Julio Jones can find some parallels between Alabama's 2013 season and his freshman year with the Crimson Tide.
When Jones, now a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, was a freshman in 2008, Alabama played Florida in the SEC Championship Game. The teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and the winner was going to go to the BCS Championship Game.
Florida won. So when Jones was asked by SI.com if the dramatic 2013 Auburn loss was tougher than the Tide's surprising Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, he was unequivocal in saying it was the Auburn loss because it was the one that destroyed Alabama's national title hopes. And probably didn't make too many friends among organizers of the Sugar Bowl in the process.
"Oh yeah, no question. See when you're Alabama, when we're there, it's like championship or not. Sugar Bowl, nobody don't care about playing in the Sugar Bowl. But as an athlete, those guys have got to get it better."
After Alabama lost to Florida in 2008, the Crimson Tide played Utah in the Sugar Bowl and lost to the Utes 31-17, a loss pretty similar to the one against Oklahoma.
"Because when I was there, I guess my freshman year we lost to Florida (in the SEC Championship game)," Jones continued. "We went to the Sugar Bowl and we lost to Utah. Nobody wanted to play that game. Everybody was disappointed because we thought we were going to go to the national championship game then we lost. Like this previous year with Alabama, the same thing happened. We lost the game to Auburn and then they go to the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma beats them. It's like, Alabama, we're so – it's either championship or not, like I said."
We're not sure if Jones' switching of person from "we" to "they" about Alabama is on purpose or even subconscious, but it's interesting to note, especially in the context of the loss to Oklahoma.
And while Alabama's high standards are an easy excuse for the bowl losses because of the success of the program, it also seems like a bit of a copout, especially against Oklahoma. The Tide were simply outplayed by the Sooners.
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- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Julio Jones
- SEC Championship Game
- Sugar Bowl