Well, that hurt pretty bad, but, you know what? When you keep kicking yourself in the butt, you can’t complain about having bruises on your backside. And Bama kicked itself right out of an opportunity to win a second consecutive SEC championship AND a third consecutive BCS title. They have no one to blame but themselves.
You knew this was going to be a tough game. The Barn has never been more excited than it has been this year. The Wargles were playing the season of their lives and getting some amazing breaks along the way. Seriously, the way this team has been winning would be enough to make John Calvin write a treatise on “Luck.”
But “luck” had nothing to do with their victory on Saturday. Rather, the blame must be laid on:
1. Bad passes by AJ in the first half (overthrown and under-thrown tosses cost the Tide time and again)
2. Dropped passes by Bama receivers. When AJ delivered the ball, passes were dropped for first downs or (arggh) touchdowns.
3. Illegal procedure penalties by the Tide’s line. We can’t stand these sorts of penalties, but one cost the Tide the only field goal that Cade Foster made all day. The offense and defense looked out of sync for most of the game.
4. And, of course, missed field goals. Missed opportunities. One of the three going through, would have won this game. Just one. And there would have been no need for the 56-yard attempt with .01 second left in the game.
The turning point in the game came after AJ’s 99-yard pass to Cooper putting the Tide ahead 28-21. Twice the champs had the ball in the scoring zone and both times failed to get any points. A field goal attempt by Cade Foster was kicked low and blocked. A fourth and one on the Auburn 13, was stuffed. Critical. Crucial. Deadly. If you want to continue to be the champs, you must make these plays. Pure and simple.
Bottom line: Coming into this game you knew that the team that made the fewest mistakes and made plays at critical moments would win. Alabama had the chance to put the game away – and failed. Auburn took advantage of every opportunity afforded to them . . . and won.
In any case, the worst part of this whole business is that this might mean that the SEC’s run of seven straight national titles might be over. If Florida State and Ohio State (clearly the worst team to go undefeated for two straight years in college football) win their conference championship games next Saturday, Awbarn (or Missouri) will be left out of the BCS game – and that’s perhaps the biggest tragedy of all.
The SEC is, in spite of its weaknesses this year, still the best conference in the country and there should be no serious debate about that. But that means that it is incredibly difficult to get through a season undefeated. And when you have a better than average team in one of the worst than average conferences (the ACC or B1G), you run the risk of having the best teams shut out of the championship.
Oh well, at least next year, we’ll have two or three SEC teams in the championship playoffs. So, good times may well return very, very quickly.
But if you’re an Alabama fan, it’s hard to be upset with this team. It’s always frustrating to lose a game you should win, but really, going through an SEC season, taking the best shot that every opponent can give you, it’s very, very difficult to win them all. But they came about as close as you can come to doing just that. So, congratulations guys.
And Roll Tide!