By BJ Bennett
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SouthernPigskin.com Senior Editor B.J. Bennett looks at number two Alabama's impressive 6-0 start.
By B.J. Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com Senior Editor
SouthernPigskin.com Senior Editor B.J. Bennett looks at number two Alabama’s impressive 6-0 start.
When Nick Saban was hired in Tuscaloosa, rival fans and national pundits critized the Crimson Tide for having unrealstic expectations. Even national talk centered on the hire, the events leading up to the signing of the contract and the motivation behind the decision. That said, it’s not like this a new concept for this program.
“The expectation level is high at the University of Alabama and it should be,” former Crimson Tide head coach Gene Stallings once said. “What’s wrong with people expecting excellence?”
This is a program with eleven national champions and 25 conference championships on its resume. This is Alabama.
Since losing to LSU, Mississippi State, Louisiana-Monroe and Auburn in consecutive weeks to end the 2007 regular season, the Crimson Tide have won seven games in a row. In only two of those contents, Colorado in the Independence Bowl and Kentucky in Alabama’s SEC home opener, has the winning margin not been double digits. The average margin of victory in the aforementioned seven games? Over 18 points. During that stretch, the Crimson Tide have played in a bowl game, faced three SEC opponents, two top ten teams and played four games away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/alab/sports/m-footbl/auto_action/2308861.jpeg
What has been most impresive, perhaps, is Alabama’s play against premier competition. The Crimson Tide utterly demolished then ninth ranked Clemson in the their season opener against ACC favorite Clemson. In that game, Alabama jumped out to a 23-3 halftime lead before winning 34-10. Nick Saban’s troops outgained the Tigers 419-188 in total yards. In their first game since finishing second in the ACC in rushing at over 160 yards per game, Alabama held Clemson to zero yards rushing. Against then third ranked Georgia, the Crimson Tide led 31-0 at halftime before winning 41-30. In that game, Alabama had over an eleven minute egde in time of possession and had just nine yards in penalties. If you’ll notice, you often have to use the phrase “then ranked” when referencing a prior opponent of the Crimson Tide.
Though year one of the Nick Saban era had some ups and downs, year two has been nothing but spectacular. Consider year one the low tide before the rise. Currently ranked 2nd in the nation, this Crimson Tide is about as high as it can get. There are still a number of big games left on the Alabama schedule, but ‘Bama currently stands alone as the only undefeated team in the SEC. A home game versus giant-killer Ole Miss this Saturday, road trips to Tennessee and LSU and a home finale with Auburn highlight the six games still left on the schedule.
“I know there’s tremendous expectations here,” Saban said at a news conference when his hiring was announced in early 2006. “I can tell you that, however you feel about it, I have even higher expectations for what we want to accomplish. I want to win every game we play.”
After all, this is Alabama. Halfway through the 2007 season, so far, so good.
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