TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On the same Saturday that Ohio State and Michigan played perhaps the most heart-stopping of their 113 games, No. 1 Alabama closed out the only undefeated regular season among the Power 5 conferences with all the drama we’ve come to expect from the Crimson Tide this season. That is to say, none.
Alabama is powerful. Alabama is dominant. Alabama is much better than its archrival, a game but beat-up No. 13 Auburn, and the 30-12 final score failed to reflect the one-sided nature of the 81st Iron Bowl.
Alabama is not really big on keeping the interest of any audience not dressed in crimson or houndstooth. Anyone with any sense of this rivalry understands how much Tide fans enjoyed seeing Auburn struggle to finish with 182 total yards and seven first downs. But the rest of us are left to contemplate why we didn’t cover the game in Columbus.
Just kidding. But there is a point to make here. Michigan and Ohio State played a game for the ages, but one in which excitement and emotion papered over the mistakes. Alabama just keeps churning out victories. The latest winning streak is 24 and counting. If the Tide make mistakes, they are temporary, like a rub-on tattoo. A bad punt and two Jalen Hurts interceptions in the first half led to three Auburn field goals, and Alabama’s lead at the half was only 13-9.
While the scoreboard said the game was close, Auburn had two more field goals in the first half than it had first downs. The Tigers gained 31 yards on 20 offensive plays. Alabama didn’t turn the ball over in the second half and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, and that was that, as surely as hum follows ho.
Auburn, didn’t have its injured starting quarterback, Sean White. Tigers tailback Kamryn Pettway, who missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury, gained 17 yards on 12 carries. The Auburn offense couldn’t keep its defense off the field. Alabama, which averages 31 minutes, 9 seconds in time of…