Last Saturday brought one of the most thrilling slates of college football games in recent memory, headlined by Auburn's miraculous 34-28 victory over Alabama and Ohio State's dramatic 42-41 win over Michigan. The results added to an already unpredictable 2013 season and suggested that more chaos may be yet to come. Senior writer Andy Staples took stock of all the craziness for the cover story of this week's Sports Illustrated.
Auburn cornerback Chris Davis, who returned a missed 'Bama field goal 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired, is the national cover. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who accounted for five total scores in the Buckeyes' victory over the Wolverines, graces the front of regional issues.
Back in August we thought we had all the answers. Johnny Football would challenge to be the second two-time Heisman winner. Oregon would rip through the Pac-12 in spite of a coaching change. And, of course, Alabama would tack on yet another national title. Auburn wasn’t even in the conversation. Well, college football has once again reminded us that each year brings new stars, slumbering giant programs that wake and return to glory, and finishes that make us shut our eyes tight, open them again and scream for a replay to prove we hadn’t dreamed what had just happened.
Staples' story puts last Saturday's improbability into national context, spanning from Auburn to Columbia, Mo., to an unforgettable bus ride just outside Delaware, Ohio. He also touches on the politicking that will ensue -- and has already started in some circles -- as teams make their case for inclusion in the final BCS title game.
Championship Saturday features Ohio State-Michigan State, Auburn-Missouri and Florida State-Duke showdowns, among others. The outcomes will help determine which team ultimately hoists the crystal trophy, but don't expect them to stick to a script. Writes Staples:
College football never fails to surprise. So don't pretend to know what will happen on Saturday.