Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New At al.com: Roundtable For 28-27

My contribution to this week's al.com Blogger Roundtable has been posted. I should note here that I didn't state my initial answer to the first question very well. I should have written that Auburn-Alabama 2010 ranks in the "in the top tier" of the best games, as opposed to "in the top rank" in the rivalry; the latter leads the reader to assume I'd placed that game as the "best ever," which wasn't exactly what I meant. I'd hesitate to put any one contest as the sole "best of the best," and I ought to have said that more clearly.

At any rate, here's a preview:

Iron Bowl question(s): Where does this year's game rank in the pantheon of all-time Iron Bowls?

In the top rank. No question. There's never been another game like it, not just in the series, but in the entire century-plus histories of both teams. The final seconds hadn't even ticked off the clock yet when 2010 took its place among the absolutely legendary games in the rivalry. Auburn's 28-point turnaround fits firmly in with Bama's last-second kick of 1985 and the "Punt Bama Punt" miracle of 1972.

As in those cases, the winners will exalt for decades to come, and the losers will never, ever get over it. It's much, much worse to lose when you've had the game in the palm of your hand than it is to simply get blown out.

At what point was it apparent that the lead wasn't safe?

Auburn's second play of the third quarter, when Terrell Zachery broke into the open field for his 70-yard score. The Tigers had pulled out of their offensive funk by the middle of the second quarter, but were still down by three scores at halftime. Nobody at that point could have been optimistic about a full comeback. But that lightning strike to bring the game within 10 points lit up Auburn on both sides of the football, and improbably knocked the air out of a Tide team (to say nothing of the front-running home crowd) that had been hitting on all cylinders.

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