I feel your pain
I stayed up until the bitter end of Monday night’s National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs. However, when Alabama came within 10 points in the second half I already knew the outcome.
No one feels the pain of the Dawg Nation more than an Auburn Tiger fan. We have been there and done that against Alabama. You feel like you have the game in hand and they somehow manage to win.
I used to say during some of the long losing streaks that Auburn had against Alabama that Bama was just lucky. Along the way, Bear Bryant finally made me believe that most great football teams usually have great luck over time.
It was tough as a kid growing up in Alabama with the Auburn versus Alabama rivalry. The winner taunted the loser 365 days a year. From the time I was in the first grade until the time my first child was born Alabama won 18 times. Auburn won only five times, with three of those coming with Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan at the helm.
Apparently, Catherine’s birth in 1981 turned helped turn the tide, so to speak, with Auburn’s Iron Bowl victory in November giving the Tigers an 18 to 17 edge in the win column over the past 35 years.
Georgia’s loss to Alabama reminded me of Auburn’s loss in the 2013 National Championship Game against Florida State. Auburn led most of the game only to have the title snatched away at the end. It hurts. It hurts a lot.
So first, let’s give Alabama their due. Nick Saban has now won 6 National Championships, including 5 of the past 9, with Auburn, Florida State and Clemson winning three of four that Bama did not win. In the past 13 years, only Ohio State’s win in 2014 prevented a Deep South team from winning every year.
I once heard that David Dooley said that Alabama DRAFTED high school players. Everyone else RECRUITED their new players. As frustrating as it is, and as real as the so-called “Alabama fatigue” may be, the Crimson Tide has set a standard in college football that may never be met again.
With regards to the disappointed UGA fans, you can take some solace at the tremendous progress the Dawgs have made in just two short years. Kirby Smart has obviously found his way back home and the Red and Black will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Finally, it is not fun as an Auburn Tiger to be watching the National Championship from the sideline. For the time being, we will take our comfort in knowing that the Tigers were the only team in the country to beat either of the two teams playing in Atlanta.
I have often said I would rather beat Georgia and Alabama than win the National Championship. I am having to decide if that statement is really true, but it is all I have to console myself at this point.
In the meantime, I will share the great adage that every team in the country but one declares at the close of football season. Wait until next year!