Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide have left their in-state rivals in the dust on their way to an SEC Championship meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Both Bama and Auburn are located in the state of Alabama, but outside of that fact, very little has been similar between these two programs in 2012.
While Saban and Co. are off to a virtually guaranteed BCS invite and the BCS National Championship with a win over Georgia, Auburn coach Gene Chizik has overseen the worst season in the history of the school’s once-proud football program.
While Saban already has a statue of himself on Bama’s Tuscaloosa campus, Chizik is hardly welcome to even step foot on Auburn’s campus after going 0-8 in conference play following the 49-0 drubbing at the hands of the Tide to close out the embarrassing year.
The largest margin of victory in the history of the Iron Bowl was a 55-0 Alabama win way back in 1948.
Had Mr. Saban, who spent the week prior to the showdown complimenting Chizik and Auburn, not called off the dogs in the second half — Bama scored only seven third-quarter points and none in the fourth — this would easily have set the record for most lopsided victory for either school in this longstanding rivalry.
Tide quarterback AJ McCarron was at his finest in terms of the efficient play that has become his trademark. He completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 216 yards, four touchdowns and zero turnovers. His superstar running back tandem, Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, showed off the type of skills that earned them scholarships at Bama instead of with the Tigers.
While Yeldon only had eight carries for 38 yards, he did score a touchdown, and Lacy once again absolutely went off. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound beast took 18 carries for 131 yards — a 7.3 yards per carry average — and two touchdowns.
McCarron found his star receiver, Amari Cooper, five times for 109 yards and two scores. Cooper showed off the type of speed, hands and ability to separate from defenders that causes Tide fans to salivate over how bright his future looks.
The Crimson Tide have now scored 98 points to their opponents’ zero over the last two games, and now No. 3 Georgia, one of the nation’s most complete and hottest squads, awaits in the SEC Championship Game.
The winner earns the right to play for the BCS National Championship game, potentially the third in four years for Saban after winning it all in 2009 and 2011.
Who won it in 2010? The man who just completed the swiftest fall from grace in the history of college football, Gene Chizik.
This year’s Iron Bowl pitted two team’s from the same state, but headed in totally different directions.
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