"I take full responsibility for it," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "I failed the players for not being able to finish the season the way we needed to. We had some adversities to overcome. We lost some players for various reasons and got some guys beat up and nicked up, and we didn't overcome it...The most disappointing thing about this season is that we didn't finish."
The most disappointing thing this season for the Tide faithful may be that they paid $4 million to a man who gave them six wins, six losses and their sixth straight loss to Auburn.
That last part may hurt the worst.
"It's disappointing for our fans and the people who support our program that we weren't able to do a better job and come away with a win," Saban said. "But more than anything, I'm disappointed for our players. I think our players played their hearts out and really wanted to win this game."
Auburn scored first and dominated early. With that first score, momentum swung Auburn's way and Alabama never really recovered. Auburn's defense was all over Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson all night and the Tide's offense suffered for it. It totaled just 113 passing yards and 112 total rushing yards. They scored just once.
"I am really proud of the way our players competed in the game," Saban said. "We did not start off really well. We played uptight and anxious. We dug a hole for ourselves and then we settled down and started playing pretty well. I am really proud of the way our guy's competed. They kept coming back."
Wilson, who completed 12-of-26 passes for 113 yards and an interception, said the Tide has a lot to work on before next season.
"We were 6-2 at one point, and we felt like things were going pretty well, but then it just seemed like things stopped working and we ended up losing four in a row," Wilson said. "It is something that we are all going to have to work on for next year. We are going to have to get better in every aspect of the game."
Wide receiver D. J. Hall said knowing they were on the team that gave up the sixth straight loss to Auburn was especially hard for the seniors. This group of Alabama seniors has never beaten Auburn.
"Losing to them is tough on us seniors," he said. "It is also tough on us as a university and for the fans. It is something we are going to have to live with the rest of our lives."
Defensive end Wallace Gilberry agreed.
"Besides losing my great-grandmother this year, this is the toughest thing I have had to deal with," Gilberry said. "This was one of our goals as a senior class, to win this game. It is very tough on all of us."