Nick Saban, the head coach at Alabama, once remarked about his team's involvement in the 2013 BCS National Championship that "that damn game cost me a week of recruiting."
The seasons don't really end or begin. They blend together a calendar of events and moments and decisions that don't always have dates attached.
Tonight, Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner will play his final college football game. In four months, he'll be drafted by an NFL team. The program he currently plays for began recruiting him six years ago at which time the starting quarterback of his Florida State team was just 13 years old. Back then, Bobby Bowden was still coaching the Seminoles. He would forever as he had since 1976. About a month ago, Joyner watched that quarterback, Jameis Winston, win the Heisman Trophy becoming only the second freshman ever to do so. Jimbo Fisher is the coach at Florida State now. Twenty years ago, he was a budding quarterbacks coach at Auburn.
Time tends to get muddled in college football. So while we can enjoy the game tonight for a singular performance of football capability, it's the result of a million forks in the road that got us here. And it never, ever stops.
|Name||Pos||Yr||School||3k's proj. round|
BCS National Championship; Pasadena, CA
#1 Florida St. vs. #2 Auburn (ESPN, 8:30pm)
|Cameron Erving||LT||RS Jr.||Florida St.||1|
|Kelvin Benjamin||WR||RS Soph.||Florida St.||1|
|Lamarcus Joyner||CB||Sr||Florida St.||2|
|Timmy Jernigan||DT||Jr,||Florida St.||2|
|Telvin Smith||OLB||Sr.||Florida St.||2-3|
|Terrence Brooks||FS||Sr.||Florida St.||2-3|
|James Wilder, Jr.||RB||Jr.||Florida St.||2-4|
|Christian Jones||ILB||Sr.||Florida St.||2-4|
|Terrance Smith||LB||RS Soph.||Florida St.||2-4|
|Bryan Stork||C||RS Sr.||Florida St.||3-5|
|Rashad Greene||WR||Jr.||Florida St.||4-5|
|Nick O'Leary||TE||Jr.||Florida St.||4-6|
|Demonte McAllister||DT||RS Sr.||Florida St.||6-UD|
|Chad Abram||FB||Sr.||Florida St.||UD|
|Ronald Darby||CB||Soph.||Florida St.||NA|
|P.J. Williams||CB||Soph.||Florida St.||NA|
|Mario Edwards, Jr.||DE||Soph.||Florida St.||NA|
|Jalen Ramsey||DB||Fr.||Florida St.||NA|
|Chris Crasher||DE||RS Fr.||Florida St.||NA|
|Nate Andrews||S||Fr.||Florida St.||NA|
|Ukeme Eligwe||OLB||RS Fr.||Florida St.||NA|
|Jameis Winston||QB||RS Fr.||Florida St.||NA|
|Greg Robinson||LT||RS Soph.||Auburn||1|
|Dee Ford||3-4 OLB||RS Sr.||Auburn||2-4|
|Sammie Coates||WR||RS Soph.||Auburn||5-7|
|Jay Prosch||FB||RS Sr.||Auburn||6-7|
|Kris Frost||ILB||RS Soph.||Auburn||7-UD|
|Chad Slade||G||RS Jr.||Auburn||UD|
|Avery Young||OT||RS Fr.||Auburn||NA|
|Alex Kozan||G||RS Fr.||Auburn||NA|
Florida State is incredibly talented. It's why they're #1 and why they've rolled opponents with ease all season. That being said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they're in position to deliver a ton of talent to the professional ranks. Erving, Benjamin and Wilder are all personal favorites; I might have all three atop their positional big boards as it stands right now.
For Auburn, it's a season of dreams. They've been within inches of missing out on this one a couple of times, so they certainly didn't reach tonight's collegiate apex with the ease FSU did. So no, they don't offer the NFL-ready talent the Seminoles do. But Rams fans will absolutely want to get a clean look at redshirt sophomore standout left tackle Greg Robinson.
It is, in a sense, quality versus destiny. It is the head of college football against the heart.
Tonight we say goodbye to the BCS in an appropriate matchup that nods to what college football was and always will be with a taste of tomorrow. It's a goodbye, so it's not joyful. But it's not tearful either.
No matter what happens tonight, this season has been wonderful. We've got four months to gauge just what the hell happened and who best to pluck from the chaos of the NFL's minor leagues before training our eyes on the next go round, because tonight, this damn game is costing someone a week of recruiting.
For that, I'm thankful.