In the week since then-No. 1 Alabama fell to Texas A&M, many a brain cell was wasted debating and dissecting the merits of remaining undefeated contenders Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame. Irish supporters, in particular, had begun campaigning for their third-ranked team. On Saturday morning, an athletic department spokesman sent out an e-mail to media members with a Notre Dame economics professor's assessment of the situation. Had the school employed a professor of BCS history, he might have sent out a simpler creed: Wait a week. It's November. Crazy stuff happens.
"He's a different type of quarterback," McCarron said. "He played to his strengths and played well." Sims relieved McCarron with 6:49 left in the second quarter and led the Crimson Tide offense to 14 points. Sims threw for 27 yards on 2-for-6 passing in addition to rushing for 70 yards, second only to Eddie Lacy's 99 yards. "We wanted to get him at least one series with the (starters)," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He has the ability to throw the ball. He just gets antsy in the pocket." Saban was proud to see Sims have so much success against the Catamounts after being a valuable member of the scout team and helping the team prepare for other mobile quarterbacks Alabama has faced, such as Michigan's Denard Robinson. "For some guys, all the hard work they do is appreciated, and we wanted to get as many guys on the field as possible," Saban said.
Now, Nick Saban might have overstated things a bit in his postgame comments when he said "obviously we are going to have a difficult game next week." "You throw everything out the window in terms of records when you play rivalry games," Saban added. "It's going to be important that we have a good week this week." It will take a pretty large window to throw the records through this week. Alabama's seven-game edge in the win column is the largest in the series since 1950. Perhaps Auburn can hope Alabama suffers a second straight week of post-Texas A&M malaise - or BCS disappointment - but it would take a crippling depression to equalize things. But when Saban says "a good week," though, people need to realize precisely what he is saying. The frustration level of the head coach at Alabama stays relatively high, but the single greatest source has to be a fan base that is dismissive of a potential 13-1 Sugar Bowl and SEC championship season that includes a (potential) win over Auburn. What a distant memory 2007, and Auburn's long winning streak, has become. For at least a week, Alabama fans need to forget what this year could have been - and concentrate more on what it could still be.
“It's a great honor because of all the tradition, all of the great quarterbacks that played here,” McCarron said. “Like I always say, none of that would be possible without my great teammates. “My O-line has done a great job all year. Every O-line has taken care of me. My receivers did an excellent job making plays today.”
On Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, different forms of “a win is a win” were essentially uttered by a number of Alabama’s players after its 49-0 romp of Western Carolina. This time, though, there was no late escape, no moments of anxiety -- just a super talented football team dominating an undersized, untalented team for the low, low price of $475,000. It was almost as if Alabama’s players felt like they couldn’t celebrate how well they played because the undersized and overwhelmed Catamounts simply never had a chance. That’s understandable, but this performance shouldn’t be brushed aside as if it were an exhibition game -- even if that’s what it felt like from start to finish at a weirdly quiet Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama fans should feel better about their team today than they did at this time last week. No matter the competition.
The end of the SEC's reign over college football ended up lasting all of one week. While it won't be an SEC team at No. 1 when the rankings come out Sunday, Alabama should be slotted in at No. 2 in the BCS, and Georgia will be high enough that the Dawgs would be favorites to make the championship game should they knock off the Tide in Atlanta. The first part of the equation for the SEC is pretty simple and relies on the rules of poll momentum: When the No. 1 team falls (as Kansas State did in spectacular fashion at Baylor) and the No. 2 team also falls (as Oregon did moments later in overtime against Stanford), then No. 3 and likely No. 4 each move up a couple of spots. Notre Dame will be No. 1 -- the first time in years of coming "back to glory" that the Irish will have earned the statement -- and Alabama will come up No. 2. But that's where the certainty ends, and in a way that could profoundly affect Georgia's hopes. If Georgia moves up to No. 3, it will be in prime position to go to the BCS Championship Game if it defeats Alabama. But if the Dawgs' movement is stunted -- particularly by Oregon -- then there could be complications. Oregon needs a UCLA win against Stanford next week to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game, but if that happens, the rankings could really matter.