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Alabama's Most Satisfying Wins Of The Saban Era (One Man's Perspective)

I started writing this last season and just now wrapped it up. I will forever enjoy and appreciate the glory that is the Alabama football experience, and especially this amazing Saban Era. I lived through the horrors of the '80s (got to UA just before Coach Bryant passed and vividly recall the entire phone system melting down) and the numerous years of struggle that followed in between some wonderful bright spots.

Of course, I realize how spoiled we are as fans. Have been for years. We Gump to a standard, indeed. Enjoy the games your own way; mine is to fully appreciate the moment while it's on, savor it (most times) afterward, then hope the team learns and continues improving, whatever happened. Here's a list of some games I could totally rewatch with some explanations of why.

The number ratings are off the top of my head with no especially deep thought involved. Sound off as you will...

game

season

score

importance

performance level

degree of difficulty

heart attack/nervous breakdown score

entertainment value

avg

Auburn

2020

42-17

5

9

4

1

9

5.6

Never forget 2019. Or 2017. Or 2013. I don't want 36-0, I want 236-0. Then we can start the 2nd half.

Vandy

2017

66-0

7

9

5

1

8

6

How important? Too early to tell. But enjoyable to watch us unload, rather than just ho-hum defeat, an SEC team.

Auburn

2012

49-0

10

9

2

1

10

6.4

Oh, we unloaded on hapless '12 fAU. The Epic Troll of smashing your rival by 49 then taking a knee at the 5 on them... nah, if it was me I'd've said "HARD POUNDING, gentlemen...!"

LSU

2020

55-17

8

9

5

1

10

6.6

Yeah you asked for it, now ya got it.

Texas A&M

2014

59-0

7

10

6

1

9

6.6

It made clear to everyone paying attention: this team could be your worst nightmare. But '14 SEC was a weird year.

USC

2016

52-3

7

9.5

6

1

10

6.7

Took a little while for us to get going; around the time they stomped on Minkah's junk, the switch flipped & hell was unleashed.

Tennessee

2016

49-10

8

9

6

1

10

6.8

It's always very entertaining to lay waste to TN.

Clemson

2008

34-10

9

9

7

1

9

7

This one set the tone for what was to come. Think back to Bama's most-dominating win over a quality opponent before this one. Um... 2005 FL?

Auburn

2008

36-0

8

9

8

1

10

7.2

Satisfying as the exact meal you're hungry for, delivered to table right on time... Excellent.

Georgia

2008

41-30

9

8

8

2

9

7.2

The Blackout game will live forever in Bama lore. Wow that 2nd half was starting to make me nervous though.

Georgia

2015

38-10

8

9

8

1

10

7.2

A totally satisfying win on the field was also a big STFU to all the haters. "You guys had us dead & buried. Gone - GONE!"

Georgia

2020

45-24

8

8

8

2.5

10

7.3

Never thought we could win 2nd half 21-0, but did.

Clemson

2017

24-6

10

8

8

2

9

7.4

Nothing could make up for prior year title game loss AHEM theft, but it was still satisfying.

LSU

2018

29-0

9

9

8

2.5

9

7.5

Death Valley, NIGHT GAME magical, etc.

Michigan State

2010

49-7

9

10

8

1

10

7.6

This one was important as a bit of closure for the disappointments of '10, and even more critical in setting the tone for '11.

Ohio State

2020

52-24

10

10

7

2

9

7.6

Sermon healthy & Fields 100% changes this game but I still think we win if we're playing 'who was injured' since DeVonta went off on their 'defense' in just 2 quarters. Healthy Dickerson and Waddle and we could've scored 70.

Auburn

2014

55-44

10

7

7

5

10

7.8

After the 2013 nightmare, we all needed this win but it sure didn't come easy. Blake Sims had some downs but way more upside here. Also excellent to see the Gus Bus get derailed in the red zone, over & over. Then Derrick Henry MTAQ at the end.

Michigan State

2015

38-0

10

10

8

1

10

7.8

If you really enjoy watching Alabama dominate a quality opponent, has anyone got an example that can top this? Alabama does.

Notre Dame

2012

42-14

10

9

9

1

10

7.8

Emotion is over-rated, and even dangerous, as a component of on-field performance. ND was being touted as one of college football's greatest teams ever in '12. Tough out-of-conference schedule (big names, anyway)? Check. Big wins on the road? Check. Conference champ - hold it. But even without that, had they (self-flagged) managed to finish unbeaten, there'd be no escaping the orgasmic-media-love-fest that ensued.

Texas

2009

37-21

10

8

8

3

10

7.8

We messed with Texas. This was a strange game. Julio Jones? Hardly noticeable...? Huh? Wait, how healthy was McElroy? Biggest difference was our run game vs their defense. They were built on that high-scoring offense setting up their defense to attack with abandon; lacking Colt, TX simply had to play a load of defensive snaps, and we ground them down. I had argued with Longhorn fans in the endless lead-up to the game, saying that our sack numbers weren't a big concern, as sacks mattered less to Saban than "affecting the QB". Also, stats should be viewed in context; yes, TX was only allowing 62 yds per game rushing, but... how many of their opponents didn't feature a strong run game and/or were so far behind by halftime that running the ball was just wasting time anyway...?

Florida

2020

52-46

9

9

8

4

10

8

Wow the Gators can roll up the points. We somehow failed to score in the 3rd and it almost bit us. Then Dickerson got hurt & I got uptight.

Georgia

2018

35-28

10

8

9

4

10

8.2

SEC championships don't come easily. Thought that Jalen-Tua story might make our repeat inevitable. Was not to be, but what a magical thing this night was.

Tennessee

2009

12-10

10

7

9

5

10

8.2

TN came in 9 pt underdogs, played us off our feet, got turnovers, was in position to win... but no. We don't win it all without this win.

LSU

2015

30-16

10

9

8

5

10

8.4

Part of the 10-straight-elimination-games run; the 1.4nette game; and the last drive of total domination, just exquisite.

LSU

2012

21-17

9

8

8

8

10

8.6

This game was like a slow death, as LSU suddenly remembered how to move the sticks, pick up the blitzes, make the throws & catches. And our D could NOT get off the field. Then, the Process, Mr. Clutch Norwood & Mr. Yeldon took over...

Auburn

2009

26-21

10

8

7

9

10

8.8

This was a trap game - we already had FL lined up in ATL. And of course fAU was going for broke (I nearly lost it when they scored then got the onside kick when I had been predicting they would do that for 3 weeks!). But how bout that Drive? And how offensive mastermind Gus finally gets the ball back, after watching us drive for 7 minutes, yet looks like the offense is completely clueless...? Yet they managed to get near enough for a Hail Mary with :01 left & God help me I said out loud "please don't let them pull some miracle BS with 1 second left, we won't ever hear the end of it...!"

Georgia

2023

27-24

10

8

8

9

10

9

Curiously, no one seemed determined to throw dirt over us this go-round, not after '21. Even with all our missed chances on offense, once we went ahead by 10, GA never seriously threatened as the defense and WILL REICHARD THE NCAA'S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER WHO SHOULD BE IN THE HALL OF FAME WITH HIS GROZA AWARDS simply took care of business.

Auburn

2023

27-24

10

5

8

11

10

8.8

OH the agony, then the ecstasy. For the 2nd straight trip to JerdinHareVoodooSwamp, the Boogs were literally hands-on-hedge-ready-to-rush-the-cursed-field... when Jalen Milroe rifled it to the Gravedigger Mr. Isaiah Bond on 4th and goal from the 31... My BP jumps up all over again just thinking about it.

Miami

2021

44-13

9

9

6

5

10

7.8

We couldn't wait to see what Bryce Young could do. Also: it's always good to beat Miami. Even when we were a solid-strong favorite. Miami on social media: "WE ABOUT TO SHOCK THE WORLD". Hey, thanks, let me know when the SHOCKING begins, I'd really hate to miss that... (ALSO: this game was the same day as a memorial-celebration of life for my dad who'd passed in August. So this was the sweet part of a bittersweet day...)

Georgia

2012

34-28

10

9

9

6

10

8.8

Maybe we didn't play our best game. GA certainly showed what they could do. But they had a core critical flaw: their D loved to pass rush, but smash mouth run defense...? Not so much. TJ Yeldon's other biggest contribution to that year's title.

Auburn

2021

24-22

10

7

7

10

11

9

The angst and anxiety of this were off the chart - for 58 minutes. The thought of limping into the CFP vs GA with this albatross around our collective neck... Lawd. And then Bryce Too-Nice-Veins-Fulla-Solid-ICE teamed up with some otherS to write their names in Crimson flame. (Hang on, still get emotional over this one, just... damn.)

Georgia

2021

41-24

10

9

9

8

10

9.2

"The Tide is gonna roll - into a BRICK WALL!" and on and on. Yeah, no. Just YUMMY. Our best game was still out there going into this - and still is, I say, as of writing this 12/9/21 - but yeah it was time someone taught this year's Bulldogs to behave. A rematch - we'll think about it when it's imminent. For now, we got Bearcats to get ready for.

Clemson

2015

45-40

10

10

9

8

10

9.4

We never dominated this game. But consider: we led 7-0. Then fell behind 14-7 and Clemson had the ball. Then Eddie Jackson made an INT, the game's only turnover. We tied it up and at half it was 14-14. Neither team led by 2 scores - until (Kenyan Drake).

This is one of my all-time favorite plays, ever. What Alabama fan would not give a major organ or a year's salary or whatever just to be Kenyan Drake in this moment...? The biggest game of your life (so far) and at a critical moment, and, after all you've been through with injuries, NOW you deliver an unforgettable memory.

Kenyan Drake-ESPN Deportes KO Return vs Clemson

LSU

2011

21-0

10

10

10

8

10

9.6

#1 could be no other, I thought, but then added the heart-attack measure. A friend was convinced when we made it 9-0 at half that LSU wouldn't score. I was not at all sure at that point. As many times as I've watched it - it's around a dozen or so - I'm still amazed at the defense. LSU was going precisely nowhere against us in this game. While my friend hosting the party was convinced at halftime LSU wouldn't score, I kept worrying that LSU just needed that 1 big play to swing momentum all the way in their favor, as they'd done that all season; ask GA, who led them 10-0. Bobby Hebert said post-game that our defense, incredibly, audibled on almost every play. Meanwhile, the offense did an outstanding job of being patient yet deadly. This was the most exciting low-scoring blowout I expect to ever see.

Florida

2009

34-13

10

10

10

8

10

9.6

The disappointing ending the otherwise-wonderful 2008 season led to what happened in 2009. FL was our nemesis and our OL, especially, seemed ready to prove who the new SEC champs really were. Almost everyone made a memorable play, but this one remains a favorite (since I had been saying 'SCREEN PASS!' for 5 solid minutes before we ran it): (ingram)

Georgia

2017

26-23

10

8

10

10

10

9.6

Speaking of legendary. Tua-and-26. My son's Scouts meeting was quick & we all rushed out to catch the game. Son & I watched it at home, marvelling at how little we actually made go right in the 1st half: Tony's big INT seemed to start us off right. But after that... a couple 1st downs... holding GA to 2 FGs... winning or at least not losing field position. But the GA TD just before half was a big emotional momentum swing. Me to son: "I'm not sure we can win this without making some big plays happen, and they seem to have Jalen boxed in like AU did... Unless we make a big change or get a turnover or 2 - we'll see." Then Tua took the reins.

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