NCAA Football 14 Playoff Simulation - Semifinal 1

By EA SPORTS Dec 20, 2013

EA SPORTS Game Changers are high-profile members of the EA SPORTS community who use their expert knowledge of our games to inform, entertain and assist others. Today's Game Changers blog comes to us from Brian Parker, Senior Associate Editor at GoodGameBro.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Paakaa10.

With college Bowl Season set to begin, we’re taking a look at what this postseason would look like if the College Football Playoff was in place for the top four teams. The #3 Alabama Crimson Tide and #2 Auburn Tigers square off in Semifinal Game #1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Can Alabama emerge victorious in this Iron Bowl rematch, or will Auburn prove they’re worthy of a spot in the title game?

#3 Crimson Tide Find Revenge at the Rose Bowl, Tops #2 Auburn on Late Field Goal

As the clock ran down to zero at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, nobody was thinking about the improbable win Auburn pulled off in the regular season Iron Bowl meeting with Alabama or about the Tigers victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game. All thoughts were on once-vilified Alabama K #43, whose late field goal allowed the Crimson Tide to come out on top, 28-27.

The game started quietly at the Rose Bowl, and it wasn’t until the last minute of the first quarter when the first points went on the board, courtesy of a 29-yard screen pass from QB #14 to HB #21 of Auburn to put the Tigers up 7-0. The Tigers doubled their lead early in the second quarter on a 62-yard option keeper TD by QB #14. The Tide responded halfway through the second quarter on a short touchdown run by HB #4 to cut the deficit to seven, but the two score cushion was soon restored on a three-yard TD run by Auburn HB #21. While Alabama converted a field goal to end the half and cut the deficit to 11 points, Auburn was due to receive the second half kickoff.

Alabama came out strong in the second half, forcing a quick three-and-out. The Tide then put points on the board with a 33-yard TD pass from QB #10 to WR #2; a subsequent two-point conversion try ended with a successful pass to the end zone, trimming the lead to a field goal. Auburn HB #21 was slowed by a leg injury, hampering the Tigers ground game and allowing Alabama to get the ball back and score again to take their first lead of the game, 25-21, on a three-yard TD run by HB #4. As the third quarter drew to an end, Auburn K #36 converted a short 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to a single point going into the fourth quarter.

Trailing 27-25 midway through the final quarter, Alabama drove confidently knowing that a field goal would put them in front. Though K #43 had missed wide left on a first-quarter attempt, he was true down the middle of the uprights from 32 yards out on what proved to be the game-winner. Auburn’s final possession of the game made it to midfield before an attempted 4th down try was snuffed out in the backfield, turning possession over on downs.

Alabama dominated possession and the air attack, holding the ball for over five and a half more minutes than Auburn and gaining nearly 200 more yards passing; however, the Tigers outgained the Tide on the ground to the tune of 211 yards to 98 yards.

Alabama HB #4 was named the game’s most valuable player, rushing 18 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn HB #21 had a monster game, rushing 22 times for 109 yards and a touchdown as well as catching four passes for 57 yards and a score through the air. Auburn QB #14 only attempted seven passes, completing five of them for 72 total yards and a touchdown while contributing 11 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Alabama QB #10 finished 26-for-38 for 238 yards, with one touchdown and an interception on the game.

The Tide will play the winner of Semifinal Game #2 between the #4 Michigan State Spartans and #1 Florida State Seminoles, which will be played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Who do you think would win if Alabama and Auburn had to meet again in a playoff setting to determine who would go on to play for a national title? Could Alabama learn the keys to success from their first encounter with the Tigers? Or would Auburn be motivated enough to upset their rivals one more time and earn a title game berth? Tweet us @EANCAAFootball and let us know!

NCAA Football 14 is now available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Buy your copy today and #PLAYTRUE.