AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - The 2013 football season has come to an end, but the look back on the season continues. For the Auburn Tigers, it was a year to behold (despite not winning the BCS National Championship).
Sports Illustrated reviewed the college football season for its Top 25 games of the year, and the Tigers are well represented.
The sports magazine picked five Auburn matchups for the list. Here's where the Tigers came in on the list:
Rounding out the 25th spot was the October 19th meeting between Auburn and Texas A&M in College Station. The previous year, Auburn was punched in the mouth via future Heisman winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, aka "Johnny Football".
Manziel tried for a repeat, but Auburn wasn't having it. The game is considered by many to be the turning point of Auburn's 2013 season with a victory 45-41. WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMeqwuMZ3D0
14. SEC Championship Game
The next Auburn game on Sports Illustrated's list comes in at number 14, the SEC Championship game fight between the Tigers of Auburn and the Tigers of Missouri. Auburn set several records in the fast-paced game including the highest number of points ever scored in the game's history with 59. (It broke the record of 56 set by Auburn against South Carolina in 2010.) The final score 59-42. Just hours later the Tigers would learn they were BCS National Championship bound following a loss by then No. 2 undefeated Ohio State. WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O99uIM-xaM
05. Auburn vs. Georgia
The rest of Auburn's games fall into the Top 5 of SI's list with the "Miracle in Jordan Hare" at Number 5. The Tigers held Georgia to a paltry 27-7, but the second half saw the Bulldogs come fighting back. With less than 2 minutes left in the game, Georgia pulled into the lead. Auburn, led by its new quarterback Nick Marshall looks as though they'd given the game away with 36 seconds left. To make things worse, the Tigers were stuck on 4th down and 18 deep in their own territory. What happened next shocked the football world. Marshall through a Hail Mary down field, bounced the ball off two Georgia players, and dropped it into the hands of Ricardo Lewis, who wasn't even looking at the ball when he caught it. Touchdown. Greatest play of the season. For two weeks. Final score 43-38. WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQmU6D2GfQ
02. BCS National Championship
The BCS National Championship Game, one of only two games the Tigers lost in their turnaround season from 3-8 to 12-2. (The other being LSU's win at home in the rain in game four of the season.) Auburn went into the game double-digit underdogs, expected to lose to a team that dominated in record-setting fashion all year: Florida State University.
For most of the game, it was Auburn all the way holding its widest lead at 18 points in the first half. As much as the first half was all Auburn, the second half was all Florida State. The Seminoles chipped away at the Tigers' lead, which it held until the last 13 seconds of the game.
While the Tigers could take solace in at least making it to the championship game after not winning a single conference game the previous year, it ended with a bit of irony. The Tigers loss came in the last seconds, and was brought on by a missed field goal and a 100 yard return for a Seminoles touchdown. Final score: FSU 34-31. WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RTNrYFRza0
01. The Iron Bowl
And Sports Illustrated's number 1 college football game of the year? The Iron Bowl. Played in Auburn's Jordan Hare, it was a chance for the Tigers to have vengeance on in-state rival Alabama. The Tide, on its way to a back-to-back BCS Championships the year before stopped just long enough to pound the Tigers into submission with a shutout 49-0 beatdown that ended with AU canning its Crystal Football-hoisting coach of just two years prior.
It looked as if Nick Saban had plotted another strategy to move on to BCS Championship #3 as he reviewed a play in the final moments of regulation. The clock at 0:00, Saban successfully lobbied to have one second put back onto the play clock after it was found his player was pushed out of bounds with the slimmest of time left.
A second was all the Tide needed to put a ball between the field goal uprights and win, or at the very least take the game to overtime and try to win there. But it was also all the time Auburn needed to catch the ball in the end zone and run it 109 yards in the opposite direction for a ticket to 365 days of smack talk (or a lifetime depending on the Auburn fan). WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GKmkD1pUG0
While Auburn hauled in 5 of the 25 games on the list, the Southeastern Conference as a whole was also dominant on the list with 12 games, nearly half the list. Other SEC teams whose games made the list included Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Missouri.
To read Sports Illustrated's full list of its Top 25 games of 2013, CLICK HERE.