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Monday, December 24, 2012
Best/worst in 2012: Alabama

By Chris Low

We conclude our best/worst series for the 2012 season with Alabama, which is seeking its third national championship in the past four years:

BEST

Tough call here. The most obvious choice is the 32-28 win over Georgia in the SEC championship game, propelling Alabama to the Discover BCS National Championship in Miami. Linebacker C.J. Mosley saved the Tide when he tipped Aaron Murray's pass in the final seconds. Chris Conley caught the deflected pass inbounds for Georgia, slipped and was tackled at the 5-yard line as time expired. While that play was certainly one of the defining moments for Alabama this season, nothing tops that final drive to beat LSU 21-17. AJ McCarron's 28-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon on a perfectly executed screen play capped a heart-stopping finish at Tiger Stadium. Alabama, trailing 17-14, got the ball back at its own 35 with 1:34 remaining and no timeouts. McCarron needed just five plays to get the Crimson Tide into the end zone in what will be known simply as "The Drive" in Alabama football lore. Also, consider the difference between winning and losing that game for Alabama. Had the Crimson Tide not finished that drive and gutted out the win, they'd probably be headed to the Cotton Bowl right now instead of the BCS title game.

WORST

Alabama's dream of winning another national championship looked dead following a 29-24 home loss to Texas A&M a week after rallying to beat LSU in the final seconds. The Aggies jumped out 20-0 and then held on in the final minutes as McCarron was intercepted at the goal line by Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett with 1:36 to play. It was one of two costly turnovers for Alabama in the fourth quarter. Two possessions earlier, Yeldon fumbled at the Texas A&M 30. The Crimson Tide turned it over three times in the game and didn't have very many answers for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who rolled up 345 yards in total offense. For all intents and purposes, Manziel won the Heisman Trophy that day with his performance -- making the loss even more difficult to swallow for the Crimson Tide. Of course, a week later, both Oregon and Kansas State were upset, and Alabama had new life.