Auburn Shocks 'Bama: Best Game Ever?
Auburn shocked mighty Alabama 34-28 in an Iron Bowl for the ages, returning a missed field goal 109 yards for the winning score with no time to play before a delirious home crowd erupted on The Plains.
The Tigers toppled college football's greatest dynasty and the defending champs, not to mention their hated arch-rivals. They electrified millions of fans around the country and made Auburn's Chris Davis an instant legend and a household name today.
All of which begets the question: did we just witness the greatest game ever played? It seems we did. We certainly saw a spectacle unique to college football, and reasons why late November is, for football fans, the most wonderful time of the year.
The Cold, Hard Football facts have long called late November the Pigskin Holidays, a period highlighted by the most important games of the year and the massive overconsumption of food and drink centered around major civic and religious celebrations.
The 2013 Pigskin High Holidays have been no exception: the Week 12 Sunday NFL schedule concluded with a pro game for the ages: New England's historic 34-31 comeback victory in overtime against the powerhouse Broncos, a game the Patriots trailed 24-0 at intermission. It was another classic chapter in greatest QB rivalry of all time: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.
On Thanksgiving Day Thursday the CHFF crew kicked off festivities with the Pigskin Gala, our annual breakfast tailgate feast before the local high school football game. High school football is the center of the Thanksgiving calendar in Massachusetts, and our biggest day of the football year.
We tap the Keg of Beer at 6 a.m., amid Great Pomp and Circumstance, and then feast on homemade venison sausage and other tasty goodies, before the 10 a.m. kickoff of all the local high school football rivalries, among them the oldest in the nation.
The NFL served up a triple header later in the day, highlighted by Detroit's humiliating beat down of the Green Bay Packers.
Then came all the big college rivalries Friday and on Saturday, the last day of November. Michigan nearly gave us a monumental upset over Ohio State earlier in the day, with the Buckeyes stopping Michigan's 2-point conversion in the final minute to win, 42-41.
But Auburn-Alabama certainly topped them all: two hated rivals, including the defending national champ Crimson Tide, in a back-and-forth epic that had a direct impact on the SEC and national title pictures, and that ended in truly historic fashion.
The Pigskin High Holidays always dish out tasty football treats. Remember, past epics like Cal-Stanford and Boston College-Miami all took place here in the Pigskin High Holidays.
But none were more improbable than what Auburn pulled off Saturday night, in an electrifying victory that captured the nation and caused even neutral fans to stand up and cheer.
And none of those games, however thrilling, directly impacted the national title picture the way Auburn-Alabama did Saturday.
Coupled with the improbable finish, it all puts the 2013 Iron Bowl on the short list of greatest games ever, and maybe even put it on top.
Famed college football analyst Paul Finebaum put it best Sunday morning on ESPN: "I'm a writer, and I'm at a loss for words ... but it might be time for Doug Flutie and the Stanford band to step aside."