Welcome to Game Week! As we are now only a few days from the season openers, my co-hort Paul Finebaum said something in passing to me that got me thinking: He said that he thinks this weekend's game against Michigan is Nick Saban's biggest non-conference game ever. You know something? I agree with him- just look at how this one plays out.
Since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Nick Saban has had some impressive results against big-time college teams that do not belong to the SEC: Just look at the results of his biggest non-conference opponents since becoming the head coach:
2007: FSU (L)
2008: Clemson (W)
2009: Virginia Tech (W)
2010: Penn State (W)
2011: Penn State (W)
An impressive record indeed, but why is this Michigan game so important? Because of what happened during the 2010 season that followed the Tide's national championship in Pasadena. The Tide went 10-3 in 2010, falling flat against South Carolina, LSU and Auburn (the loss to Auburn still must make Saban toss and turn at night). Saban, along with Bama fans everywhere, does not want a repeat of that season. As the Crimson Tide come off a national championship, Saban knows all too well the dangers of his players being over-confident, or entitled. While the coach waxed poetic at today's game-week newser about avoiding a letdown like the one that occurred in 2010, he knows all too well that if the ball does not bounce in the right direction, national championship hopes could be over.
Will the Tide beat the Wolverines? I say if they played ten times, the Tide would win seven- but with Denard Robinson (he of the 3500 offensive yards and 36 TD's in 2011) at the helm of the Wolverines offense, event he most ardent of Alabama fans have to be a bit wary.
Tomorrow I'll be blogging on the Auburn Tigers season opener against Clemson, a game that could turn what has been a trying few weeks into something positive.
I hope to see you Friday night on for our first "Sideline" high school show, and twice on Sarurday: At 10 am comes yours truly and Finebaum on "Tide and Tigers Today", and at 10:30 that night comes "College Football Saturday" with Paul, Sheldon, and the entire Fox6 sports team.
See you throughout the week, and remember to follow me at Twitter.com/RickKarle and/or Facebook/RickKarle.