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Sometimes everyone wins

Winning isn’t everything.   Whoever was the first to utter those words clearly wasn’t a football loving Southerner.   It is now four o’clock in the morning and I am somewhere over Arizona flying back after the BCS National Championship Game, where my beloved Auburn Tigers fell in the final seconds to the #1 FSU Seminoles.
The truth is, however, that following this heartbreaking loss, Auburn fans have to feel good on so many levels about this year’s football team.   There isn’t an honest Auburn fan alive that would have ever predicted the Tigers would be playing in the Rose Bowl for all the marbles.
Anybody that is a college football fan is already aware of the story of Florida State’s domination of opponents and of Auburn’s sense of destiny.  The luck didn’t run out on Auburn tonight, they just got beat at the end by the best team in the land.  
However, Auburn made FSU earn every bit of that Crystal Ball they held high after the game.  For that, I am proud.  The fans treated each other with respect and everyone seemed to enjoy the beautiful weather, especially since our friends back home were enduring a thirty year low in temperatures.
This was the first time in BCS history that both teams in the Championship Game had to travel over two thousand miles to play each other.   In this case, they almost all had to pass through Atlanta.  Orange and Blue or Garnet and Gold both totally dominated the LA airport, prompting quizzical looks from many passengers arriving from overseas.
There was something almost surreal about hearing “War Eagle” over and over as we strolled along Rodeo Drive.  I doubt there has been so much orange worn at one time on the streets of fashion conscious Beverly Hills in its history.
The 2013 Seminoles lost a host of starters and several coaches off the previous year’s team.  They were ranked 11th in the pre-season polls. Their rise to the top is well deserved and something that will be talked about by their faithful for many years to come.
The 2012 Auburn football team suffered the worst record in sixty years on the Plains and in reality it was worse than that.  Auburn fans have savored these past few months and are just as proud of their team’s many accomplishments as if they had won it all.
The loss stings because we were so close.  But then, Auburn won the crown in 2010 by kicking a field goal with only two seconds left on the clock.  Now we know how it feels to win and lose the championship in the last few seconds of the game.
I congratulate the Seminole Nation on their undisputed crown as the best team in college football.  I congratulate the Auburn Tigers on their amazing transformation into undisputedly one of the best teams in America.
I also congratulate my son-in-law, Daaron Vanstone, and my grandson, Henry, on their team’s victory.  I am sure there will be plenty of Garnet and Gold around our house for a while.  Wait until next year.
It doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes everyone wins.
Dan Ponder can be reached at

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