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.
In 2014, college football will implement a four team playoff system that will give us two semi-final games followed by a national championship game. By the time it’s in place, it will have been long overdue. For over a decade, each passing December brought debate after debate as to who really deserved to be playing in the championship game. There was never a consensus. Someone always felt like they got the shaft. Until this year.
Thanks to the SEC, we have our own semi-final game of sorts in the form of the SEC Championship. When the #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide take on the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs tomorrow on CBS at 4pm EST, it will be for all the marbles. Well, all but one-the big one. But it is for the right to play Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game.
One down. Three to go. And it's just getting started.
Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn all relieved their head coaches of their duties. Following not-up-to-par years, each program methodically and quite expectedly made a change at the top of their respective football programs.
Kentucky was the first to announce that Joker Phillips would not return next year and they have been the first to announce a replacement. Florida State Defensive Coordinator, Mark Stoops (yes, that Stoops - brother of successful Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and not so successful at Arizona Mike Stoops) will take over a program that has not been competitive since Rich Brooks brought them to back respectability, they were 2-10 this year and 0-8 in SEC play. Stoops is unproven as a head coach and it is yet to be seen if he can turn the program around. But if Vanderbilt can win eight games, there is no reason to believe that the right person couldn't turn Kentucky into a perennial winner.
You remember the Bruce Springsteen hit, Glory Days? I imagine if you scoured the front porches of residents across the great state of Alabama, you could find thousands of loyal Tide and Tiger fans who could tell you stories of their favorite Iron Bowl memories. Their eyes would light up and their voice would raise an octave or two as they began telling of the glory days of one of college football's biggest rivalries.
How could they not get excited at the opportunity to brag on their team's greatest Iron Bowl moments? It seems like more often than not when Alabama and Auburn play, it carries major implications for both teams.
So humor me, let us do a little recent reminiscing about some of the glory days from games gone by.
It seems like just yesterday Cam Newton was leading the 2010 Tigers to a thrilling second half comeback win in Tuscaloosa to propel Auburn to an eventual national championship.
And who could forget last year’s Alabama team that needed the win over an 8 win reigning national champion Auburn team to secure their own spot in the SEC title game to play for a shot at a national championship appearance.
There is usually a lot on the line when LSU and Arkansas meet up on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The battle for the Golden Boot typically carries major post season ramifications. National title hopes have been shattered and bowl bids have been gained or bettered in this border state rivalry.
This year, however, carries a little different meaning for both teams.