TCU Almost Rolls the Tide, Lose in Fantasy Playoff Semifinal, 31-28

Jon SarverCorrespondent IJanuary 7, 2010

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 27:  Kicker Leigh Tiffin #99 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Clarification:   There have been many energetic Alabama fans on these blogs wondering just how these "lesser" conference team can compete with the "Big Boys!"

Shoot, you lost to Utah last year in a BCS Bowl Game but seem to have very selective memories on whether there would be a snow ball chance in hadies it could happen again.

This author has been called several different sophomoric names in his attempt to illustrate that we need to Dump the BCS and Demand a College Football Playoff now! Our computers models spit out a pretty close game and we are finding out the results are generally closer if you play it on on the field.  That's why we want a playoff.  Check out the championship game tomorrow !


Now to our not so "Fantasy" game!

In a titanic game between two unbeatens, Alabama proved the worth of their number one ranking by edging a hard working and sometimes undermanned but hard fighting TCU squad. The score was 31-28 at LandShark Stadium in Miami in the semi-finals of the GridIron Gauntlet "fantasy" Playoffs played at 5:00 PM EST, Saturday January 16th.

Alabama carrying the burden of "heavy expectations" from a fan base that feels "we are entitled" proved maybe they are.  Behind a steady, if not spectacular, day by Greg McElroy (17-28 for 225) and Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram, the Tide rolled to a 21-14 halftime lead. An interception return of 52 yards by Mark Barron set up the first Bama score as Greg McElroy set up a "surprise" option pitch to mark Ingram who scampered 15 yards past the number one defense in the country for a 7-0 lead.

TCU got the ball back on their own 25 and immediately moved down the field quickly and scored with 2:15 left in the first quarter on a 26 yard fade from Andy Dalton to Jeremy Kerley and the score was tied at 7-7. 

With 10:00 minutes left in the second quarter Mark Ingram "coughed" up the ball on Alabama's own 26 and a shocked tank Carter picked it up and saw nothing but green and the end zone for a 14-7 Horned Frog lead. That lasted for about 15 seconds as Javier Arenas took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 98 yards and suddenly we were tied at 14-14.

Nick Saban commented after the game, "I'm proud that we maintained composure and stuck it out against TCU. They are much tougher than the pundits said they were!"

Yes, it's true, the major conference teams tend to think there is no way these "lesser" conference teams can compete in an actual game (apparently forgetting Utah last year). The truth is, the GridIron Gauntlet 16 team College Football Playoff is a big hit, because all the moaning and complaining of fans demanding "my team will kill yours" was suddenly moot. The game was being played on the field and the sellout crowds and huge TV ratings were dominating the football fans attention in early to mid January so far!

Alabama closed out the first half turning another errant pass by Andy Dalton to Justin Woodall into great Tide field position. Greg McElroy then hit Marquis Maze for a 32 yard score and TCU found itself giving up big plays as never before. The teams left the field with Alabama leading 21-14 and TCU wondering what they had to do to keep themselves in the game.

Bama started the second half thinking the game was in hand. And it was in hand for the first 20 seconds until a trick play half back option pass left the Bama defense in shambles. The next play was a shocking Andy Dalton hand off  on a reverse to Jeremy Kerley and a 60-yard bomb to a wide open Bart Johnson and we had a tie score at 21-21.

After Alabama turned over the ball on the Horned Frogs 25 after a missed fourth down conversion you could feel the uneasiness in the pro-Alabama crowd at the site of the Orange Bowl. As the third quarter turned into the fourth, TCU managed to grind out a 15 play, 82-yard drive behind the punishing runs of Joesph Turner and Matthew Tucker and timely passes from Andy Dalton and the Horned Frogs were sending delirious "Bama" fans to their blogs to take it out on somebody! Alabama's season was in peril as they were behind 28-21 entering the final five minutes.

Tide fans were heard screaming "how can this be! We are Alabama and we always win these kind of games. We are always champions," they claimed, apparently forgetting the Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price, Mike Shula (Lot's of losing Mike's), and Joe Kines' eras. 

Apparently Alabama "claims" according to Wikipedia 12 National Championships. This is one more than the 11 "claimed" National Championships that USC has posted at heritage Hall. Interesting fact:  USC decided to claim an additional Championship about six years ago so they could tie Notre Dame. 

Rumor has it they are at Heritage Hall as we speak discussing claiming a possible 12th and 13th National Championship to assure at least a tie with Alabama. They are desperately hoping Bama loses as well (in the real game tomorrow) so USC can maintain their hard-earned (Emerald Bowl!?!?) one game edge in bowl victories. We mean, they could, Wikipedia says they have a right to 16 Championships, so why not go for it!

That folks is why this system is horrible. Please stop reading and Demand a College Football Playoff Now . We have a site that will help rally the troops. If you don't like the idea then don't go to the site (How can you Mr. Blogger promote your own site? It's called marketing and a plan that is more than just crying about it!), but for the love of "Paul Bear Bryant" do something!

The Tide behind a quick strike from P.J. Fitzgerald (I know what you Tide fans are saying... This blogger guy is lame. That could never happen. He was 1-1 for 7 yards this year.  Folks... it's fantasy and you are still reading!) for a wacky play not seen since Paul Bear Bryant's early years, the Tide struck quickly and tied the score at 28-28. 

The TCU fans were delirious! They were earning their undefeated season and high ranking. They belonged and all the "pop offs" about the Frogs weak schedule were suddenly ordering souvenir oxygen tanks with old Orange Bowl labels affixed!

A quick pass from Dalton to Jeremy Young had the Horned Frogs moving. However, on the next play Dalton mishandled the snap and caused a Joseph Turner fumble and the tie was preserved!

So, how does this game end? Well, to save this writer untold blog response humiliation because in real life TCU lost before we simulated this game (Yes they lost to an undefeated team but it was pathetic Boise State so that doesn't count! They must stink!), we watched as Mark Ingram proved that a Heisman winner could be on a winning team and they traveled down the field where Leigh Tiffin hit the game winning field goal (52 yards) as time ran out to give the Tide a hard earned win over a team they respected a heck of a lot now that they saw upfront and personal how tough they were.

Honestly, all fun aside it was a great game between two great teams and Nick Saban is headed to Cowboys Stadium for the GridIron Gauntlet 16 Team College Football National Championship the weekend before the Super Bowl against Boise State. Two undefeated teams for the National Championship! What could be better than that?