Alabama got pushed a bit, but it won the Iron Bowl without a problem. What does it all mean to the college football world?
Alabama is now in the College Football Playoff.
At 12-0 and with wins over all 12 opponents by 20 points or more, Bama has proved that it’s one of the four best teams in college football no matter what happens against Georgia in the SEC Championship. A loss to the Bulldogs might mean a No. 4 seed, but … whatever. It’s in. It got the job done.
Kyler Murray took the lead in the Heisman race on Friday night, and Tua Tagovailoa grabbed it right back, completing 25-of-32 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns with 26 rushing yards and a score. He wasn’t perfect, but he led Bama to a 52-21 win over Auburn. To Bama fans, though, that’s perfection.
Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast. The Crimson Tide always had another gear when they needed one. Five different players caught touchdown passes, Henry Ruggs made two big plays, and Jaylen Waddle took a Jalen Hurts pass, kicked it in, and went 53 yards for a touchdown. Auburn was fine and hung around, but Bama always had an answer.
The Tigers held up well against the Bama power running game, allowing just 121 yards and a touchdown. The key Bama parts all got in a little work, but this was about Tagovailoa being turned loose. He was too good, and Jarrett Stidham wasn’t able to come through against this D.
Stidham completed 13-of-30 passes for 127 yards and a score with a pick, and he was just okay enough to keep the Tigers in the game – down just 17-14 at halftime. But once Bama got hot in the second half, this was over in the third quarter. Stidham didn’t have any running game to help, and he couldn’t do anything magical against the Tide after Tagovailoa hit his home runs.
Auburn held the ball for close to 35 minutes, but Alabama outgained the Tigers 500 yards to 283. Gus Malzahn opened up the playbook and did everything possible to quirk this up and keep the team in the game, but eventually, there was no more magic.
Alabama is just too College Football Playoff good.