Monday, November 26, 2007

The Iron Bowl in the rear-view mirror

The Iron Bowl. The biggest rivalry game in the SEC, in my opinion, and for pure bitterness and hatred, probably the biggest in the entire country.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any of the game whatsoever. Kentucky had a basketball game Saturday night, and well, loyalties are loyalties. But this Iron Bowl was significant not only for the usual bitter rivalry, but also for the fact that this was Nick Saban's very first Iron Bowl. I wonder how he likes it now?

Eight in the Box says he has heard this song before:

Congratulations to the Tigers for playing a solid game and turning the screw just that much tighter into the brain of the Alabama fan base. Alabama has had a decent opportunity the last two years to end the streak, but in both games have been unable to generate enough offense against an aggressive Tiger defense to pull out a win. So how will the Tide end the current slide against the Tigers? It will take some hard work on the recruiting trail, the weight room, the film room, and a whole lot of aggression. The Iron Bowl shifts to Tuscaloosa next year where the Tigers are undefeated against the Tide.
Classy, first-rate blogging, that. Here in Kentucky, we know a thing or two about being on the wrong end of streaks, so know where it is he is coming from.

The Tide Druid thinks mistakes by the Tide were the difference in this one:

So basically, here is what I think of this game if you want to skip all of what I said above: Auburn didn’t win because of fancy play calling, superstar athletes, or extra prep time. Auburn won because they didn’t make as many mistakes, which is what it takes to win big time games like this one. I don’t view this as an excuse, I view this as a major part of every single game out there: if you make the fewest mistakes, chances are good for a victory. It’s called leadership and discipline. Congrats Tigers, we’ll see ya on the recruiting trail.

Recruiting is a common thread in these two posts, and that has been an area where Saban as excelled lately. But it takes more than talent, it takes a common will and sacrifice, and I think Alabama was lacking a bit of both this year.

Memphis Tider looks forward to next year:
I expect the senior class for next season to be better. I expect this team to gel more because of the senior leadership. I don't forsee any discipline issues like we had this season. I don't forsee stupidity from the "leaders" of the team. I think it took an ending to the season, like the one we just endured, to get these guys to pull together. The off-season conditioning program will be ridiculous. The players will be stronger and better because of it.
Hope springs eternal in the breast of the Alabama fan.

What do the Plainsmen think? Understandably, they are much more satisfied with the outcome of the season, and are reveling in just a bit of schadenfreude. Jay Coulter at Track 'em Tigers writes:

It never gets old. After all these years, beating Alabama just seems to get better and better. You could see it on the face of Tommy Tuberville. You could see it in the smiles of the fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Is six the sweetest?

In a lot of ways it is.

Jerry Hinnen at The Joe Cribbs Car Wash thinks some lionization is in order:
Honestly? After the debacle against Georgia two weeks ago, I wasn't expecting it to feel this good.

But oh, for now, all is forgiven. Give Tubby whatever he needs and a pony. Ready the bronze for the Cox bust and the marble for the pedestal and square off the necessary area in Foy. Someone send Lester and Tate each one of those baskets of sausage and cheese, like, the hugest ones in the world.
Happy, happy.

Well, I have to say that Auburn was pretty well set up for this game, new coach at Alabama, playing at home. That doesn't make a rivalry win like this any less sweet, and I have a feeling the pressure on Saban to get this monkey off Alabama's back will be ratcheted up significantly in the post season. Yeah, he gets pretty much of a pass this year, but next year is another matter.