Sometime close to the moment I snapped this picture a thought occurred to me. There will never be this many people at an Iron Bowl again. Next year’s game is in Auburn, where the stadium capacity is around 87,000. By the time it returns to Tuscaloosa, Bryant-Denny will be in the middle of a renovation that will add more bells and whistles and expensive hangouts for those with the cash and inclination to enjoy such.
Auburn's strategy was obviously to survive the Alabama first-half storm, keep the game close, then do something heroic in the second half. Such a strategy, though, oversamples early-season results and fails to account for the Alabama of the recent. Alabama may have started the year running up huge numbers and then sitting on the leads, which led to some artificial second-half statistics that implied the Tide couldn't play after the half. These days? Ask LSU. Ask The Citadel. And now, ask Auburn.
This is not an official University of Alabama document. The depth chart is taken from individual practice and game observations, and is color-coded.
A year after signing what was at the time, the best class in Alabama history on paper – a heralding that backed itself up on the field once the fall came – Alabama couldn’t repeat its past glories, and ended up signing the lowest-ranked class since Nick Saban’s first class at Alabama in 2007.
Statistically, a person who didn’t watch this game would look at the numbers and suggest Alabama and Oklahoma were evenly matched teams, which is understandable. Anyone who watched the game and still asserted such, however, are the same people who are likely to believe salmon ice cream with Brussels sprout gravy makes a good dessert.
Auburn has a solid quarterback, but not one that would threaten to take over a game against a secondary many believe to be elite. The game isn't in Auburn, where weirdness is born, fertilized and cultivated into something so bizarre it begins to appear as if it should have been scripted by William S. Burroughs. And Alabama, most certainly, doesn't have an explosiveness problem. The Tide has been as combustible as a sack of nitroglycerin in 2018.
There are a lot of similarities between Texas A&M in 2018 and Alabama in 2007. Both programs were coming out of the pit of despair – which for their respective fan bases, means anything less than 10 wins a season. While the Aggie offense is much improved – which you'd figure would happen, given Fisher's history as an offensive coordinator – the Aggie defense might not be able to slow down Alabama's high-powered passing attack enough to pull the upset.
The Predictions Dept. saw trouble coming for Mississippi State against Florida last week, but didn't pick the upset. Fortunately, the Kentucky pick came through to keep the damage to a minimum. This week, there is a fairly competitive slate of games top-to-bottom with the exception of Alabama's road trip to Arkansas and Ole Miss hosting Louisiana-Monroe.
Alabama broke out to a 49-0 lead at the half over Louisiana, then added another score in the third quarter before the air sort of went out of the ball in the fourth quarter. Nick Saban certainly can't mind that, because it gives himself something to focus on for the upcoming week.
Where do you go in trying to analyze a game that finished up as a 62-7 beatdown? When the defeated opponent insists on changing mascots every couple of years and is currently promoting something called a “landshark?” When a team's wide receiver corps refers to itself as the “NWO” while its defense is MIA?