The Jumbo Package | 12.02.13

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

I know this is a news dump, but if you'll indulge me, I'm going to unload a bit of emotional baggage first.  So, Saturday night, when Saban had Adam Griffith take the field, I was pretty angry.  It seemed to me that putting a kid with two career kicks in to try a 57-yard game winner was a much worse option than just throwing a hail mary.  When the kick got returned, I didn't even get mad.  I laughed.  How else are you supposed to react to such an absurd and impossibly unlikely ending to a game where seemingly everything was going wrong?

That night, I went to bed and I told myself, "I'm not even mad.  I'm not that upset.  No big deal."  Then I woke up at four in the morning and the kick return was playing on a loop in my mind.  I could see it as clear as day, and was powerless to stop it.  Then I realized, "Oh.  I'm not over this, and it is going to be a rather big deal to me."  So, yesterday, I spent the day mourning.

This morning during my commute, I listened to music rather than my normal sports talk radio, and in the midst of trying to avoid thinking about football, I remember that I've voluntarily put myself in a position where I have to think about it.  So, let's man up, get over it, and get this dang show on the road.

Student who wrote letter to Alabama kicker Cade Foster explains why she wrote it, says Saban inspires her | AL.com

"I was emotional to say the least. When I logged onto social media sites and saw the trending topics, I heard those same family friends saying, 'Pray for him and his family. The weight of the loss will fall on him.' I was heartbroken for Cade. So, I did the only thing I know to do, write."

And write she did.  "For four years now, you have sold your soul to Alabama Football. For twelve weeks out of the year, you have faced other players that would like nothing more than to break your legs in half. For 365 days of the year, you have practiced every day. You have focused every day. You have put pressure on your body that you will never ever be able to reverse. And you did it for us. And we could not give you a break for one loss. We couldn't even give you a break for one kick," she wrote.

We try to avoid the use of strong language in the bodies of our articles, but there isn't an expression vile enough to describe the type of people that would attack a player like this.  Bad nights happen.  Any rational viewer should know that, since pretty much every facet of the team had a bad night (coaching mistakes, QB misses, tons of false starts, wide receiver drops, linebacker misreads, even the punter (who had a decent night statistically) dropped a punt for no reason).  This was as much of a team loss as you'll ever see.

The 13 reasons Alabama lost the Iron Bowl, some obvious, others more subtle | AL.com

7. Movement?

Now to the controversial false start that cost Alabama three huge fourth-quarter points. Foster was lined up for a 28-yard field goal attempt with 14:08 remaining. Flags came in and Arie Kouandjio was called for moving early as Foster's field goal sailed through the uprights. Replays did not show any movement — perhaps the slightest of flinches — for a stunned Kouandjio. It would have broken a 21-21 score, and combined with the 99 yard AJ McCarron-to-Cooper touchdown a few minutes later would have put the Tide up two scores in the fourth quarter. That scenario would present itself again, however.

Game changer.  You really should never put yourself in a position where something this small makes a difference, but in a game littered with missteps we could point to, this was a single play that may well have swung the game.

Alabama slips in the BCS standings, but almost assured it'll play in a top bowl | AL.com

It became official Sunday night when the new BCS standings were released and Alabama was No. 4. The 34-28 loss to Auburn means the Tide will need losses from No. 1 Florida State (to No. 20 Duke) and No. 2 Ohio State (to No. 10 Michigan State) to get back in the conversation. But, the No. 4 ranking means Alabama could not fall out of a BCS bowl assuming it holds firm in next week's final ranking. A Missouri win over Auburn could bump the Tide down to No. 5 with the Tide sitting idle this week.

I'll understand if you some of you allow yourselves to hope for a second chance.  The odds are just to remote for me to let myself go there.  I will say this, though.  There is no chance that we drop to #5 in the polls next week.  If Auburn loses (please, baby Jesus, make it so), there's no way they stay ahead of us with two losses.

College Football Bowls - CBSSports.com

Orange   Jan. 3    Miami, Fla.   ACC/BCS vs BCS        Clemson vs. Alabama

You want to know what we should be hoping for?  We need Ohio State to lose to Michigan State this weekend (will happen), we need Auburn to lose to Mizzou this weekend (please happen), and then we need Mizzou to beat Florida State in the national championship.

This way the SEC streak lives on (helps our mystique), and at the same time, keeps Auburn or Florida State (arguably our two biggest recruiting rivals) from winning a title.  It would also free us up to maybe go to the Sugar Bowl (where we belong), since they would lose their conference tie-in, Mizzou.

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