The Iron Bowl has produced some memorable games and this year did not disappoint - unless you're a 'Bama alum. Number one for most of the year and again for this match-up, the Alabama Crimson Tide squared off against the number six Auburn University Tigers.

The in-state rivalry is one of the most heated of college football rivalries. There is a history of fans exceeding the threshold of going over-the-top on account of love for their particular university's football program.

Fortunately for Harvey Updyke and generations of Auburn alumni, the trees which had originally grown at Toomer's Corner were replaced by others, and the spirit of the location remains intact if not the original oaks.

That is what Auburn vs. Alabama means to some people. The rivalry usually means a superior brand of football at the collegiate level for the rest of us. Rivalry games bring out the best in players who at the oldest, are only in their early twenties.

Offenses, not pressure tested can crack

Just like Ohio state's backup QB who won the "The Big Game," Auburn's starting QB was little-known being a transfer from Baylor. Jarrett Stidham qualified for immediate playing eligibility. In Stidham's defense, whether well known or not if only in Auburn circles, to have been recruited by Baylor means he has skills given the offense that former head coach Art Briles was running. Those skills came through as frankly, Auburn looked like the offense that everyone in sports-punditry land had been raving about all season.

Alabama has been riding their defense all year which has made it relatively easy to get a quick lead on opponents. The dynamics rapidly change in such scenarios when the defense can deduce what the opposing offense has to do in order to play catch-up. The shoe was on the other foot this particular Saturday. 'Bama had the smallest of leads (14-13) for the shortest of times.

Auburn's D was up to the task.

When your QB is only 13 for 23 totaling 177 yards and a TD, then you have to look at what was going on with the go-to guy. Calvin Ridley had just three catches for 38 yards but had been targeted a lot. That's not all on Ridley. Throwing the ball into double-coverage will result more often in incompletions than lucky bounces.

Conversely, Jalen Hurts ran for his usual tally of 80 yards, but it took him 17 carries to get them. Now that was unusual. Over the last 1 3/4 seasons, Alabama has been able to circumvent an okay at times passing game, notwithstanding stand-out performances by Ridley, through a bone-crunching rushing attack. The total for all of Alabama's four rushers was 202 yards on 35 carries - another anomaly.

Alabama has been playing mostly ahead for most of the season. Arguably, their toughest tests were against LSU and Mississippi State, with the latter being a true pressure-tester. It was the only time this season though, where 'Bama had been tested. Two games in a row with the Iron Bowl being for all the marbles in the SEC West for just the second time ever may have been too much for pressure seals tested only once.

By the same token, Auburn played the same, decent schedule in the SEC West plus faced Georgia and Clemson.

Has Alabama become the Miami of the '80s?

Some Auburn players were quoted after the game (source: NY Times) that they beat Alabama for the nation. Everone wants to see Alabama lose was one quote. As an Alabama booster since 1992 when the last vestiges of Miami were still around, this author can explain why that may be, how Alabama and their style of play - especially on defense - has alienated a fan base beyond in-state residents and alumni.

Coach Nick Saban's first national championship at Alabama was in 2010, and while Texas' Colt McCoy may have been out for 3/4 of the game, the defense anchored by Rolando McClain played tackle football.

Ever since around 2013, Alabama's defense has been more akin to light-the-guy-up-everytime football. Too many missed targeting calls ('Bama vs. Udub last year), too much arrogance of superiority, too many personal fouls when things went south ('Bama vs. Clemson last year), and a lack of sportsmanship in a loss (same vs. Clemson) have all combined to alienate college football fans in general. Unless you're a die-hard 'Bama booster of which this author is one, you may tend to overlook the previously mentioned transgressions - you might not even notice them. This author has taken notice, big-time!.

So this holiday season, it is time for 'Bama football - not necessarily alumni on a whole - to remember what Humble Pie tastes like because there may be more like that where it came from unless there is a return to some fundamentals.