Let’s play a game of “what if.”
I’ve already done it once today; I saw that Eva Longoria Parker is soon to be just Eva Longoria again. That got the old imagination running wild, and next thing you know I’m sipping on a maitai with a Desperate Housewife on a Miami beach.
I know, I’m a dreamer. And if you’re going to dream, dream big.
So let’s make this more relevant to you.
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is mired in a controversy surrounding whether his dad, or someone representing his dad, asked prospective schools for wheelbarrows of money in exchange for Cam’s services. It’s a big enough deal that the FBI is investigating the thing.
There are a lot of requirements that would have to be met, and nothing would be done by the NCAA until said investigation is done with, so Newton is probably safe. The only thing that seems a realistic threat to the quarterback is if Auburn itself decides to suspend him. And with a No. 2 ranking in the BCS and the bitter taste of 2004 still in the Tigers’ mouths, don’t expect that to happen.
But we’re playing “what if.”
So let’s say the week before the SEC championship, the FBI uncovers evidence that allegations the Newton family was represented by somebody looking for cash turn out to be true. Don’t worry about the details, but the bottom line is the NCAA strips Newton of his eligibility.
Really, forget about the details. “What if” doesn’t concern itself with details; I’m not even crazy enough to come up with details regarding how I could end up dating Ms. Longoria.
So Newton is no longer a factor for the Tigers. Let’s say they still win the SEC Championship over South Carolina and in this assumption, they beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl as well. So Auburn is 13-0 and either No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS standings and bound for the national title game.
Or are they?
If word comes out that Newton is ineligible, Auburn is no longer Auburn. I don’t think anybody would argue he’s the sole reason the Tigers have had the success they have; he’s been simply unstoppable this season. Lord knows it’s not the defense doing the heavy lifting.
Regardless of the win over the Gamecocks, the coaches and Harris Poll voters know Auburn is not a national title-caliber team without Newton taking the snaps. Do they now drop the Tigers below Boise State and TCU?
Before you say no, there’s evidence it happens. Just look at NCAA basketball seeding. Cincinnati lost Kenyon Martin in 2000 and dropped its seeding from what was expected. Just a couple of years ago, St. Mary’s’ Patty Mills was hurt for a good chunk of the end of the season. The Gaels were a great team with Mills, and because he didn’t look great in returning for the WCC tournament, St. Mary’s watched March Madness from home. Losing your star players affects the perception of your team.
And if both the BCS-impacting polls decide to drop Auburn, does that give Boise State enough of a push to get that No. 2 ranking? The Broncos will have beaten a 6-3 Fresno State team and gone on to beat No. 18 Nevada on the road by that time, which no doubt will have helped their computer assessments.
All of a sudden, we have Oregon playing Boise State in the BCS national championship. The country would be ringing with the combined sounds of outrage and celebration.
You’d have to imagine the proponents of the BCS would be giddy. The system works! Utah and its antitrust suit can go to hell! And there’s no worry about ratings or attendance; this isn’t as much of a reach as the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Anybody with a pulse and access to a TV would watch the game; it’s David and Goliath, but this time for all the marbles.
Of course, there’s the whole camp that hates Boise’s blue turf and strength of schedule and thinks it’s a travesty this could happen. The complaints would be unbearable to hear.
And heaven forbid the Broncos win. Then there’s nothing flawed with the system and if a team’s really good enough and deserving, it will make the title game.
Maybe it’s a blow to any backers of an FBS playoff system. Maybe it’s not. But Boise State playing for and potentially winning the national title would change everything.
And from then on, Cam Newton would be known as “The Man Who Saved the BCS.” I also imagine Auburn disbands its football program due to Charlie Brown-like luck when national titles are concerned.
Alas, as it is, that scenario happening ranks somewhere in between me finding a job after graduation and me becoming Eva’s trophy husband: there are ways it could happen, but it’s really just a pipe dream.
On the other hand, I got to meet Erin Andrews and Michelle Beadle this fall. So if you dream enough, eventually something has to give.
That’s the fun of playing, “What if”?
Adam is a senior majoring in journalism and hypothetical situations. Think Newton could be the in Boise State needs to win a title? Email him at [email protected] or Tweet @adamjsholt.