As March 6th nears, the day of the NCAA Rules Committee’s infamous vote on the “10-second rule” heard around the world, a popular notion has been tossed around ad nauseam.
“If that mean ole Nick Saban can’t beat the hurry up, no huddle offense, he’s just gonna try and change the rules.”
This is usually uttered by our east Alabama brethren intoxicated by the orange and blue koolaid they chug day and night. It’s just a down home way of convincing themselves that the miracles they witnessed in 2013 are an actual mainstay in Lee County, rather than the Haley’s Comet-like reality that they actually were.
But statistics against this cheap form of football suggest something else entirely. If you’re an Auburn fan reading this, I know facts are tiring, and superlative sarcasm is preferred. But numbers don’t lie.
Just look at these averages vs. the output against the Tide.
Auburn 2009 Win
In a 26-21 win, Saban’s defense held the Tigers to 332 yards, 99 yards below their season average (431) and 12 points below their total points average (33.3).
Auburn 2010 Loss
In a 28-27 loss, Saban’s defense held the Tigers, led by eventual Heisman Winner $cam Newton to even less yardage than the previous year (324 yards), 174 yards below their season average of 499 yards, and 13 points below their season average of 41 points per game.
The difference in the game wasn’t Auburn’s offense, but Alabama’s inability to produce points in the 2nd half amid a string of freaky plays that still can’t be explained. I’ll never forget Ingram’s 30 yard fumble, traveling 2-feet from the out-of-bounds margin the entire way. Not to mention that under current NCAA rule, adopted after Newton’s father admitted to shopping him, a player like Newton would not be eligible. In other words, Loophole U. struck again.
Auburn 2011 Win
Auburn came in averaging 338 yards per game, but only managed 140 yards. The Tiger offense averaged 25 points per game, but failed to score. Saban’s defense held the Tigers, Gus Malzahn and all, to 198 yards below their average in a rump kicking the likes of which no living Auburn fan has ever enjoyed over Alabama. 42-14
Ole Miss 2012 Win
Saban’s defense held the Black Bear Rebel Thingies to 218 total yards, 205 below their average of 423 per game. Freeze’s brand of cheap football could only muster 14 points, 17 below their average of 31.
Texas A&M averaged 558 yards per game with eventual Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. The Tide gave up a bunch, but still held the Aggies to 140 under their average, and 15 points under their points average per game.
Still, two redzone turnovers by Alabama were the difference in the game, not the Aggies’ brand of offense.
Texas A&M 2013 Win
The Aggies averaged 538 yards per game and 44 points per game. Against Alabama they gained 628 yards of offense and scored 42 points. Saban’s defense yielded 90 yards more than their average and just 2 points below their scoring average, but it was enough to get the win.
Ole Miss 2013 Win
Saban’s defense blanked the Black Bear Rebel Thingies, holding them to 205 yards of offense…268 below their 2013 average of 473 per game. Their 30 points per game average failed to reach the scoreboard.
Auburn 2013 Loss
In 2013 Auburn averaged 501 yds per game in total offense and 39.5 points per game. Saban’s defense held Auburn 108 yards under their average, and 11.5 under their per game average.
The loss came as a result of a myriad of reasons, none of which was the hurry up offense. Unless you count bad officiating that allowed the tying score.
Now, I’m no mathmatician, but it appears that of the true hurry up, no huddle games we’ve looked at, Saban’s defense pitched two complete shut-outs while etching a mark of 5-3. Not to mention that two of the three losses came at the hands of teams aided by two eventual Heisman winners, yet still required Crimson collapse in other areas to make victory possible.
And those three losses? Yeah, they were by a total of 12 points.
So this Thursday, when the committee makes their decision, please save the regurgitations of Nick Saban being afraid of your offense. He’s simply not, and the notion is just as cheap and silly as the gimmick we call the “HUNH.”
The only people that are actually afraid are those fearing their loophole is about to close, making beating Nick Saban on a level playing field dang near impossible.