Though I can't find the particular post at the moment, I still remember it (fairly) well and will recount my predictions for the 2007 season. I predicted that we'd go 8-4 overall. I figured we'd get all of the wins in categories 1 and 2 below and that we'd be fortunate to take two of the six games in category 3.
I broke our opponents down into three categories:
- Sure victories
- Games that should be won
- Games that could go either way
Here's how I categorized the schedule:
Western Carolina (W)
We finished 1-1 in the "sure" victories. It will be a long time before I put another Division 1 team in this category. Until we show significant improvement, the "cupcakes" are going to go in the "Games That Should Be Won" category in the future.
Games That Should Be Won:
Ole Miss (W)
We were 3-1 in the "Games That Should Be Won" division. Vanderbilt was the only comfortable win of the three victories. The victories over Houston and Ole Miss came down to the wire, but we were able to pull them out. The Mississippi State game was shocking to say the least. I certainly didn't expect to lose to them two years in a row, but when you turn the ball over a lot, that's going to happen. I thought Sylvester Croom was insane when he boldly proclaimed that Mississippi State was a good team after getting slaughtered by LSU 45-0.
Games That Could Go Either Way
Florida State (L)
We finished 2-4 in this category, which is exactly what I expected. A few games into the season, I figured we might be able to take three of them, but it just didn't happen as we experienced our annual November meltdown. We lost to those four teams by an average margin of six points and didn't lose to any of them by more than seven points. So close, yet so far away...
Nearly every game we played this year was super tight. We didn't lose a game by more than seven points with margins of loss being 3 (UGA), 7 (FSU), 7 (LSU), 5 (MSU), 7 (ULM), 7 (AU). Our six losses were by a combined 36 points. It isn't much consolation at all, but considering how crazy this football season has been and that every team that beat us (with the exception of LSU) lost at least one game by three touchdowns or more, we held our own and were in a position at some point to win every game we played. That being said, we also had three very close wins: Arkansas (3 points), Ole Miss (3 points), Houston (6 points). Only the wins over Vanderbilt (14 points), Tennessee (24 points) and Western Carolina (44 points) were decided without question (win or loss) before the very end of the game.
One is tempted to say that we were only 36 points away from a perfect season, but the fact of the matter is that we played some incredibly ugly football at times. I suppose the team should be credited though with being able to win (or at least being in a position to win) even when playing poorly. However, throwing 11 interceptions in 12 games and losing 7 fumbles for a combined 18 turnovers is not going to help your cause in winning games decided by a touchdown or less. We made 17 picks though and recovered 5 opponents' fumbles and had a +5 turnover margin for the season. Unfortunately, we could seldom come up with them when they were really needed (ULM for instance.)
Needless to say, it was an incredibly frustrating season. Even if we'd pulled some of these close games off and gone 8-4 or 9-3, I still would've looked at it like 2005 and been frustrated at the sloppy play but would've been please with the progress in the being able to finish close games department (which we did achieve to some degree.) Don't get me wrong, I'd trade that record for this one in a heartbeat, but the fact of the matter is that we haven't put a really good team on the field in quite a long time. This program is hurting and it's going to take a while to fix. I don't care if Tom Brady was our quarterback and Bill Belichick was our coach, there'd still be a lot to be fixed in Tuscaloosa to return to the winning ways of the early to mid 1990s. Nobody can undo in one or two years the damage that's been done in the past decade by poor administration, poor coaching, renegade boosters and fans with unrealistic expectations.
There are 10 SEC teams eligible for bowl games and the SEC has eight tie-ins. If the conference lands two teams in the BCS that means one team is staying home unless some other conference doesn't have enough teams to fill in all of their tie-ins. If the conference "only" sends nine teams bowling, it will be either Alabama or South Carolina staying home since they both stand at 6-6 and a team with a lesser record can't be taken over a team with a better record. I'm going to be really honest, I don't really have any desire to see us play in a bowl game this year because I don't want to see what will likely be another loss, especially since it will be at the hands of an equally mediocre team. I suppose going to one would be good because the more teams the conference sends to bowls, the more money everyone makes, but money isn't our problem. If we make a bowl, I'll obviously cheer us on like crazy, but at this point I'm looking forward to 2008 and supporting Coach Saban, the team and the rebuilding of our proud program.
ROLL TIDE FOREVER!