Posted on November 30, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Since the inception of the College Football Playoffs, there has been one constant every season—Alabama. Even if they didn’t make the SEC title game, somehow the Crimson Tide always managed to find their way in. But heading into Saturday’s Iron Bowl game against Auburn, it looked like they were going to do the same this season.
All they had to do was beat Auburn and then sit back and watch as LSU knocks Georgia out of the top four next week.
With how Georgia has looked, it is hard to imagine LSU will not hold up its end next week. But Alabama failed to do what they needed to do this week. They played a mistake-filled, sloppy game against a tough Auburn team. Yet despite their less-than-perfect effort, they had a chance to force overtime with a 30-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter—but missed.
Auburn won, 48-45.
However, it looked like Alabama was going to get one more chance after forcing Auburn to punt on fourth and four with 1:06 to go. But then the Crimson Tide were called for having too many men on the field—a five-yard penalty giving Auburn a first down.
Two kneel-downs later, the game was over, and Auburn had won.
After the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was upset about the last penalty calling it unfair. But he ultimately took responsibility for his team’s confusion on that fateful punt play, via ESPN:
“We’re responsible for that as coaches, but it was a very unusual circumstance, to say the least. And I think that sometimes when you have those, it should be viewed that way.”
Some Alabama fans were concerned going into the game because Tua Tagovailoa was out. But Mac Jones played well, overall, completing 26 of 39 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns. But he also had two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
Three of his touchdown passes went to Jaylen Waddle who also tacked on a kick return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Najee Harris also had a big game with 146 yards on 27 carries. But in the end, Alabama couldn’t overcome a season-high 13 penalties.
Senior safety Jared Mayden talked about the penalties after the game, via 247:
“When you play a good team, you can’t make those penalties. You can’t set yourself back against good teams because good teams can stop you, stop what you’re doing. We just shot ourselves in the foot too many times.”
With Alabama out of the picture, the college football playoffs become a little clearer. The top four are likely going to remain the same, followed by Utah moving up to No. 5, followed by Oklahoma and Baylor. But Florida may be No. 7 and Baylor No. 8, but the Bears are certainly in contention for the CFP.
So, if Georgia loses next week to LSU in the SEC title game and Utah or Oklahoma (or Baylor) win, it will be interesting to see what the committee decides to do. But the one thing we can rest assured they will not do is slide a two-loss Alabama team into the playoffs this season.