Alabama Hosts Auburn
Nov. 24, 2008
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (11-0) vs. AUBURN TIGERS (5-6)
SATURDAY’S GAME: The University of Alabama football team closes out the 2008 regular season with the annual Iron Bowl against Auburn. The top-ranked Crimson Tide host the Tigers for a 2:30 p.m. (CST) kickoff from Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is will be televised nationally by CBS with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (color analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline) calling the action. The Tigers are 5-5 on the season and 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference and coming off of a bye week after a 17-13 loss to No. 13 Georgia in Auburn.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his second season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 109-48-1 (.693) record as a collegiate head coach, including an 18-6 (.750) mark at Alabama and an 11-0 record in 2008. He captured his 100th career victory in week two against Tulane and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach in week three vs. Western Kentucky. Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003. 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 and his 2008 team is qualified for a bowl. Saban is the only current Football Bowl Subdivision coach to coach for at least 10 years and has never suffered a losing season. For more information on Coach Saban, please see pages 14-15 of this notes package.
AUBURN SERIES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 73rd Iron Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Alabama holds a 38-33-1 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. Auburn brings a six-game series winning streak into Saturday’s game, the longest in series history by the Tigers. Their previous long was a five-game winning streak over Alabama from 1954-58. Alabama owns the longest series winning streak at nine games from 1973-81. Alabama’s last win in the series was a 31-7 victory in Auburn on Nov. 17, 2001.
RANKINGS: Alabama remains No. 1 in this week’s Associated Press poll and USA Today Coaches poll after the Crimson Tide recorded a 32-7 win over Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide also held their top spot in the Bowl Championship Series standings and the Harris Poll. Alabama’s current stint at No. 1 in the Associated Press football poll is the first since the final AP poll of the 1992 season after the Crimson Tide knocked off Miami 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. The last time the Crimson Tide was ranked atop the AP poll during the regular season (prior to the LSU game) was the ninth week (Oct. 26-Nov. 1) of the 1980 regular season. UA has a 21-5 (.808) all-time record as the nation’s top-ranked team.
TIDE RANKED NO. 1: Alabama is ranked No. 1 in this week’s Associated Press football poll for the fourth straight week. Prior to the LSU game, it was the first time the Tide had been at the top since the final AP poll of the 1992 season after the Crimson Tide knocked off Miami 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. The last time the Crimson Tide was ranked atop the AP poll during the regular season was the ninth week (Oct. 26-Nov. 1) of the 1980 regular season. The Tide has a 21-5 (.808) all-time record as the nation’s top-ranked team. Alabama was ranked No. 1 for eight straight weeks during the 1980 season, with its last No. 1 ranking coming prior to 6-3 loss to Mississippi State at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson on Nov. 1, 1980. The loss to MSU ended Alabama’s school and SEC record 28-game winning streak.
SEC WESTERN DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: Alabama’s 27-21 victory over LSU clinched Alabama’s first SEC Western Division championship for Alabama since 1999. The victory secured a berth in the 2008 Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta, scheduled for Saturday, December 6, with kickoff slated for 3 p.m. (CST). CBS will televise the SEC Championship Game to a national audience. The Western Division Championship by Alabama is the Crimson Tide’s sixth since expansion created the divisional format in 1992. Alabama also won division titles in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1999.
NEW BCS RANKINGS OUT: Alabama garnered the No. 1 position in the Bowl Championship Series standings for the fourth straight week on Sunday, Nov. 23, when the fifth BCS rankings of the season were released. The Crimson Tide has a BCS average of .9872 with Texas (.9209) ranked second and Oklahoma (.9125) ranked third. The Tide is No. 1 in the Harris Interactive poll, the USA Today Coaches poll and the computer rankings.
HARRIS INTERACTIVE POLL RANKING: Alabama remained at the top of the eighth Harris Interactive College Football Poll that was released on Sunday, Nov. 23. The Harris Interactive rankings consist of a panel of former coaches, players and administrators along with current and former members of the media. Alabama garnered 2,839 points for the top spot with Florida (2,644) second, Oklahoma (2,598) third, Texas (2,577) fourth and Southern California (2,387) fifth. The Crimson Tide received 108 of 114 first-place votes with Florida getting three, Oklahoma two and Utah one.
SABAN REACHES 11-0 FOR FIRST TIME: Nick Saban moved to 11-0 for the first time in his head coaching career with last week’s win against Mississippi State. Saban had fielded two teams that reached 6-0 and two teams that reached 5-0. His 1990 team at Toledo posted wins in the first six games before falling at Central Michigan 13-12 and then his 1999 team at Michigan State went 6-0 before a 19-17 loss at Northwestern. Saban’s 1997 Michigan State and 2003 LSU squads started the year at 5-0.
Year Start Team
SABAN EQUALS YEAR TWO RECORD: Alabama head coach Nick Saban has guided the Crimson Tide to a No. 1 national ranking and 11-0 record this season. That is an improvement of four wins over last year’s 7-6 record. With his win over Mississippi State, Saban tied the school record for largest increase in wins from year one to year two. The record is presently held by W.B. Blount (1903-04) and Gene Stallings (1990-91), who won four more games in their second year with the Crimson Tide than in year one. Blount went from three wins in 1903 to seven wins in 1904, while Stallings saw an increase from seven wins in 1990 to 11 wins in 1991.
Rank Coach 1st Year 2nd Year Win Increase
SABAN JOINS ELIETE LIST: Coach Saban is one of only two Alabama coaches to lead the Tide to an 11-win season in his second year as head coach. He joins Xen Scott, Gene Stallings and Dennis Franchoine on that short list. Stallings is the only other coach to accomplish the feat, leading the Crimson Tide to an 11-1 in his second season at UA in 1991.
BEST COACHING STARTS: Saban has compiled a 18-6 (.750) record in his career with the Crimson Tide and the 18 wins rank in a tie for the fourth-most for any Crimson Tide head football coach after 24 games. Gene Stallings and J.W.H. Pollard also posted 18 wins through their first 24 games with the Crimson Tide. Xen Scott holds the record for most wins after 24 games, with 22 victories. Frank Thomas and Wallace Wade are tied for second with 20 wins through 24 games. Below are the most wins by Alabama coaches after the first 24 and 25 games in their career.
Most Wins (After 24 Games)
Most Wins (After 25 Games)
UA TIES RECORD FOR REGULAR SEASON WINS: The Crimson Tide has 11 regular season wins to tie the all-time Alabama record for most victories in the regular season. The 2008 squad is the seventh Alabama team to win 11 regular season games and the first since 1994. The other UA teams to win 11 regular season games are 1971 (11-0), 1973 (11-0), 1974 (11-0), 1979 (11-0), 1992 (11-0) and 1994 (11-0). A total of 12 Alabama teams have won 10 regular season games, most recently in 2002 (10-3).
Most Regular Season Wins
11-WINS ARE FOURTH MOST IN A SEASON: With its current 11-0 record, Alabama is currently tied for fourth place in school history for most wins in a single-season. The 2008 squad is the ninth in school history to win 11 games, joining 1961, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977 and 1978. The school record for wins is 13 set in 1992. The 1979 and 1994 teams won 12 games to rank in a second-place tie all-time at Alabama.
Most Wins (All Games)
NEXT GAME: Alabama will participate in its first SEC Championship Game since 1999 on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Tide will face the Eastern Division champion Florida Gators.