It's Not Easy Being Down

From time-to-time a golfer will make a score on a hole that his shot-making on that hole did not merit. Inevitably someone will remark, "There's no room on the scorecard for comments." Nick Saban would say, "It is what it is."

What is is right now is a five-game Alabama losing streak to Auburn. Okay, so Auburn wasn't piling up wins over teams coached by Knute Rockne. In fact, considering that it has been 10 years since Gene Stallings was coaching Bama, (he was 5-2 against the Tigers), it's more a surprise the streak isn't worse.

Alabama players, almost all of whom have been involved in the current losing streak to Auburn to some degree, are certainly aware of recent Crimson Tide futility. Bama coaches know they wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the sad shape the Alabama program was in. Everyone on both sides is very much aware of the situation.

Winners can talk about it. Losers have to figure out a way to get it changed. Can that happen this year?

Considering Bama's woeful state, almost no one would think Saban's first Crimson Tide team will get the job done. Not even Coach Paul Bryant was able to do that. Bryant's first Alabama team in 1958 was facing the defending national champion Auburn team. The Tide was beaten, 14-8. But the writing was on the wall. The new sheriff was in town. Auburn didn't even score the next four years and Bryant would pretty much own the Tigers for a quarter of a century.

Most of the upsets in the series have been Auburn over Alabama, but that's because Alabama has more often been expected to win.

It's not unprecedented for a first-year coach to beat Auburn. Stallings did it. Dennis Franchione went to Auburn and put a 31-7 number on the Tigers.

This is not a national championship contending Auburn team. One of Alabama's worst losses this year was to Mississippi State in Starkville. Auburn lost to the Bulldogs in Auburn. Alabama took Georgia to overtime. Georgia took Auburn to the woodshed. True, Auburn doesn't have a loss to equal ULM, the humiliation Alabama suffered last week. But this week's team won't be the same as last week's.

Getting some good players back from suspension and having an attitude of looking ahead could be enough to get Bama over the hump. If not, it will be another long year.

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