Several thoughts made the cut to be the topics of our conversation this week.
Quoting Yogi Berra, the Auburn- Alabama game this past weekend was "déjà vu all over again." Who would have thought there would be several similarities between the 2019 and the 2013 editions of the Iron Bowl?
First, both games were played at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, starting at 2:30 Central. Both were carried by CBS with Gary Danielson doing the color commentary.
And then there was the matter of time on the clock. One second to be exact. Auburn fans need not be reminded of what one second can mean in a game. Just look back at the spectacular win over the Tide in 2013.
It appeared the game was going into overtime, tied 28-28. But the officials ruled that Alabama should have one second put back on the clock. CBS went to great extremes to sync the two cameras showing the Alabama quarterback was out of bounds with :01 showing on the scoreboard. Rather than settling for overtime, the Tide coaches sent out their kicker to try a 57 yard field goal. The kick was wide right.
There was a momentary sigh of relief. But then Auburn fans realized that Chris Davis had caught the ball in the end zone and ran it back for the greatest play in Auburn history. The "Kick Six" game. I can still hear the late Rod Bramblett shouting into his radio microphone, "Auburn's going to win the football game!"
In last weekend's Iron Bowl, the controversy over putting one second back on the clock came just before the end of the first half. Despite Alabama coach Nick Saban's rant on the sideline, the officials determined that one second was long enough to let Auburn try for a 52-yard field goal. The kick was good and Auburn picked up three points — the eventual margin of victory.
And then there was the matter of too many Alabama players on the field in the final minute of the game. Auburn used an unusual alignment, which resulted in the Tide being flagged for too many men on the field. (Were some Auburn fans chanting, "Count, Bama, count?") The subsequent five yard penalty was just enough to give Auburn a first down. Alabama had used its time outs and could do nothing but watch the clock run out on another Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare.
After the game, coach Gus Malzahn talked about winning the 2019 Iron Bowl.
"We played a great game. We faced adversity," he said. The coach told his players, "If we get to the fourth quarter, they'll do that and we'll win the game." Malzahn, when asked where he got the confidence that his team could win, he said, "because of history — 2013, 2017. It repeats itself in the fourth quarter."
Can't argue with déjà vu, y'all.
Oh yes, there was a bit of a celebrating out on the field after the game, just like in 2013. Auburn fans covered the field from end zone to end zone. Happy times returned to Jordan-Hare and the trees at Toomer's Corner, despite a $250,000 SEC-issued fine for allowing the fans to run onto the field. Nobody I heard was saying the fine was "unfair."
All that's left of this season is to enjoy the memories, have a good time at our upcoming bowl game and have a great recruiting season. Hopefully a good showing in that bowl game will result in a 10-win season and another great top-10 recruiting class. Until then, relax and War Eagle.