So much for Auburn’s fairy-tale ending.
For weeks, as the Tigers enjoyed a six-game winning streak, the national conversation centered around the potential of a very meaningful Iron Bowl. As one of the nation’s greatest rivalries, it still will be, but not what it could’ve been after Auburn lagged its way to a 13-7 loss against Georgia, which has dominated the last 11 years of the rivalry.
The narrative quickly turned from winner-take-all Iron Bowl to Alabama’s repeat as SEC champs. Auburn (7-3, 5-2 SEC) will host Alabama A&M before an attempt to rebound for the Alabama game. Now that Auburn lost to Georgia, even a victory over Alabama wouldn’t spoil the Crimson Tide party.
National media began to jump on the Auburn momentum train in recent weeks. That tone has now been subdued. Here are some national outlet takes on Auburn.
What they said
USA Today, staff reports: “The Tigers likely will be headed for a sharp drop in the Top 25. The inability to compensate for Pettway’s injury revealed Auburn’s lack of offensive balance and inability to retain its spot as a championship or playoff contender.”
Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com: “On a day when Auburn was supposed to make the Iron Bowl nationally relevant again, the Tigers dialed up a whole lot of nothing on offense and Georgia capitalized.”
Aaron Torres, FOX Sports: “But instead of focusing on Alabama, let’s look at Auburn, and the insane stat that cost the Tigers the game. That stat: Auburn didn’t get a single first down in the second half. The Tigers were held to just 32 yards of total offense.”
Jason Kirk, SB Nation: “That was until Auburn lost at the home of its other major rival, Georgia, on Saturday, 13-7. The defending national champions now win the SEC West no matter what happens in the Iron Bowl. That’s a nice little gift to Nick Saban from his former defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, who’s now the head coach at UGA.”
Robby Kalland, CBS Sports: “The loss by Auburn clinched the SEC West division title for Alabama, making the Iron Bowl finale a matter of pride (and Alabama’s undefeated season and No. 1 ranking).”
Colin Becht, SI.com: “Now, even if Auburn can stun Alabama in two weeks, it can’t play spoiler for the Tide’s postseason hopes as a 12–1 SEC champion Alabama would still make the playoff.”
Nick Bromberg, Yahoo! Sports: “The Tigers couldn’t get a first down the entire second half as Georgia scored 13 points in the final two quarters for a 13-7 win. The victory means Alabama clinches the SEC West championship. Had Auburn held on to its 7-0 halftime lead, the Nov. 26 matchup between the two in-state rivals would have decided the division title.”
Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report: “Can Auburn embrace the role of national title spoiler when it faces intrastate rival Alabama—which clinched the SEC West by virtue of Auburn’s loss—in Tuscaloosa in two weeks?”
Charles Odum, Associated Press: “Auburn’s championship dreams disappeared in a deluge of three-and-outs.”