As bad as those feelings were and the ones that still linger, they are nothing in comparison to the baggage the Auburn football players have carried around since that November day. Hearing constant reminders from the coaching staff and strength coaches, Saturday will be a welcome day for the team as they get a shot to erase the memories against a heavily-favored Alabama team in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"We've been waiting for it," defensive end Reggie Torbor said. "Everyone knows we've been talking about it--it's not a big secret. They beat us in our backyard. We hadn't lost here in two years. They beat us 31-7 on national TV and all those things just kind of build up inside you. You prepare for your LSU's and your Mississippi State, but at the same time Alabama is always in the back of your mind. You're just waiting to get to that game on Nov. 23. There is not a person on this team that doesn't know that date. We're just waiting to get there."
In addition to the humbling way the game was lost to Alabama, the Tigers lost more than their pride that day on the turf of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Blowing a chance to clinch the SEC Western Division Championship as well as a trip to Atlanta, the loss began a three-game tailspin for Auburn as the Tigers dropped games to LSU and North Carolina that brought on changes on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
"I think the biggest thing about last year after the loss, of course we never like to lose, was what we lost was more than the game," Torbor said. "We lost a trip to Atlanta, we lost I guess you could say a season because everything we had worked for went down the drain. They took a lot from us last year and we hope to get them back this week for that. We know they'll be ready for us. They are a good ball team, everyone knows that. They are probably one of the best teams if not the best team in the SEC. We're just going to go down there and play our game."
Auburn must overcome the disappointment of the Georgia loss last Saturday before they can begin to get ready for Alabama. Torbor said that game stayed with the team a little while and even though there's nothing you can do but move on, he admitted that one was tough to swallow.
"It was real tough," Torbor said. "It was the last second, fourth down. We had fought all night, but things just didn't bounce our way again. It was the second or third time that's happened this season. It's tough to work all week for it and then have it laying right there in front of us and seeing it fall through our hands again."
Reggie Torbor (82) is shown in practice working against offensive tackle Ryan Broome.
The loss to Georgia on Saturday was painful in more than one way as the Tigers remain a game behind LSU and tied for Arkansas in the race for the SEC title game. Needing a victory on Saturday and a loss by both the Tigers and Hogs in the next two weeks, Torbor said his team is just going to worry about what they can control this week and hopefully everything will fall into place.
"There's always a chance," Torbor said. "LSU could very easily lose again. The only thing is the two teams we need to lose play each other so one of them has to win that game. We need Mississippi State, who hasn't been playing very well, to beat somebody. Something could fall but we need to worry about Alabama right now. There is nothing we can do about that."
Playing a game of what if right now after the Georgia loss in the last minutes and losses to Florida in overtime and Southern California late, the Tigers have to be thinking what the season would be like if things had gone their way. Instead of dwelling on that this week Torbor said they are focusing on Alabama because a win in this game would make everything good again.
"A win is always a quick fix no matter how hard a loss is," Torbor noted. "A win is so good, especially over Alabama. That is a big rivalry game and a lot goes in to this game. We've been waiting for it all year, especially since last year. We're going to have to get focused this week and go down there and get ready for Alabama."