- Auburn defeated SEC rival Alabama 48 to 45 on Saturday to win the 84th annual Iron Bowl.
- Alabama suffered its second loss of the season, which will almost certainly prevent the team from being chosen for this year’s College Football Playoff.
- Alabama has been one of the final four teams selected for the College Football Playoffs every year since it began in 2014. Alabama lost to Clemson in last year’s national championship game.
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Auburn dealt its longtime rival a crushing blow on Saturday, defeating Alabama 48 to 45 in the 84th annual Iron Bowl. The loss is Alabama’s second of the season, likely eliminating the nation’s fifth ranked team from the race for this year’s College Football Playoff.
Auburn managed to hold a narrow lead for the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter. Alabama had a chance to tie the game with two minutes remaining, but kicker Joseph Boluvas’s field goal attempt missed after hitting the upright.
Alabama was without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a dislocated hip in a win against Mississippi State in November. Backup Mac Jones started the fourth game of his career at Auburn and had two costly interceptions, despite career highs in passing yards and touchdowns.
After the game, Alabama coach Nick Saban expressed frustration with the officiating. He objected to a late call in the fourth quarter that gave Auburn a crucial first down – Alabama was penalized for having 12 players on the field during a substitution. Saban also criticized the officials for stopping the clock with one second left in the first half after an Auburn pass, giving the team enough time to kick a field goal.
No team with two losses has ever been selected for the College Football Playoff, meaning Alabama’s dreams for the 2020 national championship game are probably over. Alabama was dealt its first loss of the season in a close game against top ranked LSU, another SEC rival, on November 9.
Since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014, Alabama has always been one of the four teams selected to compete for the national championship. That five-year streak includes back to back national championship games – Alabama lost to Clemson in the 2019 title game, and beat Georgia in 2018.
Jones will continue to lead Alabama in the postseason with Tagovailoa sidelined by his injury. Tagovailoa is a Heisman Trophy candidate and one of the highest projected picks in next year’s draft, though LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has risen to the top of most draft boards.
Auburn and Alabama will have to wait a few weeks for the final games of college football’s regular season to play out before they find out who they’ll match up against in this winter’s bowl games. The College Football Playoff committee will select this year’s playoff teams on December 8.