Back in 2008, the Alabama Crimson Tide were on the verge of making it to the BCS National Championship. They were a perfect 12-0 as they went into the SEC title game against the No. 4 Florida Gators needing a win to punch their ticket to the national title game. They came up short against the Gators in Atlanta, however, and Florida went on to win the national title while Alabama was relegated to the Sugar Bowl as a BCS at-large selection against the BCS-busting Utah Utes. The Tide looked disinterested in being there and ended up losing 31-17 in one of the worst performances from a Nick Saban Alabama team to date.
Flash forward to 2013, and Alabama has once again fallen short at the end of the season. This time, they didn’t even make it to the SEC title game before dropping their first game, instead losing in spectacular fashion to the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl (which probably hurts worse). Now, Alabama’s chances of getting back into the BCS National Championship Game are all but over and the Tide will more than likely end up a BCS at-large selection (perhaps to the Orange Bowl).
That isn’t where Saban and the two-time defending national champions were expecting to be this January but that is the unfortunate consequence of lackluster field goal kick coverage. However, they can’t afford to come in with the same lackadaisical approach they had in 2008 because they’ll likely be facing a team much more explosive than the Utes, possibly the Oregon Ducks or Clemson Tigers. If the Tide walks into the game distracted and disappointed about not playing for another crystal trophy in Pasadena, they’ll find themselves losing back-to-back games for the first time since that forgettable Sugar Bowl performance.
Alabama is accustomed to playing for national titles. Can they rebound from the disappointment of just missing out better than they did the last time they suffered a late-season loss to lose out on the BCS National Championship?