Shane: 2008 Alabama Season Summary

By Shane from Centerpoint

Alabama exceeded every pundit’s expectations during Nick Saban’s second stage of the “Process”. Even the most optimistic predictor (that would be me), who picked Alabama to finish 9-3, could never have imagined that the Crimson Tide would run through the nation’s toughest league and produce an undefeated regular-season record, while making its first appearance in the SEC Championship game since 1999. If the product that Saban put on the field is an indicator of the future, then Alabama will be a top-tier program for years to come.

Coach Saban has Alabama returning to the Sugar Bowl for the 13th time, with a chance to lead the Tide to its second 13-win season ever. Bama fans around the nation are walking around with a confident swagger and everybody is beginning to acknowledge that Bama is back. The amazing thing about the Tide’s rise to power is the speed in which it happened.

Among the things accomplished by this team include: breaking LSU’s 5-game choke-hold on them, regaining control of the series with Mississippi State after two consecutive-losses, and finally vanquishing cross-state rival, Auburn, after falling to them six times in a row.

Alabama won so impressively over some opponents that their coaches lost their jobs. The list includes: Tommy Bowden (Clemson), Phil Fulmer (Tennessee), Sylvester Croom (Mississippi St.), and Tommy Tuberville (Auburn). Saban would deny it of course but, if the dynamics of the losses are examined closely, that is apparently what occurred.

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This year’s version of the Crimson Tide accomplished a great deal in terms of developing a team personality. Saban’s men are hard-nosed, smash-mouth players, who bring their lunch every day. They seemed very comfortable with the “blue collar” label that most experts use to describe them. They are the personification of fundamental football.

Saban’s class of “blue-chip” freshmen quickly established themselves as some of the better players in a league where experience is usually required to be successful. Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and Donta Hightower exuded maturity, and established themselves among the best on the field – in spite of their rookie status. Jones is simply in a class by himself. He is an NFL-caliber athlete, and fascinating to watch.

Many upper-classmen, who failed to meet expectations under former coach Mike Shula, flourished under Nick Saban and his staff’s guidance. Offensive line coach Joe Pendry developed one of the best front lines in college football.

Junior college transfer Terrence Cody raised the level of Kevin Steele’s defense by becoming a huge force on the defensive line. He was the key to one of the best run-stop units in the land.

Year two of the Nick Saban era produced one of the best records in the Crimson Tide’s storied history, and there have been some great ones. With another top 5 recruiting class on the way, year three should be better than the second stanza.

The fact that Alabama set a “monster” standard (with a 12 or 13-win outing this year) raises the bar to the highest mark. The expectations from the Crimson Nation will rise accordingly. Perfection is the next stage in the process.

Truthfully, the Crimson Tide accomplished more than anyone might’ve expected in 2008. Tide players, alumni, and fans in general are once again proud to be members of the Crimson Tide family. The future looks brighter than any prognosticator could’ve ever predicted.

Finally, the days of NCAA probation and the era of tribulation are over. In an unbelievably short period of time, Alabama has regained national respect, returning to the status of being feared by its opponents and loved by the national media. It’s time to let the good times roll for the Tide!

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29 Comments

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  1. 1
    BamaInCC

    Nice article, Shane.

    When you look at the problems that this team faced last season (and countless seasons beforehand), it is remarkable what Saban and staff accomplished this year.

    Here is to a win in the Sugar Bowl. And here is to looking forward to 2009 (with expectations that are actually legitimate).

  2. 3
    bamasux

    Hypothetically speaking, if Bama has complete confidence and feels the sky is the limit with a coach who has won 2 conference championships and 1 NC, how should Auburn feel if it snags a coach who has won, say, 7 conference championships and a NC? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

    (Feel free to discuss)

  3. 4
    Brad Hicks

    Shane, nice job of capturing the essence of the season. Also thanks for being a great host to my family on the field after the Iron Bowl

  4. 5
    Bamasgreat

    Auburn will never know how it would feel to land Spurrier, he is not going to an inbred cow college to rebuild a program at 63 years old which Earsville left with the worst players in the sec, he might as well stay at an equally lower tier school in South Carolina

  5. 6
    Bama Fan In NYC

    BarnieSux, you’ll never land a Saban or a Meyer, . All you settled for with Tuberneck, is the head coach of the only SEC team you managed to beat in 1998.

    This time around, it’ll be nearly the same.

    By the way, I’m sure if Saban had stayed at LSU longer than 5 years, he would’ve had more titles under his belt. How many did Tuberville win in 14 years?

  6. 8
    julio

    NYC, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want to compare Tubs entire head coaching record, then you’ve got to look at Saban through Toledo, MSU, LSU, and Bama. Out of 12 seasons, Saban has six seasons with five losses or more and three with six losses or more. He has won 10 or more games three times. That’s not a whole lot different than Tubs other than Saban won 2 SEC titles, and let’s be honest: Saban was very fortunate to win the SEC in 01 (5-3 in the conference, all losses by double digits including a 44-15 bit*# slapping by Fla at home). They had a 4-3 head to head record, and they each beat the snot out of other a couple of times and also had some very close games.

    P.S. Yes, we’re all aware that Saban won a MNC in 03. Lucky for him that Boise State beat Hawaii in the last game of the season thus allowing LSU to leap frog USC into the title game despite the fact that USC was ranked 1st in both human polls. However, unlike Tubs in 04, Saban wasn’t undefeated that year.

  7. 10
    Bamaman

    Spinmaster Julio says: blah blah blah blah blah blah, you are as bad as Tubby about trying to spin positive’s out of a out of control downward spiraling loser program, the question was how many titles did Ears win in fourteen years? Since you don’t know how to answer, I will do it for you. . . the answer is a pitiful big fat ONE!!!!!!!

  8. 12
    julio

    errr, Bamaman…I was simply noting that NYC’s comparision of Tubs and Saban was inconsistent. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Tubs doesn’t coach at Auburn anymore. So talking about his record has nothing to do with spinning Auburn. I’m simply pointing out a factual inconsistency. As usual, you simply respond with hollow insults with no reference to facts whatsoever. If you’d like to point a fact I incorrectly stated, I’m all ears. Instead, I’m sure you’ll reply with something really intellectual like “aubbo” or “spinmeister”.

    P.S. As to your question regarding the number of titles, I think you’ll see in my post that Saban won 2 titles to Tubs 1. I also noted how lucky Saban was in 01. See, before you can win a title you have to win games. It’s really kind of important. Saban went 5-3 in the SEC that year and still lucked into the SEC title game. Tubs matched or bettered that 5-3 record SEC record for 8 of the 10 years he was at Auburn. He just wasn’t lucky enough to back into the title game like Saban was, even when he went 7-1 in 05. Under your theory of “wins don’t matter, only titles do”, Bama accomplished absolutely nothing this year. Now do you understand how stupid you are?

  9. 13
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    O.K. fellas……..I am an Auburn freak, but even I know that Saban is more competitive coach than Tommy Tubberville. I like Tommy Tubberville..He was good for Auburn , and I think that we pulled the trigger too soon on him. That being said, after watching what Saban did at Alabama, and how he did it after one year, I have to admit that he is probably the best football coach Ive ever seen. ( I just puked)………Alabama will be a monster in a couple of years. Yall will win a National Championship within three years. ( puked again)……Bama is back ….I thought that 2010 would be your year. I will continue to stick with that, though he nearly pulled it off this year. If by some miricle he gets Caldwell , Smith, and Coffee to stay I would have yall as the favorite for next year. But I dont see it. If the 2008 season didnt surpass all expectations for you Bammers, well, yall are crazy.

    On to Auburn, 2008 sucked. Bad. We are at a VERY important time in our football program. The next coach at Auburn will make or break us. Steve Spurrier IMO is no different than Fulmer. They are both done. Hiring him woulnt help. I am concerned about Gill. Going 8-5 in the MAC ( his best record) alone should exclude him from all consideration. Who do we hire ? I have said , and will continue to say, that we are looking in the wrong places. Picens are slim.

    Julio, If The Sana had stayed at LSU, they wouldve won at least 2 more Nat. Championships under him, and his record woul be averagin closer to 7 conference wins a year. IMO.

    Nick Saban is the best. DAMMIT !!!!!!!!

  10. 14
    Bamaman

    errr…Julio, for once take off your orange and blue blinders and realize that everything we do, are Saban has done is not by luck it is from hard work. I realize that what little the barn has accomplished is only from highly educated skill players,lol. You asked what has Bama accomplished this year, since you ignore the obvious I will refresh your memory with a few:

    Perfect 12-0 regular season
    Number one recruiting class
    Western Division Champion
    National Coach of the Year
    Outland Trophy winner
    Iron Bowl Champion by the worst score in 42 years
    Number one ranking for five weeks with the second youngest group of guys in the country.
    BCS Bowl – Sugar Bowl $$$$$$$$$$$

    Auburn = no bowl game, no coach now which would you rather have idiot.

    Now listen to Ballplay for once, he speaka da truth bout Bama and Saban

    And yes, I understand how stupid you are, whiny ass loser.

  11. 15
    Bamaman

    Ballplay, Caldwell is a senior this year and I believe Smith will go and Coffee will stay. But we have a 6’7″ 350 pound monster by the name of DJ Fluker ready to take Andre’s place, and I bellieve you will see our passing game improve next year, you may have seen McElroy in the Iron Bowl, but they say Star Jackson is better than him, either way I look for more production in our passing offense.

  12. 16
    BamaInCC

    Classy post Ballplay.

    I would be shocked if Coffee were to declare for the draft. He needs one more solid season to establish himself as an NFL caliber tailback. So, our backfield will once again be stacked next season with Coffee, Upchurch (hopefully healthy), Ingram, and incoming freshman Trent Richardson (if needed). I also agree that McElroy or Star will be a bigger playmaker than JP ever thought about being. Somebody who can do more than just manage a game.

    But you don’t lose Caldwell, Andre (top 5 pick=$$$$), a 3rd year starting quarterback, and Rashad (coach on the field) without taking a step back.

    I look for 2009 to be a 9-3 type season (possibly 10-2 with the favorable home schedule and a weak SEC) with a return trip to the SEC Championship game. I look for 2010 to be the year that Bama establishes itself as a year in and year out competitor for the BCS title game.

    RTR!!!!

  13. 17
    OMNIPRESENT

    Turner Gill was a TOKEN they have to interview one black coach or else. And your right Spurrier is done I dont know who they are gonna get but I got a feeling They knew who it was when they FIRED Tubbs ..

  14. 18
    julio

    no bamaman, I didn’t ask what Bama accomplished this year. I’m very well aware that they accomplished a lot. I guess you just completely forgot that you were saying that Tubs never accomplished anything in the years that he didn’t win a title. Now you undertstand how stupid you look in saying that when you apply the same rationale to Bama this year. Now quick, respond with something snappy and maybe everyone will forget that you said a team accomplishes nothing unless it wins a title.

  15. 19
    bamasux

    Fellow Tigers……do you get the impression sometimes that this site is made up of short bus window lickers from Tuscaloosa Middle School??? With the exception of maybe Kreskin, do these tards not paint themselves into illogical corners everytime they post?

  16. 21
    Bamaman

    Julio, you silly little man, show me where I said a team accomplishes nothing unless it wins a title, this all came about when you responded to the question of what title has Tubs won in his fourteen years and you went on with your usual orange and blue bs answer of everything from the chicken and egg theory instead of the answer which is one. Hey, if you are proud of that one and because yall beat Bama during our sanctioned years you have a very low bar. I wish Tubby was still at the barn so he could take some more of what you know is coming, beat down’s yearly on a level field. Aub’s talent pool has and is dropping off significantly and you owe it all to your lazy ass coach Ears, so spare me. Now was that quick enough dork?

    And Aubsux, why don’t you go to a loser inbred barn site and solicit support from your fellow Aub’s? See, 99% of the Aub’s left after your no bowl and no coach embarassment of a season, the only one’s that are left are those that are the most obsessed with all things Bama.

  17. 23
    Einstein

    To fully understand the impact of what the Crimson Tide has done to the Auburn “family” is to stand facing their “power-brokers” immediately after the game, watching the color leave their face, as they try to comprehend how bleak the future is going to be with Nick Saban at the helm of an Alabama program set to return to the upper echelon of college football.

  18. 24
    The BAMMER from St. Clair

    YO, PEOPLE! The question of the day and apparently several more days is, “WHO WANTS TO LIVE & COACH IN THE VILLAGE?” As of now, NOBODY! Yeah, yeah, it takes time. However, IT IS INTERESTING to hear about all of the interviews that have taken place. Aubies, I seriously believe y’all have really FUMBLED THE BALL concerning TCU HC Gary Patterson. That guy is a heckuva coach. Now I’m hearing Gene Chisic’s name being thrown around. We know what kind of a defensive mind this guy’s got, but he IS IN A TOUGH SITUATION at Iowa State. I can’t help but believe that he wants OUT of there and sees Auburn as a lifeline. Now, ask yourself a serious question: “Do we really want Chisic?” I realize he’s in a tough situation, and maybe he hasn’t had a good chance to prove what kind of a HC he can be, but I think you Aubies need to be focusing on Turner Gill or someone of his caliber. FORGET ABOUT STEVE SPURRIER! He may be frustrated with his situation at South Carolina but HE KNOWS what he would have to put up with if he came to Auburn; Bobby Lowder, Jimmy Rane and others who think they know more about football than a head coach who has been to the mountain top! The “money men” have their place, and they should know where that is. They didn’t get rich by doing STUPID THINGS. Those dudes need to get out of the way. Let President Gogue hire a REAL athletic director, EVEN SOMEONE with Auburn ties and you might be surprised at who you could attract! Before I “sign off,” I MUST address the statement Shane made in his article that says, “Tide players, alumni and fans in general are once again proud to be members of the Crimson Tide family.” SHANE, even during the times when our program was suffering, I WAS PROUD TO BE A RESIDENT OF THE ‘BAMA NATION. DURING GOOD TIMES & BAD, I WILL ALWAYS SHOUT “ROLL TIDE” WITH PRIDE & DIGNITY! Later.

  19. 25
    SportsInsiderGuy.com

    Sources say that whomever the next Auburn coach is he will have to bow and genuflect before Bobby Lowder and kiss the ring on his left hand. Steve Spurrier commented, “Well the ole’ Ball coach dont want none of that. Somebody needs to go up there and hang half a hundred kicks right square in the ass of the Auburn BOT for the Ol’ Ball Coach….”

  20. 26
    JW

    Does not matter who next coach is at cow college..Crimson Tide will spank that azzzzzz year in year out.U can book that because J.W.SABAN says so,,,

  21. 27
    OMNIPRESENT

    HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHH JW your a card!
    And bamaman IM SURE it was you or bamabrandy who said “TUbbs wasnt a GOOD/GREAT coach becuase it had not won but 1 SEC in 10 years so that made him a CHOKER or something along those lines kinda sure it was you I am just not gonna parouse this site looking for it among all the other limitless BS bamma shit! BUT U DID !!

  22. 28
    ALmba92

    Omni, TT was a good coach as long as he had good oc’s and dc’s around. You never see him on the field actually coaching like Saban does, even Franklin said he had only spoke to him 2 or 3 times the whole time he was there. He always found a way to choke on a game he should’nt, hence one trophy for fourteen years in the sec, but if you like an empty case you should love Chizik with what he has been able to accomplish at Iowa St. Get ready to get that ass whipped on a regular basis.

  23. 29
    The BAMMER from St. Clair

    YO! So Chizik is the man. You know, I remember what you Aubies said about Saban when he left the Dolphins for ‘Bama; he’s an opportunist, he couldn’t get it done at Miami, and “WE ARE NOT WORRIED.” Chizik COMPLETELY fulfills the “opportunist” role. Not being able to get it done at Iowa State? 3-9 and 2-10 after 2 seasons speaks volumes, but lets be fair. Iowa State is not the easiest place to win consistantly. As for being worried, I have a feeling that many of the AU faithful are worried. I know, only time will tell, but this is NOT a ground-shaking hire and if I was an Auburn supporter I would be wondering what does it take to get a high-caliber coach on the plains?

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