The NFL games are fun, but during the season few of them really matter. You just have to win enough to make the playoffs and hopefully enough games to gain home field advantage.
In college football, every game is life and death. If you are an Alabama, or Ohio State, or another traditional power a single loss may not ruin your season. But, for most teams a single loss will cost them any shot at the national title, or that last playoff spot.
A huge win can gain your school national publicity and a spot in the top 25. A huge loss can knock your school out of the top 25.
Two losses and even Alabama is out of the running.
That’s why I love college football so much, or another reason. Every game matters and it has influence on the final standings.
College football is a great game and there’s nothing else really like it.
Auburn vs Georgia is a traditional old time rivalry. This game is called ‘The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry’. Originating in 1890, this game is definitely one for fans of old time football history.
A lot of rivalries are actually a bit one sided, but not this one.
Georgia leads Auburn 56-55-8. It’s hard to get much more competitive than that.
The 2013 game may have had the most fantastic finish of any of them.
Georgia and then head coach Mark Richt were having a disappointing season in 2013 mostly because of injuries to super stars like Todd Gurley. They did have awesome senior Quarterback Aaron Murray and the thinking was they would win the SEC East and challenge Alabama for the SEC championship.
The season started badly for the Bulldogs with a 35-38 loss to 8th ranked Clemson.
Staying with Palmetto state teams, the Bulldogs beat 4th ranked South Carolina and Steve Spurrier, 41-30.
They beat North Texas and then it was 14th ranked LSU and Georgia barely survived the Tigers in a shootout type score, 44-41.
They beat the Volunteers of Tennessee, 34-31, to move to 4-1 on the season.
But, then, the bottom fell out for Georgia with losses to 5th ranked Missouri, 26-41, and then to 24th ranked Vanderbilt, 27-31.
At 4-3 one might think Georgia was done for the season. But, that was not the case as they bounced back against Florida in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party with a 23-20 win.
They followed that up with an easy win over Appalachian State to improve to 6-3 with still a shot at a decent season.
Rival Auburn was next.
Auburn was ready.
Coming off a horrible 3-9 season in 2012 where they were embarrassed time after time before the firing of head coach Gene Chizek.
With the hiring of Chizek’s former Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn who spent one season as the
head guy at Arkansas State. After compiling an impressive 9-3 record at Arkansas State, the Auburn Tigers eagerly hired them to restore the program.
The best thing that Gus Malzahn did in his early time at Auburn is sign Junior College Quarterback Nick Marshall.
The Tigers had an easier early schedule than their rivals, Georgia. They beat a very average Washington State in game one, but it was close, 31-24.
Malzahn’s old team Arkansas State was next and that was an easy win, 38-9. They eased past Mississippi State, 24-20, to move out to a surprising 3-0 start. After game three, they had already won as many games as the previous season.
But, then they ran into a buzz saw when they met up with the Bayou Bengals of LSU. Tiger Running Back Jeremy Hill ripped the Auburn Tiger defense for 184 rushing yards as LSU pounded Auburn, 35-21. The score was not as bad as the actual game.
Traveling to Baton Rouge was a huge disappointing for the Auburn Tigers and their fans and some were thinking that season was going to go down the tubes.
But, that didn’t happen as Nick Marshall and his teammates got it going.
They beat Ole Miss, 30-22, and then Western Carolina, 62-3. They barely survived a trip to Texas and beat Texas A%M and Johnny Manziel. Beating Florida Atlantic 45-10 and then Arkansas, 35-17, and Tennessee, 55-23. That set them up at 9-1 going into the big game against Georgia.
Georgia needed this game to salvage their season. Auburn needed this game to stay in the SEC West standings.
The Auburn Tigers got off to a good start and took a commanding 27-7 lead as the Bulldogs sputtered early.
The Tigers were playing well and built a 37-17 lead in the 4th quarter. But, Aaron Murray brought his Bulldogs back and they took a 38-37 lead.
Bulldogs were celebrating everywhere.
With 36 seconds remaining in the game, and down by one point, the Tigers had the ball at their own 27 yard line. It was 4th and 18 for Auburn and things looked grim for certain.
Nick Marshall dropped back to pass and Georgia was in prevent defense with a 3 man pass rush. From his own 20 yard line, Marshall hurled the pass down field to Ricardo Louis who was double covered. Marshall threw the ball from his 20 yard line to around the Georgia 20 yard line and the ball was heading right into Georgia Safety Tray Matthews waiting hands. Another Georgia Defensive
Back, Josh Harvey-Clemons reached in and knocked the ball up into the air. Auburn receiver Louis was still in a sprint and seemed to be focused on the Georgia Defensive Backs instead of the ball. He never really adjusted to the ball as receivers are supposed to do, but it worked almost like it was drawn up. On a dead run, the ball goes up into the air and a shocked Ricardo Louis suddenly saw the ball right in his hands. He juggled the ball slightly before bringing it in and strutting the remaining 10 yards, or so, into the End Zone to give the Tigers one of the more fortunate and lucky Touchdowns of all time and at the right moment.
Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray and his Bulldog teammates could not believe what they had just seen. It was stunning for fans of both schools and for the enemies of both schools an for casual fans.
Georgia Defensive Backs Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons both transferred out of Athens. Matthews actually transferred to Auburn and Harvey-Clemons to Louisville.
This was one of the crown jewels of a remarkable season for the Auburn Tigers.
Gus Malzahn was the king of Auburn. But, his luck finally ran out in the last few seconds against Florida State in the national title game with Heisman winner Jameis Winston leading his team for a nice come from behind win for the championship in the last year of the BCS,
Prayer at Jordan Hare will go down in history as one of the greatest and one of the craziest plays of all time. It was also a set up for the later crazy play that would become known as Kick Six and it gave Auburn the SEC West championship.