Notes From Alabama Game At Auburn

Alabama's football team spent Friday night in Montgomery at the same motel where earlier this year the Ole Miss Rebels stayed before playing Auburn. Reports are that the motel is the one where Mississippi players were found to have stolen items, including the clock radios from several rooms. Fortunately, with a 7 p.m. kickoff Bama players didn't need the early wake-up.

Attention will now turn to bowl bids, which go out a week from Sunday (perhaps extending into Monday, December 3). Alabama became bowl eligible with its sixth win on October 20., The bad news is that Bama has not improved its bowl stature since then with four consecutive losses to end the season.

There are 10 Southeastern Conference teams eligible for bowl spots and it seems likely that two of them -- Georgia and the winner of next Saturday's SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, pitting Tennessee against LSU -- will be in BCS bowl games. Bama can't get one of the upper level bowls affiliated with the SEC (Outback, Capital One, Cotton or Chic-fil-A), but conceivably could sneak into one of the other games -- Music City, Liberty or Independence.

Tennessee's win over Kentucky Saturday was one of several key games. That put theVols in the SEC Championship Game. The winner of that game is automatically in a BCS game. Georgia's record should be good enough to get the Bulldogs into another BCS game. The loser of the SEC Championship Game, Florida, Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas will all get picked for bowls ahead of Bama. The Tide will battle Kentucky and South Carolina for a spot.

There is an outside possibility that other bowls not affiliated with the SEC will have openings that SEC qualifiers could play in -- the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, the Las Vegas Bowl, and the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

With Auburn taking a 10-0 lead on Alabama in the first quarter, the Crimson Tide first quarter misery in Jordan-Hare Stadium in this century continued. In the four trips to Auburn beginning in 2000, the Tigers have outscored Bama 49-2 in the first quarter.

Glen Coffee at tailback, Marlon Davis at left guard, and Antoine Caldwell at right tackle were previously suspended players who earned starts against Auburn. Nikita Stover was also a starter at one of the wide receiver spots.

Chris Rogers, a special teams player who had been suspended, did not have an auspicious return. He was guilty of a costly running into the kicker penalty late in the third quarter.

Rolando McClain started at middle linebacker for Alabama and had an outstanding game. His 15 tackles was the most by an Alabama player this year. Darren Mustin had 14 vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

When safety Rashad Johnson was injured on the first Auburn offensive play of the game, Johnson's spot was taken by Justin Woodall, who has had almost no playing time this season. Johnson returned to action after a few plays.

Alabama captains were linebacker Darren Mustin, safety Marcus Carter, and offensive guard Justin Britt.

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