UPDATED – December 2, 2013
Auburn wanted Bama, and they got them. The Tigers put themselves in a position to win in the 4th quarter while Alabama failed on numerous occasions to close the door and put the game away. Playing not to lose is rarely a winning equation in football, but that’s exactly what the Tide did time and time again in the final period. The result? Auburn took advantage of their opportunities (and the refs not calling 4 blockers downfield on their tying touchdown pass…sorry Aubies, it’s just true) and Bama did not.
So, big things await Auburn before this season is finished, and I for one am rooting for them. The turnaround has been phenomenal, and if you love college football, it’s hard not to shake your head in amazement.
Can they sustain that success? That’s another question. Sustained success has never been a permanent resident on the plains. But in the here and now, here’s to the Tigers in their final outings of the year.
Now to the record-breaking article that garnered over 150,000 facebook shares (thank you to you all for your interest!)…
There’s been a common theme in college football this year. It’s been an attitude more than a theme, really. An idea among football programs literally coast to coast.
Now to the record breaking Capstone Report post that has now topped 150K views and over 100K facebook shares…
“We want Bama.”
Bama. The standard to which all programs aspire. The very personification of perfection and dominance, 105 strong, all wearing cleats and a game time mad-on.
The team who even when they aren’t at their best avoids “pulling a Stanford” and rolls to victory. The team who has had its ticket punched in more “Games of the Century” than any other program in recent history. The program who hasn’t lost a road game since early October 2010.
Across the state, Auburn has had an amazing season. A complete turnaround from a year ago, when blowouts were on the menu week after week, and the Tigers were the entree. Sitting at a most improbable 10-1, Auburn owns a season (as usual) of weird turns and twists. They say it’s better to be lucky than good, and the man who coined that phrase had to do so as his butt was planted on the cold bleachers of Jordan-Hare stadium. There is no luckier football program in the history of college athletics than the Auburn Tigers.
And Saturday night, on a 4th and 18, as the Auburn QB (who could not successfully strike the broad side of a barn three times in a row if given sunrise to sunset) heaved a final prayer as far as he could, Auburn luck struck again. Placed perfectly by a poorly trained DB in his bread basket, the only way the heave couldn’t have been completed is if Ricardo Louis didn’t have arms. He didn’t even really need hands. And with that early Christmas present…
“We want Bama.”
We know you do Auburn, or else you wouldn’t have put our name permanently on the back wall of your football meeting room before the season. Who else does that? But now, eleven games later, and literally everything riding on the line with four quarters standing between you and a season of achieved fantasy, in 13 days, you get Bama.
You get the Crimson Tide, who has been breathing and living on the thin, rare air for the better part of six years…air you’re just now stepping into. You get the team whose defensive backs are trained to swat away hail marrys rather than prolong your hope with interception attempts.
You get the team you haven’t scored an offensive point against in three seasons. You get the team that isn’t intimidated by crowds, or noise, or atmospheres. You get the team that 60 Minutes does stories on to try and decipher what makes these elite robots tick. You get the team that, even when giving up four turnovers, still beats their SEC opponent on the road by two scores.
In Alabama, you get the team who doesn’t blow 20-point 4th quarter leads. Whose nasty defense denies you points even in the improbable circumstance that you should get the ball deep in their territory. Whose strength coach stares your head coach down across the field during the game and taunts him, because he knows what you know, but don’t want to admit.
You get the team that faces LSU and wins, three times in a row now, wherever we face them.
You get the team that has shelved more trophies in the Nick Saban era than any other program.
You get the gold standard of college football in 2013. And 2012. And 2011. And 2009…
And you get a team unimpressed by flashes in the pan, something you’re well know for. But instead, you get a team who has conquered a term you’ve never gotten to know…”sustained success.”
You’ve won 10 games this season Auburn. Good for you. At Alabama, a 10-win season is considered a down year (see 2010). Now let’s see if your team of renegades can stand up under the pressure that ‘Bama has become known for time and again, and again, and again, and again.
Let’s see how your coach…who was coaching high school football about the time our coach was lifting his first of four National Championship trophies…fares under the bright lights. I mean, when he isn’t facing a disabled foe. There isn’t an Alabama to take the manhood from your next opponent before you face them, and our playmakers will all be at 100%, un-hobbled by injuries you didn’t help create…but that you benefitted from, nonetheless.
You want Bama. And now, in 13 days, you get them.
Be careful what you wish for. Because from experience we can tell you, living at the top week-after-week while dining on the pressure that comes with that top post, everybody wants Bama until we step on their field, and step on their dreams.
And we’re stepping on yours in thirteen days. And the worse news for you? We want you too.
Because you stand between us and the thing that has been a regular stay in our diet of late. Championships. If you want to sleep at night for the next two weeks, don’t check Nick Saban’s record at Alabama in games when hardware is on the line. Just don’t do it.
Instead, let your fantasy live on. At least for thirteen more days.