Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Battles Auburn in Regular-Season Finale



Nov. 23, 2009

GAME 12: ALABAMA (11-0, 7-0 SEC)
VS.  AUBURN (7-4, 3-4 SEC)

Alabama Game Notes (vs. Auburn) Get Acrobat Reader

THE GAME:  The No. 2/3 University of Alabama football team visits the plains for the final regular-season game of the 2009 season on Friday, November 27, against the Auburn Tigers. It will be the 74th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1893. The game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium and will be televised by CBS with Craig Bolerjack and Steve Beuerlein calling the action. Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.

HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 121-50-1 (.706) record as a collegiate head coach with a 30-8 (.789) mark at Alabama that includes an 11-0 record this year with a 7-0 mark in the SEC. Saban has now won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Alabama already bowl eligible this season. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.

RANKINGS: The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, No. 2 in the BCS standings, No. 3 in the Harris Poll and No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches' poll this week following a 45-0 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga. Alabama has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the coaches' poll this season. UA garnered 13 first-place votes in the AP poll and eight in the coaches' poll this week. Alabama was ranked fifth in both the AP and USA Today Coaches' preseason polls. It was the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when Alabama opened at No. 3.

FOURTH-QUARTER DOMINANCE: Finishing has been a focus for Alabama over the past two seasons as the Tide has ascended into the nation's elite. And no one in the SEC has been better in the fourth quarter in 2009 than the 11-0 Crimson Tide. Alabama has outscored its opponents 96-24 in the fourth quarter, a margin of 72 points. That number grows to 163-56 in the third and fourth quarters for a margin of 107 points.   

10-WIN SEASONS:  Alabama's 11-0 record in 2009 gives the Crimson Tide its 30th 10-win season in 115 seasons of football. Alabama's 30 10-win seasons ranks second in college football behind Oklahoma, which has reached the 10-win plateau 31 times. It is the fourth time this decade in which Alabama has had 10 wins in a season (2002, 2005, 2008 and 2009). Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the 11th coach in school history to lead his team to a 10-win season. In addition, Saban is the fifth coach in school history to have more than one 10-win season. Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 12-2 record last season.

ALABAMA 27-1 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF:  The Crimson Tide is 27-1 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban, including a 20-game winning streak. The only loss came against LSU in 2007 when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 2-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 1-2 when tied at halftime. The two wins when trailing at the half came in a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 in Atlanta and a 24-15 victory over No. 9 LSU on Nov. 7. Alabama's lone win when tied at halftime came last year at LSU, a 27-21 victory over Nov. 8, 2008.

ALABAMA-AUBURN SERIES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 74th Iron Bowl on Friday, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2009 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. Alabama holds a 39-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to the 1893 season. The Crimson Tide and Tigers first met on Feb. 22, 1893 at Birmingham's Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming 32-22 victory in the inaugural meeting. Alabama snapped a six-game series losing streak with a 36-0 win last year in Tuscaloosa. This is the 10th meeting between the two schools at Jordan-Hare Stadium, with the first meeting taking place 20 years ago, when the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide 30-20 on Dec. 2, 1989. Auburn owns a 7-2 series lead in games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, with Alabama's wins coming in 1999 (28-17) and 2001 (31-7).
MORE SERIES LORE:  Just about everyone knows of the rich history and tradition associated with the Alabama-Auburn series, but some people may not be aware that the rivalry was discontinued for more than 40 years in the first half of the 20th century. A few seemingly minor disagreements between the teams resulted in the series being cancelled in 1908. It was not resumed until the 1948 season. Though there are myths about fighting and other violence necessitating a dismissal of the series, the truth is that the only problems between the two teams emerged over the referee and per diem money for the players. In winning the 1906 game, Alabama used an offensive formation that Auburn head coach Mike Donahue declared illegal. After Alabama implemented a similar formation in 1907, Auburn insisted that their next meeting be officiated by an umpire from outside the South. Alabama thought this request to be ludicrous, and that became the first matter of disagreement between the two schools. The second conflict, which was over per diem, essentially amounted to $33. Each team was allowed 22 players on its roster. Auburn wanted each player to receive $3.50, while Alabama thought the amount should be only two dollars. After arguing for several months over these two matters, the teams finally reached a compromise and decided not to play in 1908. By this point, however, their schedules had been set for the season, and neither team's opponents were willing to move. Alabama suggested playing the game after Thanksgiving, but Auburn's Board of Trustees would not allow them to play beyond the holiday. Thus, the game was not played in 1908, and it was not placed on the schedule the following year. Attempts to revive the game in 1911, 1919, 1932 and 1944 all failed. Finally, in the spring of 1948, behind the initiative of Alabama President John Galilee, an agreement was reached to resume the series in Birmingham that fall. Prior to the game, student body presidents Gilis Cammock of Alabama and Willie Johns of Auburn participated in a symbolic "burying of the hatchet" ceremony at Woodrow Wilson Park in Birmingham. The two teams rekindled their rivalry at Legion Field on Dec. 4, 1948 and have played annually since then.

UA-AU WINNER GETS "FOY TROPHY": On July 13, 1948, the two circles of Omicron Delta Kappa, national leadership honor society from the University of Alabama and Auburn University joined together to sponsor a trophy devoted to sportsmanship between the two universities. The ODK-James E. Foy V Sportsmanship Trophy is a tradition which symbolizes the good relationship between the two schools. Originally the trophy was displayed in Birmingham in Loveman's store window the week prior to the football game between the two universities. Then, in a parade preceding the game, the trophy would be carried in a convertible with the Omicron Delta Kappa presidents from each school on either side. The parade was stopped in the 1960s but the trophy has continued to be awarded every year. The trophy is now awarded to the winner at halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game on the winner's home court. The trophy remains in their care until the next year's presentation takes place. In January 1978, the trophy was dedicated to Dean James E. Foy V upon his retirement as the Dean of Student Affairs at Auburn University. He began serving in that position in 1950 after serving as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Alabama.

IRON BOWL RANKINGS: For the 26th time since 1980 at least one team is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 entering the annual Iron Bowl. Neither team was ranked in 1982, 1998 and 2003. Alabama is No. 2 in the current AP poll and is ranked entering the Iron Bowl for the 36th time in history. The Crimson Tide is 25-10 against the Tigers when ranked in the AP poll. Auburn has been ranked a total of 26 times in Iron Bowl history and has compiled an 18-8 record when ranked in the AP Top 25. The highest ranked team owns a 40-10 record in the series since 1955.

TELEVISED GAMES:  The 2009 Alabama-Auburn game will be the 35th televised game in the series, dating back to the series' first televised game in 1964. Alabama owns an 18-16 record in the previous 34 TV games. The Alabama-Auburn game is being televised for the 16th consecutive year and for the 28th time in the last 30 years this season from Auburn. CBS Sports will televise its 11th Iron Bowl this season.

NON-SATURDAY GAMES:  Alabama and Auburn meet on Friday, Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving, marking the 39th time since the formation of the SEC the Tide has played a game on a day besides Saturday. The last time Alabama played a non-Saturday, regular season game was Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001, as the Tide beat Southern Miss, 28-15, at Legion Field. That game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, 2001 but was rescheduled after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. This year's Alabama-Auburn game is the first regular season game not to be played on Saturday since the Crimson Tide posted a 17-0 win over Auburn on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) in 1992 at Legion Field.  For the record, Alabama's first football game was played on Friday Nov. 11, 1892, when the Crimson Tide blanked Birmingham High School 56-0 in Birmingham.

NEXT GAME: The Crimson Tide makes its second straight trip to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta to face the top-ranked Florida Gators. The Georgia Dome, the site of the SEC title game since 1994, is a familiar venue for the Crimson Tide, who will be playing their fourth game in the building over the past two years. The game is slated to kickoff at 3 p.m. (CST) and will be broadcast by CBS. It will be the seventh meeting for Alabama and Florida in the SEC Championship Game with the Gators owning a 4-2 in the previous six games. Florida is the only opponent Alabama has ever faced in the SEC title game.