(Disclaimer: Every week AGS Recap does a “What Had Happened Was” segment aimed at unfortunate or inexplicable weekend happenings. This one is personal)
I’m just going to come right out and kick the elephant out of the room. I‘m in a stage of grief after missing the finish of the year. No, decade. Maybe the millennium.
After hundreds hours of college football viewing this season, I missed the wildest finish of the entire season. It gets more cathartic saying it a second time.
Think of this as my personal Craigslist: Missed Connections post to Auburn and Alabama. We’ve all got our missed connections. Mine was the 2013 Iron Bowl. It was the one that got away.
Not even Pat Forde’s Twitter page could comfort me.
Wow. Backup PK started to come on for Bama, Saban waved him off. Here comes Foster.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
This is nuts.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
OH MY GOODNESS— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
The running two-minute drill interrupted by stunning play-action throw for TD.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
Auburn's Year of the Stunning Last-Minute Pass still alive, heading into OT.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
Adam Griffith, freshman from Calhoun, GA. Heck of a spot. McCarron is the holder; any chance this is a fake?— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
The most amazing football game I have ever seen.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
Nick Saban. Blew the game.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 1, 2013
(Revived by medics, checks final score, revived again starts writing column)
There are iconic moments you miss every now and then. For example, during Janet Jackson’s halftime show I was switching locations to watch the second half. I’ve seen every halftime show since.
Tony Romo’s botched placehold against the Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch’s beast mode run against New Orleans and the Music City Miracle were also finishes that eluded me.
In the realm of college football, Nevada’s Brotzman-aided win over undefeated national-championship hopefuls Boise State was the last time I’d missed a heavyweight November de facto championship elimination tilt since I first started watching college football on Jan. 4, 2000. After a long day of college hoops, I passed out and woke up during the SportsCenter highlight.
Just for some background, Colin Kaepernick’s arrival on the national stage before the 2010 Iron Bowl cleared one-loss Oregon’s path to face Cam Newton’s Auburn Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game.
This isn’t about me though. Let’s move on.
Post Traumatic Chris Davis Disorder
You want to know what Alabama fans are wondering right now? Where’s Mike Tomlin when you need him?
The Pittsburgh Steelers coach may have straddled the line, pun intended, between Jason Kidd’s intentional drink spill for a stoppage in play and Tommy Lewis’ sideline tackle. Lewis was the Alabama running back who leapt off the sidelines during the 1954 Cotton Bowl to tackle Rice running back Dick Maegle as he sprinted down the sideline towards the end zone
Tomlin slowed down Jacoby Jones on the left sideline just enough to allow his special teams player in pursuit to catch the return man from behind.
Alabama had no such luck; Auburn has been hoarding it all recently.
In 2010, it was Michael Dyer’s body falling onto an Oregon defender’s body, allowing him to get vertical and run another few dozen yards, when everyone but a few teammates on the sideline thought he was down. That play won Auburn a national championship and extended the SEC’s streak of consecutive national championships won.
In 15 seconds, the 2013 Auburn Tigers' 109-yard touchdown return may have halted a seven-year run for the SEC.
A Georgia safety who just wouldn’t knock it down kept the Iron Bowl from losing its relevance. Nick Marshall didn’t need to throw the football this week. And he didn’t. Marshall threw for just 97 yards against ‘Bama while Auburn’s vaunted rushing attack kept 'Bama on their heels.
Three missed field goals by ‘Bama led to the final 57-yarder that hinged on a wing and a prayer. However, Chris Davis’ home run return will go down in Iron Bowl lore as the greatest play in the history of the rivalry.
Gary Pinkel Has Been In Kevin Sumlin’s Shoes Before
Pinkel and Sumlin are on equal footing as offensive gurus. However, Pinkel has the Tigers on track for the SEC championship game and a national title bid thanks to the evolution of their defense, while Sumlin’s Aggies are licking their wounds. Kony Early Jr. and Michael Sam were the equalizers for Johnny Manziel during Saturday night’s 28-21 victory
Pinkel ended the 2007 regular season at No. 1 in the BCS standings in 2007 with Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin. Nobody was sure Pinkel could recreate the success of their ’07 season without Daniel. Though the offense isn’t quite as potent as it was that season, this time the Tigers have what can only be described by the natives as an “SEC defense.” Somehow, after losing Sheldon Richardson to the NFL, where’s he’s blowing up offensive lines, Missouri’s pass rush went from being ranked 82nd nationally in sacks to a carnivorous top-four unit.
Kevin Sumlin has the offensive building blocks for a future run, but now he’s got to show the SEC establishment that their success over the past two seasons was due to his coaching and not holding onto Manziel’s coattails for dear life. Sumlin is an expert when it comes to assembling quarterbacks, but if he’s going to take A&M to the next level, he’ll have to begin shoring up the Aggies on the defensive end.
We forget that Baylor’s Art Briles is to offensive ingenuity what Gary Patterson is to defensive strategizing. TCU is mired in a slump, but against Baylor they reminded the state of Texas about the Lone Star’s team besides Texas A&M, Texas and the aforementioned Baylor Bears.
The points per game average record is out of Baylor’s reach. Yet with 522 yards against Texas, they’ll set the all-time record for yards gained in a single season. Baylor outlasted TCU 41-38, but not before getting a little scare.
Tahj Boyd Got Clowned One Final Time
Profile photos of Jadeveon Clowney’s face in a helmet hangs on walls around Clemson and maybe even outside a sheriff’s office along the stretch of I-85 leading to Clemson’s campus. Clowney has been a tyrant, the likes of which Clemson hasn't escaped for three years. Throughout his reign, he vandalized the backfield and physically assaulted Boyd behind his team of bodyguards as if he held a personal vendetta.
From the safe confines of Memorial Stadium, Boyd wasn’t safe from Clowney last season when he was sacked four times. In Gamecock territory, Boyd was cooked from the start.
Clowney had a dismal individual season as offensive coordinators diverted their offenses away from him while he simultaneously battled bone spurs. It’s been 10 weeks since Clowney recorded a sack, but he made sure to get his final pound of flesh from Boyd.
Tajh Boyd, greatest QB in Clemson* history, never beat South Carolina. Connor Shaw, greatest QB in USC history, never lost to Clemson.— TRC (@RubrChickens) December 1, 2013
Unfortunately, after four straight losses to Clemson, the loss means that Boyd never won a big game in his Clemson career. If fate has a sense of humor, these two will be teammates at the next level. He’s not a junior, but Saturday was also the final act for Sammy Watkins at Clemson.
Boyd may have been overhyped, but how overlooked was South Carolina’s Connor Shaw this season? We’ve come a long way from suggesting Dylan Thompson was a challenger to his starting job. He ends his career at a perfect 17-0 in Williams-Brice Stadium, finishing up statistically superior to Boyd and many of the nation's elite quarterbacks.
Connor Shaw ends regular season with 21 TD passes and one INT. He's the only quarterback in nation with double digit TD passes and one INT.— Ryan Wood (@rwood_SC) December 1, 2013
— WLTX - On Your Side (@WLTX) December 1, 2013
Man on Fire Award: Who caught fire in Week 14?
Best Performance In A Losing Effort: Ohio State walked into Michigan Stadium thinking they would mop the floor with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. After all, he has struggled mightily behind Michigan’s porous offensive line, and Ohio State’s defensive front is the best in the nation at hunting quarterbacks in enemy territory and bringing them down behind the line of scrimmage.
Instead, Gardner threw for a season-high 451 yards, four touchdowns, ran one in and remained turnover free. Well technically he did have one knee down, but upon further review it appears his knee was down before the ball popped out.
He had such a hot hand, Brady Hoke went for the heat check in the final 32 seconds in the form of a potentially game-winning two-point conversion that failed.
Worst Performance In A Winning Effort: Is Connor Cook the man who can throw the BCS into chaos by upsetting Ohio State next week? Based on what we saw Saturday, it doesn't seem like it. Cook went 10-for-20, threw for 143 yards and the Spartans offense only put 14 points on the board against Minnesota.
Michigan State’s defense is suffocating, but they aren’t that good.
Defensive Game-wrecker of the Week:
Already, the record-holder for career forced fumbles, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack recorded 2.5 tackles for loss in a loss to Bowling Green. His individual stat line last week wasn’t all that impressive, but the senior wrecking ball did tie the new NCAA record for career TFLs.
Why Florida's OC Brent Pease Lost His Job