In 1993, this was especially the case for the Auburn Tigers.
The NCAA laid down a two-year postseason ban due to former players receiving improper benefits, and even though the Tigers were one of the best teams in college football, they wouldn't get a shot at the national championship.
Nonetheless, Auburn was undefeated heading into the final game of the season. Running back James Bostic made sure it stayed that way.
James Bostic's 70-Yard TD Run vs. Alabama
In his first year at the helm, head coach Terry Bowden's team took care of all SEC opponents and then some. Quarterback Stan White led the offense, while wide receiver Frank Sanders and halfback Stephen Davis played supporting roles. Bostic was the focal point.
The crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium was getting nervous. White went down with a torn MCL in the third quarter, the Crimson Tide held a 14-5 lead and backup quarterback Patrick Nix was inserted into the game. He threw a miraculous 35-yard touchdown pass to Frank Sanders to cut the lead to 14-12 entering the fourth quarter.
The momentum propelled Auburn to a 15-14 lead following a field goal. With the game still close and 2:19 remaining, Nix handed the ball to James Bostic. The Auburn running back exploded through a hole in the middle of the field, cut to his right, shed a tackler and took it to the endzone.
Auburn hung on, 22-14.
The play not only capped a win over Auburn's rival and iced its undefeated season, it capped Bostic's college football career. White spoke about the weight of the moment in 2018:
"A lot of emotions for me personally," said White, a four-year starter who captained the '93 team. "Last game at Jordan-Hare, last game at Auburn. Knowing we weren't going to play for a national championship or be in a bowl. Even though I didn't finish the game, it was very fulfilling."
The season may not have resulted in a SEC championship or national title, but the final game of 1993 gave Tiger fans one more shining moment from an Auburn football legend.
Plus, it's always nice to beat Alabama.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.