Occasionally, our college football reporters will give their takes on a burning question facing the league. They'll both have strong opinions, but not necessarily the same view. You can decide who's right.
After Saturday's amazing finish in the Big House, we got to wondering what's been the craziest miracle finish in college football of late. Was it Michigan State's prayer of a scoop-and-score by Jalen Watts-Jackson on a disastrous punt attempt? Or was it Chris Davis' Kick-Six at Jordan-Hare Stadium with a second remaining in 2013?
Both were fantastic, and both were improbable. But which one was the best/craziest?
Dan Murphy: All hope for the Spartans was gone. Fans were walking toward the exits, hoping to get an early start on the 111,000 others at Michigan Stadium. The television news crews were already outside taping their postgame reactions. Michigan had the game won. Then they didn't.
The swing from completely hopeless to completely overjoyed is what sets apart the Michigan State miracle from the 2013 Iron Bowl as the craziest finish in recent college football memory. At least Auburn fans still thought they had a chance. The 57-yard field goal attempt was literally a long shot, and overtime seemed like the most likely outcome as time wound down. Even the most optimistic of Spartan fans had to be resigned to almost sure defeat when Michigan sent its punt team onto the field with 10 seconds remaining.
So, yes, the stakes were higher for Kick-Six. And, yes, 109 return yards is, like, three times more improbable than 38 return yards on its own. But no distance can top the 0.2 percent chance that Michigan State had of winning, according to the ESPN Stats and Info gang, before the final punt went awry.
Michigan had controlled the game via special teams for 59 minutes. Punter Blake O'Neill had been a field positions weapon on his first seven attempts of the day, one of which went 80 yards. Even the hero, redshirt freshman Jalen Watts-Jackson, was unlikely. He had played only on special teams, unlike three-year starter Chris Davis from Auburn. Watts-Jackson fractured his hip on the final push to the end zone and won't return this season -- one more crazy footnote on a play that will resonate in Michigan for just as long as the Kick Six does down in Alabama.
Edward Aschoff: I'm sure I don't speak for the Michigan faithful when I say that Michigan State's finish was incredible to watch. You're right, that game was over and Michigan had it won. Honestly, I was only watching because the Florida-LSU game was on next.
BUT! For as crazy as Saturday night's shenanigans were, the Kick-Six was a magical play that left college football at a standstill because Davis snatched an SEC title, the No. 1 ranking and a spot in the national championship away from Alabama with speed, awareness and a cut to the left.
Plus, yours truly was mauled by a sea of blue and orange when Auburn's faithful rushed the Plains.
And let's just think about that play for a second. Nick Saban actually pleaded for a review in order to make sure Alabama had that last second so that he could throw Adam Griffith out there for the 57-yard attempt. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn then called a timeout to ice Griffith and to change personnel, switching Ryan Smith out for Davis -- just in case the kick went short.
Davis received the kick well short of the uprights, sprinted toward the middle of the field, cut down the left sideline and sprinted toward the end zone. But a lot happened in between that. For starters, DAVIS HAD TO RUN 109 YARDS! He also had to make it through 21 other players -- 10 of his guys and 11 of Alabama's. The blocking had to be perfect, and so did Davis. He also had to tiptoe down the sideline in order to stay in bounds.
Just let that set in for second. Davis had a lot more obstacles to get through compared to Watts-Jackson. Davis needed stamina, agility, speed and vision to gallop and jut to the end zone. Watts-Jackson just needed endurance and a couple of blocks to go 38 yards.
Both of these plays were ridiculously absurd, but when you think about degree of difficulty, circumstances and what was on the line, Davis' Kick-Six miracle was more magical and ludicrous than Watts-Jackson's heroic scoop-and-score.
Vote here for which game had the better ending.