The disappointment is palpable.
Nebraska had Texas. Had them. Ndamukong Suh was a destroyer of worlds all night, leading an annihilation of the Texas offensive line by racking up 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles and helping the Blackshirts earn that title again by holding the Longhorns to 202 yards of offense and harassing Colt McCoy into three interceptions. The Nebraska offense, terrible all night, still managed to get 43 of their pathetic 106 yards of offense on a drive in the late fourth quarter that culminated in an Alex Henery field goal to put the 'Huskers up 12-10.
Then it got crazier: A kickoff went out of bounds, putting Texas at their 40 with plenty of time to drive for the field goal. And then it got crazier: After Texas drove to well within Hunter Lawrence's field goal range, they eschewed using their last timeout on a third down, instead opting for a bizarre play designed to leave one second on the clock after McCoy threw the ball away. Except the clock ran out on ABC's broadcast, and the BCS chaos proponents stopped dancing only after a replay restored the second.
It wouldn't get crazier. Lawrence put the kick between the pipes. Texas won, 13-12, and barring unlikely poll uprisings by TCU or Cincinnati, will join Alabama in Pasadena to play for a national title. They finished a great (read: tense, not particularly well-played) game that topped a fantastic day of college football: If we count the de facto Big East title game between Cincy and Pittsburgh, four of the day's five conference championship games were decided by a total of 13 points. (In the fifth, Alabama played maybe the best game of football a college team has this year.)
All is said and done now, and an often-exasperating season gave us one last exhilarating Saturday to remember. But with Texas' win, what seemed like the best ever hope for an outcome that forced substantive changes was lost. And it would be hard to not take that as a loss tonight, unless you're wearing burnt orange.â†µ
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