BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
There I was standing just behind Auburn's Chris Davis last November. Just like you, I figured the Iron Bowl was heading to overtime. Then it happened. In 34 years of sports broadcasting I had never witnessed anything like it, and yes, it took me 45 minutes to reach the post game interview room as I was swallowed up by delirious Auburn fans.
The Tiger nation received it's wish: Auburn denied Alabama a shot in the SEC and national championship game, very possibly denied AJ McCarron a Heisman Trophy, and sent their beloved Tigers to Atlanta with an outside shot of making it to the BCC title game (you know what happened a week later vs Missouri). Can the 2014 Iron Bowl be just as big? It's not likely we will ever see an ending like we did in 2013, but it looks as if the stakes will be just as high.
After one of the craziest college football Saturdays ever, Alabama moves down in the polls while Auburn moves near the top (2nd in both). But here's the thing to remember as many Bama fans are down and many Auburn fans sky-high: There's a lot of football yet to be played, and while the Tigers are looking to be in great shape at this point for a possible final four bid, Alabama is far from out of it.
First to Auburn, where Saturday's 41-7 beat down of LSU is making many believe that this Tigers team is final four worthy. Certainly no argument here, but the Tiger's killer schedule could catch up with them.
Auburn still has to face #6 Miss State, #4 Ole Miss, #7 Alabama, #10 Georgia, and #14 Texas A&M. Can the Tigers beat them all? Yep- but for arguments sake, let's say Auburn drops one of them.
Next to Alabama, where the Tide's schedule is much more forgiving. Sure, the Tide will face Miss State, Texas A&M, LSU and Auburn, but let's say Bama runs the table up until the Iron Bowl. What's it all mean? Yes, another mother-of-all Iron Bowls with the winner heading to the final four, the loser suffering a second loss to fall out of final four contention.
Over the past few days, national pundits continue to give the Crimson Tide their props, saying the national championship game berth runs through Tuscaloosa. I say it also runs through Auburn, a team that at this point in the season may boast of a better defense (never thought I'd say that) and an offense that compares favorably to Kiffin's "O" in Tuscaloosa.
So are ya ready? Ya ready for a pair of one-loss teams to meet in the 2014 Iron Bowl, the winner heading to the final four (as long as that SEC title game goes as planned) with a shot at winning it all, the loser heading to a bowl game? I never thought I would witness a more entertaining season than the one I saw in 2013, but the 2014 season is shaping up to be simply incredible.
Come November, a possible national championship will go though the Alabama-Auburn game. It's why we live and breath the sport, and why this rivalry is (with all due respect to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry) the best in sports. Don't you just love it?