting the Pac-12 championship game when Stanford comes to town. Nationally, all the Sun Devils were known for is getting a little help from the officials to beat Wisconsin and giving Pat Haden a reason to throw Lane Kiffin off the USC bus.
Look for the Devils to use the home field to its advantage and earn a bid to the Rose Bowl.
Speaking of USC, now that Ed Orgeron has resigned from the Trojans’ program, they might suffer a tad. He was a favorite among many of the players and with scholarship reductions still on the horizon, USC might be looking at Orgeron’s 6-2 finish as the good ol' days.
Orgeron will not be out of work long. He is a master recruiter and has a great offensive mind. Hmmm, I wonder if Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has made the call yet?