— TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban calls it "the Bluegrass Miracle phenomenon."
The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide plays poorly in one game but survives a desperation scenario and so no warning bells go off on the team that there might be problems.
"The last two games, I'd put both those in the same category," Saban said on Monday. "We didn't play as well as a team. You all (reporters) don't think so because we won one and we lost the other one. If we'd have won this one, you wouldn't have been concerned now either. I was concerned then.
"You all live in the results world out there. We kind of live in the process world. It's hard to get people to respond. It's kind of a Bluegrass Miracle phenomenon. You play bad, you win the game. Then the next week you get your (butt) kicked because nobody responded to playing bad because you won. You won the Bluegrass Miracle."
This time the Tide (9-1) beat No. 8 LSU on a last-minute touchdown then followed it up by digging an early 20-point hole and losing to No. 9 Texas A&M.
Ten years earlier (minus one day), Saban's LSU team survived to beat Kentucky on a last-play, 74-yard Hail Mary pass from Marcus Randall to Michael Clayton that became known as the Bluegrass Miracle.
The Tigers were pounded 31-0 by Alabama a week later.
Now, the Tide finds itself at least temporarily on the outside looking in at the national championship race and hoping two of the unbeaten teams — No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 3 Notre Dame — fall by the wayside. Alabama hosts Western Carolina (1-9) Saturday and then can secure a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 5 Georgia with a victory over Auburn (2-8).