Bitter Tide fan laments loss

Published 4:55pm Monday, December 2, 2013

I’m still disappointed by the outcome in Auburn on Saturday evening.

It was a great game, but I really was shocked and admittedly saddened by the way it ended.

Auburn has completed one of the best turnarounds in the history of college football. The Tigers were winless in the SEC last year and now, with one loss, will represent the division in the championship game in Atlanta. A win there and a slip up by Ohio State, or a much less believable Duke win over Florida State and the Tigers could find themselves in the last BCS National Championship.

It has been a truly remarkable year for the Auburn family, but enough about them, let’s talk about ‘Bama.

I’ve had an uneasy feeling about this Crimson Tide team all year. I fretted when they went down 14-0 to Texas A&M, worried early in the second half against LSU and was disgusted by the performance against Mississippi State.

I did predict a three-point Tide victory in the Iron Bowl and I’ll own that, but I didn’t respect Auburn’s defensive prowess and certainly didn’t see a 108-yard return touchdown off a missed field goal being the concluding play.

Win or lose, I still didn’t see the Tide beating Florida State for a national title, although without Jameis Winston the ‘Noles are a bit less formidable. We’ll have to see how that shakes out.

There’s plenty of blame to go around in the Iron Bowl loss, but let’s not put too much on the shoulders of Cade Foster. Sure, he’s a kicker and kickers have one job on the team, but his misses were more indicative of a tight Alabama team as a whole.

Early on, A.J. McCarron and the Tide offense couldn’t keep its momentum going, which resulted in stalled drives. Also, the Tide defense gave up the first points of the game on a 45-yard running play by Nick Marshall.

The whole team was tight and it showed. Auburn, on the other hand, looked loose and ready, which was the product of having an unexpectedly great season and a week off.

Nick Saban made some questionable coaching decisions that helped lead to the upset. A 57-yard field goal attempt with a second left, and not having the proper coverage for a run back, were just two of the failures in his “process.”

Looking back, I wish that second had just ticked off and we would’ve had a chance at overtime. At the very least, I was hoping we’d leave the balance of the game in McCarron’s hands to throw a bomb to the end zone.

Let’s also give the Tiger defense some credit. Alabama scored 21 points in the second quarter, but outside of that and a beautiful 99-yard hurl from McCarron to Amari Cooper, the offense was ineffective at scoring.

It’s unlike Alabama to stall on the opponent’s side of the field, so Auburn deserves some credit for that.

With all due respect, however, I can’t pull for Auburn next week in the SEC Championship. I hope Missouri runs over the Plainsmen and beats them at their own game. Sure, I’m bitter, but I did preface it with “with all due respect.”

If Auburn wins and everything else happens like it should, I wouldn’t be opposed to watching the Iron Bowl all over again in the Sugar Bowl in January.

 

Dale Liesch is a news reporter for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at dale.liesch@atmoreadvance.com

 

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