To Savor Or Not To Savor

Almost every team gets an open date at some point, but that doesn't mean that all open dates are created equal. And after many years in coaching, even Alabama Coach Nick Saban isn't sure about the results of a bye week.

Alabama's football team got its bye week at what would seem to be a very good time this season. The Crimson Tide is eight games into the season, two-thirds of the way through regular season play. And the Crimson Tide open date comes between two games in which emotions would be expected to be very high.

As everyone knows, Alabama is coming off a very satisfying 41-17 victory over Tennessee. The Vols have had Bama's number for the past decade or so, and it was an important victory for the Crimson Tide in Nick Saban's first year as head coach.

At least one Alabama player, defensive end Wallace Gilberry, said he wished that Bama was playing this weekend, to continue with the momentum that came with the Tide's third straight victory.

Most players, though, seemed to welcome the break.

A team that loses a tough game almost always is in a hurry to get back on the field and redeem itself. It would seem that Alabama is getting its break at the perfect time. It ios deep into the season and it comes after a satisfying win.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has a 24-hour rule. A team can fret about a loss or revel in a victory for 24 hours. After that it is time to put it aside and get ready for the next game. But with an open date, it would seem that all involved in the Crimson Tide program would be allowed to savor the victory over the Vols for just a little longer.

Playing in the Southeastern Conference is tough business. Alabama is 6-2 in all games and 4-1 in SEC games. Next up is LSU, also 4-1 in the SEC. The Bengal Tigers have more than the West Division championship or even the league title on their minds. LSU is ranked third in the nation and thinking national championship.

And the Tigers may be thinking something else. Nick Saban seems to be topic number one in Bayou country. Even current LSU Coach Les Myles got caught up in the Saban-Alabama situation in a profanity-laced address to an LSU alumni group in the summer.

A good guess is that any distractions regarding former LSU Coach Saban now being at Bama will be all on the purple and gold side. Saban has focus.

Alabama players and coaches got a little work done in the open week, but for players it was in great part a time for those who have been doing most of the playing to get some relief.

This Alabama team has been a fun one to watch. A week off was probably needed to absorb the satisfaction of the win over Tennessee and prepare for the challenge that is LSU.

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