Iron Bowl: Alabama-Auburn preview game notes

GAME 12: Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) (notes courtesy of UA Media Relations)
vs. Auburn (7-4, 3-4 SEC)
Friday, November 27 • 1:30 p.m. • CBS
Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451) • Auburn, Ala.

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.

AUBURN SERIES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers meet in the 74th Iron Bowl on Friday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. Alabama holds a 39-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to February 22, 1893 (1892 season), when the two teams met at Birmingham’s Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming 32-22 victory. The Crimson Tide captured a 36-0 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium last season. Alabama will be making its 10th visit to Auburn with the Tigers owning a 7-2 edge in the series on the plains. UA’s last win at Auburn was a 31-7 triumph in 2001.

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.

BCS RANKINGS RELEASED: Alabama is ranked second in this week’s Bowl Championship Series standings released on Sunday, November 22. The Crimson Tide (.9614) trails No. 1 Florida (.9664) by a margin of just .0050 with Texas in third at .9263. The Tide is ranked No. 3 in the Harris Interactive poll and the USA Today Coaches poll but is a consensus No. 1 in the average of all six computer rankings, while third-place Texas is fourth in the computers. TCU is fourth in the BCS with an average of 0.8699 with Cincinnati fifth (.8591).

Team BCS Average Harris Average Coaches Average Computer Average
1. Florida .9664 .9800 (1) .9892 (1) .930 (2)
2. Alabama .9614 .9432 (3) .9410 (3) 1.000 (1)
3. Texas .9263 .9512 (2) .9478 (2) .880 (4)
4. TCU .8699 .8726 (4) .8671 (4) .870 (5)
5. Cincinnati .8591 .8274 (5) .8298 (5) .920 (3)

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.

TIDES HAS 10-GAME STREAK FOR 22nd TIME IN HISTORY: Alabama’s 11-game winning streak gives them a winning streak of 10 games or more for the 22nd time in school history, an NCAA record. The last time UA owned a 10-game winning streak came during the 2007-08 seasons when UA reeled off 13 consecutive wins. That streak began with a 30-24 win over Colorado in the 2007 Independence Bowl and continued through the 2008 regular season. The streak ended with a 31-20 loss to Florida in the 2008 SEC Championship Game.

ALABAMA SECOND NATIONALLY IN WINS OVER LAST TWO YEARS: Alabama has won 23 games over the past two seasons, which is tied for the second most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Crimson Tide won 12 games a season ago and has followed that with a perfect 11-0 record in 2009. Florida leads the nation with 24 wins over the past two years, while Boise State and Texas join Alabama with 23 victories. It is the first time since the 1991 (11 wins) and 1992 (13 wins) seasons that the Crimson Tide has won at least a combined 23 games in back-to-back seasons.

TOTAL WINS (2008-2009)
Team Total wins 2008/2009
Florida 24 13/11
Alabama 23 12/11
Texas 23 12/11
Boise State 23 12/11
TCU 22 11/11
Utah 21 12/9
Cincinnati 21 11/10
Penn State 21 11/10

ALABAMA 27-1 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: Before trailing LSU at halftime, 7-3, on Nov. 7, Alabama had led at the half of seven consecutive games. 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.

BEST COACHING STARTS: Nick Saban has compiled a 29-8 (.784) record in his career with the Tide and the 29 wins rank as the fourth-most for any Crimson Tide head football coach after 37 games. Wallace Wade holds the record for most wins after 37 games with 33 victories. Frank Thomas is second with 32 wins while Gene Stallings is third with 31. Xen Scott is fifth with 26 and Paul “Bear” Bryant is sixth with 25 wins at this point in their careers. Below are the most wins by UA coaches after the first 37 and 38 career games.

Most Wins (After 38 Games)
Wallace Wade 34
Frank Thomas 33
Gene Stallings 32
Nick Saban 30
Xen Scott 27
Paul “Bear” Bryant 26

Most Wins (After 39 Games)
Wallace Wade 34
Frank Thomas 34
Gene Stallings 33
Xen Scott 27
Paul “Bear” Bryant 27
Ray Perkins 26

18 NATIONAL TV GAMES IN LAST TWO YEARS: The Auburn game, which will be broadcast on CBS, will be the Crimson Tide’s 18th national television game since the start of the 2008 season. UA opened this season with a national ABC broadcast against Virginia Tech and CBS then broadcast the Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and LSU games. ESPN broadcast the Tide’s win over South Carolina in Bryant-Denny Stadium and UA’s win at Mississippi State. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games broadcast nationally, including five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX. The 10 nationally broadcast games last year were tied with Notre Dame for the most in the nation.

ALABAMA’S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 187-115-5 (.617) all-time record in 307 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts. The Crimson Tide owns a 162-96-3 (.626) record in 261 regular-season televised games.

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.

SABAN VERSUS AUBURN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 3-4 in his career against the Auburn Tigers, including last year’s 36-0 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Saban made his Alabama debut in the Nov. 24, 2007, Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Saban was 2-3 against the Tigers while the head coach at LSU from 2000-04.

IRON BOWL COACHING RECORDS: Former Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant holds the Iron Bowl record for most games coached (25) and most wins (19). Here is a look at the all-time Iron Bowl coaching records entering the 2008 season.

All-Time Wins (Alabama-Auburn Series)
Coach (School) Years Total Wins
Paul Bryant (UA) 1958-82 19
Shug Jordan (AU) 1951-75 9
Tommy Tuberville (AU) 1999-06 7
Pat Dye (AU) 1981-92 6
Gene Stallings (UA) 1990-96 5
Red Drew (UA) 1948-54 5

Alabama Coaching Records vs. Auburn (Win Pct.)
Coach Years Record
Jack Leavenworth 1905 1-0 (1.000)
J.W.H. Pollard 1906-07 1-0-1 (.750)
Paul Bryant 1958-82 19-6 (.760)
Gene Stallings 1990-96 5-2 (.714)
Red Drew 1948-54 5-2 (.714)
Ray Perkins 1983-86 2-2 (.500)
Mike DuBose 1997-2000 2-2 (.500)
Nick Saban 2007-Present 1-1 (.500)
Dennis Franchione 2001-02 1-1 (.500)
W.B. Blount 1903-04 1-1 (.500)
Eli Abbott 1893-95, 1902 1-3 (.250)
E.B. Beaumont 1892 0-1 (.000)
M. Griffin 1900 0-1 (.000)
G.H. Harvey 1901 0-1 (.000)
Mike Shula 2003-06 0-4 (.000)
J.B. Whitworth 1955-57 0-3 (.000)
Bill Curry 1987-89 0-3 (.000)

CROSSING ENEMY LINES: Auburn alumnus G.H. Harvey is the only person to serve as head football coach at both Auburn and Alabama. He coached Auburn to a 3-0-2 record in his lone season with the Tigers in 1893, included in that record was a 40-16 win over Alabama on Nov. 30 at Montgomery’s Riverside Park. Harvey also served as head coach at Alabama during the 1901 season, compiling 2-1-2 record, which included a 17-0 loss to Auburn in the first ever meeting in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 15, 1901. Harvey’s combined coaching record with Auburn and Alabama was 5-1-4 in 10 games as head coach. Bill “Brother” Oliver, who played at Alabama in 1960s and then later served as an assistant coach under Bryant and Stallings at Alabama, was

Auburn’s interim head coach in 1998. Oliver took over midway through the season for Terry Bowden, who resigned in October, and coached the Tigers to a 2-3 record, including a 31-17 loss to the Crimson Tide.

ALABAMA SINGLE-GAME RECORDS VS. AUBURN: Below are the Crimson Tide’s single-game Iron Bowl records.
Most Pass Attempts: 55 by Scott Hunter (1969)
49 by Gary Hollingsworth (1989)
43 by Freddie Kitchens (1995)

Most Completions: 30 by Scott Hunter (1969)

Most Passing Yards: 484 by Scott Hunter (1969)
340 by Gary Hollingsworth (1989)
302 by Freddie Kitchens (1995)

Most Pass Receptions: 9 by David Bailey (1969)

Most Receiving Yards: 187 by David Bailey (1969)

Most Rushing Attempts: 42 by Johnny Musso (1970)
33 by Shaun Alexander (1999)

Most Rushing Yards: 233 by Bobby Marlow (1951)
221 by Johnny Musso (1970)
204 by Bobby Humphrey (1986)

Longest Field Goal: 52 by Van Tiffin (1985)

Longest KO Return: 107 by Ray Ogden (1964)
102 by George Ranager (1969)

CAREER STATS VS. AUBURN: Here is how the current Alabama roster has fared against Auburn.
Player Games Career Stats
Eryk Anders 2 1 tackle, 1 TFL (-10)
Javier Arenas 2 5 tackles; 5 punt returns (41 yards)
Mark Barron 1 2 tackles
Terrence Cody 1 3 tackles, 1 TFL (-6), 1 sack (-6), forced fumble
Luther Davis 1 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-2)
Brandon Deaderick 3 2 tackles
Terry Grant 1 7 rushes, 11 yards
Darius Hanks 1 1 catch, 17 yards
Jerrell Harris 1 2 tackles
Mark Ingram 1 15 carries, 64 yards, 2 TD; 1 catch, 27 yadrs
P.J. Fitzgerald 3 15 punts, 37.1 average (Long: 53)
Kareem Jackson 2 5 tackles, 2 PBUs
Marquis Johnson 3 1 tackle, 1 PBU
Julio Jones 1 3 catches, 36 yards
Chris Jordan 1 1 tackle
Marquis Maze 1 1 catch, 34 yards, TD
Rolando McClain 2 20 tackles, 1 TFL (-1), 1 INT (23 yards), 1 PBU, 1 FF
McClain had 15 tackles and one interception against AU in 2007
Greg McElroy 1 2-of-2, 44 yards, 1 TD
Cory Reamer 2 3 tackles
Chris Rogers 3 2 tackles
Ali Sharrief 3 4 tackles, 1 PBU
Brad Smelley 1 1 catch, 10 yards
Leigh Tiffin 2 4-for-5 PATs; 2-3 FG (Long: 49); 10 points
Roy Upchurch 2 10 rushes, 56 yards
Courtney Upshaw 1 1 tackle
Lorenzo Washington 3 4 tackles, 1.5 TFLs (-10), 1 sack (-9)
Justin Woodall 3 5 tackles

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