Iron Bowl Recap: I Was Only Wrong When I Wasn’t Right

As I promised my 7 year-old son Saturday evening, the sun came up Sunday morning and everyone and everything that we value and love was still more important to us than the outcome of the Iron Bowl. Then I opened my email. Here we go:

You were wrong!

My prediction was wrong, my analysis was spot on. This Alabama team has still only played two consecutive quarters to their potential this season. For a team that preaches consistency, it is a very inconsistent team when it comes to execution. Cade Foster is catching a lot of heat for missing three field goals. Outcomes in sports are a series of streaks; hits beget hits, strikeouts beget strikeouts, missed field goals beget missed field goals. Just a cruel reality.

Seems we’ve all forgotten that Amari Cooper dropped, what should have been, a touchdown pass that hit him in the 9. Christian Jones missed a pass that went right through his hands. DeAndrew White caught a pass a yard short of the first down marker and then, instead of just falling forward, tried to make a move and ended up two yards short of the line. We made all of those plays last year. For all of their talent, AJ McCarron and our receiving corp have been a little off all year. They just never seemed to be on the same page like they were last year. Again, just inconsistent.

We were horrible in short yardage situations all season also. I would have taken (tried) the field goal in the fourth quarter that would have made it 31-21 (hey, I’ve seen that score somewhere before).

How do you like that Playstation offense now?

I don’t like it any more or any less now than I did Saturday morning. To me, it’s still just smoke and mirrors and not a dominating style of offense. I certainly recognize that, in 20 years, I may be in the same category as the guy that didn’t like the forward pass. So be it.

You need a second to reconsider that prediction?

Cute. I thought that the game swung, however, late in the second quarter. After Alabama scored to make it 21-7, our defense let Auburn run the same play three straight times and score to make it 21-14 at the half. That was a huge series for Auburn, and a terrible series for Alabama. Though Auburn was still down by a touchdown, Auburn would receive the kickoff to start the second half. I really thought that the game tilted in Auburn’s favor with the late 2nd quarter touchdown.

Do you still think Alabama is three touchdowns better?

On a neutral field, when they play to their potential, yes. Tremendous amount of credit to Auburn, but Alabama did not play to their potential yesterday. If 9 catches the touchdown pass, or 88 doesn’t hold, or 4 makes a decision and runs the ball instead of stutter stepping every time, it’s a different ballgame. I still believe Alabama is the better team, but they certainly did not prove that Saturday, and to the victors go the spoils.

Auburn’s entire offensive line was downfield on that touchdown pass!

I’ve heard that from a couple of Alabama fans, but I didn’t see it. It wouldn’t surprise me that the ref bird dogged 77 and caught him twitching his nose, but missed that call. Whatever, it shouldn’t have come to that. We’ve all seen enough football to know that if you give the refs a chance to make a bad call, or miss a call, or blow a call, they’ll take advantage of that chance. If we make a field goal, or don’t hold, or catch a pass that hits us in the numbers, it’s at least a two score game at that point.

What happened to Kenyan Drake?

I don’t have an answer for that. Four carries for 33 yards certainly warranted a few more touches. The kid has wheels and is an explosive runner. A great complement to Yeldon. I can only assume that he was injured when his knee hit the Auburn player’s helmet and then Drake flipped and landed on his shoulder and neck. Whatever the reason, I didn’t see him on the field after that.

So, what’s the lesson in this game, smart guy?

Again, tremendous amount of credit goes out to Auburn. They took advantage of their opportunities to score and Alabama did not. I don’t apologize that I still believe Alabama is the better team, but Auburn made plays and Alabama did not. I don’t think Auburn did anything to make Amari Cooper drop a touchdown pass or to make Cade Foster miss a field goal. Alabama just didn’t execute.

Notwithstanding, with the score 21-7 Alabama still had a chance to put the hammer to Auburn but they let the Tigers hang around. So here’s a lesson to you dads of daughters out there; if you don’t like the boy that your daughter brings home, you better run him off when you have the chance. If you don’t, if you just let him hang around believing he has a shot, you’re going to end up with a son-in-law who is the most Auburn thing ever.