Alabama Win Over Arkansas Was Big

In the 1940s, Auburn – then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute – saw that its football program was going no where, while the Crimson Tide had been a Rose Bowl staple and had become a national powerhouse. Auburn realized, correctly, that playing Alabama could elevate the Tigers. And so, in 1948, the series was resumed with Bama taking a 55-0 victory.

Last weekend's 52-0 Alabama win over Arkansas in Fayetteville was the Crimson Tide's largest margin of victory in a Southeastern Conference shutout win game since that rout of Auburn. (Alabama has had at least one other SEC game with a wider margin of victory, the Tide's 1979 national championship team beating Vanderbilt, 66-3, in Nashville.)

Alabama has now scored back-to-back shutout victories, the 35-0 win over Western Kentucky preceding the Tide's trip to Arkansas. That was the first time since 1980 Alabama had scored back-to-back shutout wins, those coming over Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

This week Alabama will host one of those pesky Sun Belt teams. Louisiana Monroe of the Sun Belt beat Arkansas and took Auburn to overtime and Western Kentucky defeated Kentucky. Bama and the Florida Atlantic Owls will meet at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 4 p.m. CDT Saturday. The only telecast of the game is on a pay-per-view basis.

Alabama is 3-0 and ranked first in the nation. Florida Atlantic, 1-2, is coming off a 20-56 loss at the hands of Georgia last week.

When this week's Associated Press rankings were released, it marked the 69th consecutive AP poll to include Alabama, a school record and the longest current streak in the nation. That streak includes Bama having been ranked fist in the nation in the AP poll at least once in each of the past five years.

Alabama under Coach Nick Saban is 23-3 in non-conference games with the Tide having run off 16 consecutive wins against non-SEC opponents.

Should Florida Atlantic be playing back-to-back games at Georgia and Alabama?

Florida Atlantic first-year Coach Carl Pelini (Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini's brother) said, "It's not optimal, but what are you going to do? You've just go to play the games they set in front of you and prepare as best you can."

Regarding Bama's outstanding record in turnover margin this year (the Tide has 12 takeaways, only one turnover), Pelini described Alabama as "very disciplined, very strong. They're very violent in their tackling. Their backs and their receivers are big and strong. That's usually a good formula when it comes to preventing and forcing turnovers.

"And they are well coached. They are as fine a coached team as I've seen in college football. They don't make a lot of mistakes, and you can't either if you want to have any chance at all."

This is the first meeting of Alabama and Florida Atlantic. The Owls were previously coached by former Crimson Tide Assistant Coach Howard Schnellenberger, who gained fame as the coach who built the Miami Hurricanes into a national power. Schnellenberger, who played for legendary coach Paul Bryant at Kentucky, was head coach at Louisville when the Cardinals defeated Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 1990 season.

Alabama has scored 94 unanswered points in its last three games dating back to the 00:14 mark of the third quarter against Michigan in the season-opener in Dallas. The Tide has not allowed a point in the last nine quarters of play.

Alabama has now scored in 145 consecutive games, a school record.

Alabama has won 51 games dating back to the start of the 2008 season, which is tied for most in college football. Boise State also has 51 wins in that period.

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