Surely, there was plenty that went wrong in the Alabama Crimson Tide's loss to Texas A&M. Enough to write a book, starting with the failure to run the ball with first and goal at the five in the final moments of the game.
But something else occurred, or didn't occur, in that fateful series that ended with a fourth-down interception, killing the Tide's next to last--and best--chance to win the game.
On third down, with a pass called, McCarron has nowhere to go, scrambles, and takes a giant hit at the two yard line. Look at the picture of the tackler hitting McCarron above the shoulders.
That is a personal foul penalty instituted to protect the players, quarterbacks included, presumably. But no call was made in this situation, which would have given the Tide a half the distance to the goal mark-off and, more importantly, an automatic first down.
We know that because a similar penalty was called against Alabama, tacking fifteen yards onto the play in favor of A&M, in the second half, to sustain one of A&M's few sustained second-half drives.
Just a few minutes before McCarron took his shot, Alabama running back Eddie Lacey was knocked out of the game by a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that drew a gasp from the crowd. Surely the officials noticed Lacey going out of the game, wobbling to the sideline.
The crowd saw it. The TV commentators saw it. But no call.
The rule is not bad. It exists to protect the players. However, the penalty on Alabama did not come from a flagrant or intentional foul. In fact, it appeared the A&M player was "getting small" in anticipation of the hit and almost ducked into the high hit resulting in the personal foul penalty. And it was a bang bang play in which the Tide player did not have time to premeditate or calculate the hit.
Yet the flag flew on the critical penalty against Alabama, while Lacey and McCarron went unavenged by the officials.
So why was the game not called evenly? The failure to make the same calls on Texas A&M not only eliminated the desired protection for Alabama'a players--they affected the outcome of the game, particularly with the hit on McCarron near the goal line.
Calling that penalty would have given Alabama first and goal at the one. Surely, the offensive brain trust would have run the ball in that situation. And, barring another fumble in scoring position, Alabama takes the lead in the game. Barring another Johnny Football fumblerooski comeback miracle, Alabama wins.
So is there an SEC inquiry into the juxtaposed call against Bama and no-calls against A&M? One would think so, for the safety of the players, if not the Tide's national championship hopes that were derailed by the unmade personal foul calls.