From the Jim Hurley Network Staff
Contributing Sportsbook Editor
Sure, everyone and his brother wants to blame Alabama head coach Nick Saban for a gazillion things that happened on that 100-plus runback of a missed Crimson Tide field goal in the final second of play in Saturday's wild 34-28 Auburn win in the latest and greatest Iron Bowl game.
Here's Saban's biggest sin (if you were watching!):
He just didn't seem sure of what he wanted to do on that last drive:
Keep in mind that 'Bama - following a game-tying Auburn touchdown pass play between QB Nick Marshall to WR Sammie Coates that covered 39 yards - took over the ball at its own 29-yard line with 16 seconds left.
Quarterback AJ McCarron - whose post-game behavior we will discuss in a moment - threw an incomplete pass and then Tide RB T.J. Yeldon rushed for 9 and 24 yards on back-to-back plays to give Alabama the ball at the Auburn 39-yard line with that one tick remaining after replay reviewed things and declared the game was not over yet.
Then Saban trotted out kid kicker Adam Griffith who - truthfully - booted the well some 50-plus yards before it came up short and in the arms of Auburn's Chris Davis and, well, you know the rest.
You could see and sense that Saban was unsure after that nine-yard Yeldon run whether or not he wanted to play for overtime and he should have trusted his instincts and let the game go into OT and then counted on his veteran signal-caller to win it.
Instead, Saban - never the greatest in-game coach, if truth be told - got carried away and went for the win right there and then ... yes, maybe he had zero faith in a defense that allowed Auburn to rush for 296 yards but that hemming-and-hawing, that indecisiveness really killed Saban and Company here.
As far as McCarron - okay, he has a couple of national titles under his belt, but he races off the field the moment the game is over to hug his parents and Miss America girlfriend?
Don't know about you, but if we just lost any/all shot at a BCS championship like that, we'd be devastated and might need help just getting off the field - whatta phony McCarron is and now here's hoping he doesn't even get an invite to NYC for the December 14th Heisman Trophy celebration.
Lastly, the funny thing about this Iron Bowl was that - as CBS analyst Gary Danielson kept reminding us ad nauseum - Alabama was playing "tight" and never did really get into a great rhythm save for that 21-point second quarter splurge.
Saban will get verbally assaulted for not having his field-goal team prepared to make a tackle (we get it!) and for not defending that Marshall-to-Coates TD play but not having the courage of his convictions late really cost the multi-title winning coach ... now he's got to live it down.