Crimson Tide Comes Crashing Down

Alabama loses to Auburn in this year’s Iron Bowl.


MCT Campus

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands following the Auburn's 28-21 win in the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Friday, November 26, 2010. Auburn rallied from a 24-0 deficit to remain unbeaten on the season. (Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/MCT)

The much anticipated annual Iron Bowl was just a tad surprising this time around. Well, that is if you call a last second 109-yard field goal return for a touchdown to win the game a tad surprising.

Alabama only trailed twice in this game; Auburn scored the first and final touchdown of the game. How did Alabama- the greatest dynasty in college football- lose not only the Iron Bowl, but their presupposed spot in the National Championship game?

Alabama star quarterback AJ McCarron who threw for three touchdowns, including a 99-yard toss to Amari Cooper, tossed a dime and finished the game with an 81.2 total quarterback rating. Their star running back TJ Yeldon rushed for 141 yards and touchdown.

Statistically, Alabama should’ve won this game. They won the possession battle by nearly two minutes. The game was decided by a last second touchdown, so two minutes is about an hour in terms of the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide drove the ball 102 yards more than the Tigers.

But, for whatever reason, the great Nick Saban made the most controversial mistake in his coaching career. With one second left, Saban threw in a redshirt freshman kicker to kick a 57-yard game winner.

The possibility of a FG return for a touchdown to win was very slim. But a blocked FG return for a touchdown was a bigger possibility. That should’ve been enough to convince him to just throw the Hail Mary pass or just kneel the ball.

The fifty yard field goal had to be low to make the play. Low field goals tend to get blocked in college. A blocked field goal would mean a possible recovery by a fast guy. The guys that would be chasing him down are backup offensive linemen, backup tight ends, a backup quarterback, and a backup kicker. Who wins that battle? I’ll give you a hint– the very fast guy!

A Hail Mary has a chance at being intercepted, but with all the speed that the offense would have on the field, the chances it being returned for a game-winning touchdown are slim to none.

The worst thing you could’ve done in this situation is send out a freshman kicker. How many freshmen kickers can knock a 57-yard game winner? The answer: none!

Saban’s explanation for the risky move was that he hits sixty yard field goals. In practice. Someone get Allen Iverson to explain why that means nothing. In practice, you can control all the conditions. That doesn’t mean he can hit anything past 40 yards in a game. Not just a game, but the Iron Bowl of all games.

The only thing that could be worse is if Saban started McCarron’s backup in the National Championship game. Luckily, neither of them will make an appearance.