Auburn potentially played spoiler against Alabama and “made great strides” despite the Tigers’ biggest black eye of 2023.

“If you take away Week 11, I think we have made great strides in our culture. But, even with that week, we started learning about true accountability and meeting the standard every single day,” Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze told the media on Monday.

Auburn’s 31-10 loss to New Mexico State in Week 11 still haunts the Tigers program and fan base. Not only did the Aggies roll into Auburn with an upset win, the Aggies won convincingly, which goes against Freeze’s expectations all the more.

“We should be in every game. This place — the support it has, the energy, the fan base, the culture, the family feel, the administration alignment, the facilities — everything is here to build a championship team. It’s here. We can do it,” Freeze said.

For 4 quarters in Week 12, Auburn showed it can still tangle with the top of college football. The Crimson Tide needed a 31-yard TD pass on a fourth down with 32 seconds left to escape with a 27-24 win over the Tigers on Saturday.

Alabama has a shot at the College Football Playoff with a win over Georgia in the SEC Championship. Auburn will draw a bowl game with a change to build on a promising showing against the Tide.