June 05, 2009
An offseason compendium of college football's small pleasures.
I'm an advocate of overtime (although not necessarily any existing iteration of overtime, pro or college) because the concept of a tie is fundamentally offensive; as an American, I can't accept it, and I expect my sports to reject it, too. In that respect, at least, the pre-OT days before 1995 -- an era that not only allowed ties but occasionally celebrated them -- were the dark ages.
But occasionally, for men of guts and gusto, they also facilitated the most dramatic moment in the sport: The two-point conversion to win.
If it wasn't an unwritten rule in the day, it should have been: With a chance to win or tie after a late touchdown, you take the chance to win. It happened twice within five years in the Orange Bowl, both times with the mythical championship on the line between old Big Eight powers battling an upstart from the Sunshine State. The gamble paid for Barry Switzer, and didn't for Tom Osborne, but woe be unto anyone who second-guesses Dr. Tom for taking a gamble in the same situation, on essentially the same play, into the same corner of the same end zone:
If there's one really good thing about the college overtime system, in fact, it's that it occasionally forces the issue after the third frame, if you can make it that far. But as Boise State proved in the most heart-stopping fashion imaginable, it's always better to take the initiative into your own hands when presented with the opportunity:
Or when you don't think you can hold up for another round overtime. But just like Dr. Tom, no one ever, ever would have blamed them for coming up a yard short.