If you did not watch the SEC championship game between Alabama and Georgia, you missed one of the greatest games of the entire 2012 college football season.
It more than lived up to its billing as a national semi-final game where a spot in the national championship game was on the line for both teams.
It was a back and forth epic battle that came down to the last second. Literally.
The first three quarters were a see-saw affair filled with fake punts, blocked field goals and 300 yards rushing by the Alabama offense.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter.
After a 45 yard TD pass by AJ McCarron with 3:15 on the clock to put Alabama up by 4, Georgia had the ball one minute left on the clock, no timeouts and 85 yards to the end zone.
Aaron Murray began methodically driving the Bulldogs down the field. The Georgia faithful were on the edge of their seats. This was the moment they had hoped would come. Could Murray etch his name in Georgia folklore forever? Murray drops back around midfield and threw a pass that was deflected by Alabama’s Vinnie Sunseri and landed in the arms of Dee Millner. Game over.
Not exactly. The interception was overturned and with new life, Aaron Murray hit Arthur Lynch on a 15 yard pass play, Tavarres King for 23 and 26 yards to Lynch. Lynch was hauled down at the Alabama 8 with 15 seconds left. This was the moment they had hoped would come.
It’s a first down so the clock stops; but it restarts when the ball is set.
Remember, the Bulldogs had no timeouts.
Spike the ball and leave time for two passes into the end zone, right?
Wrong. The Bulldogs tried to hurry to the line and throw what appeared to be a back shoulder fade to the front corner of the end zone. What happened next will haunt the Georgia faithful for years to come.
Aaron Murray’s pass was deflected at the line and fell into the arms of Chris Conley. Conley fell down at the 4 yard line with five seconds on the clock. No timeouts, no first down, game over. This was not the moment they had hoped would come.
Murray will be etched in Georgia lore alright, just not for the reason he had hoped.
So the Alabama Crimson Tide have secured a spot in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame on January 7th in Miami. This is the moment the Tide faithful hoped would come. These two teams haven’t met since 1987 so they need to get to know each other. The way the BCS system is set up, they’ll have over a month to get acquainted.
Two power house programs with physical running games, great defenses, arguably two of the top coaches in all of college football, and a combined 25 national championships (Tide-14, Irish-11). This ought to be fun!