On the Beat: How Alabama football has fared after bye weeks under Nick Saban

Alabama football-Nick Saban-Crimson Tide football-LSU-Les Miles-bye week

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama football is off this game-day Saturday to rest up for the November stretch run of the regular season.

The Crimson Tide host LSU on Nov. 4 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Alabama football has had mixed results following its bye week, including against LSU. Here is a look back at how the Crimson Tide have fared under Nick Saban coming off a bye:


Saban’s first season at Alabama included a bye week before his first game against LSU, which he led to a national championship in 2003. The No. 3 Tigers scored 2 touchdowns in the final 3 minutes to rally for a 41-34 victory that served as payback.


Alabama had two bye weeks in 2008, and neither fell before the LSU game, which is weird.

After its first bye, Alabama won a close one over Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide jumped to a 24-3 lead but had to hang on for a 24-20 victory.

The game after the second bye week was a much easier victory, 36-0 against Auburn on Nov. 29, 2008, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama had lost six consecutive games against the Tigers, including the loss in Saban’s first season.


2009 was an all-around magical year. It brought the first SEC and national championship under Saban. At the time it felt like a huge deal, but now, it was clear 2009 was only the beginning.

You guessed it, Alabama’s bye landed before LSU. This particular LSU game produced one of the top early highlights of the Saban era. Down by 2 early in the fourth quarter, Greg McElroy found Julio Jones on a screen pass. Jones did the rest, streaking down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown. It is a highlight that will live forever in this rivalry.


2010 is the strangest year of the Saban tenure. Alabama did not handle the pressure of being the defending national champ well. There are some who believe this was Saban’s most talented team. It featured first-round picks such as Mark Ingram, Jones, Marcell Dareus, Mark Barron and others. This squad was loaded.

Yet, the Crimson Tide lost three games that year. Three. That includes a 24-21 loss at LSU following the bye. That game was Les Miles at his best. He pulled out a couple of trick plays to foul the Tide.


LSU won the battle, but Alabama won the war. LSU bested Alabama 9-6 in the 2011 “Game of the Century” featuring the two best teams in the country.

The Crimson Tide got revenge for the regular-season loss with a 21-0 thrashing of the Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game.

Looking back, this was probably the beginning of the end for Miles. If Miles and LSU win the title that season, Miles would have had two championships, putting him with Saban and Urban Meyer as active coaches with multiple championships.

Instead, it began the current six-game losing streak for LSU.


For whatever reason, Alabama’s bye week came before a trip to Missouri.

Alabama would have defeated Missouri with its scout team. That was the Tigers’ first year in the SEC, and they were not ready for the defending national champs. Alabama ran all over Missouri under a monsoon in Columbia.


Alabama received two bye weeks, including one after the season opener for some reason.

It gave us two weeks of buildup for Alabama vs. Johnny Football part 2.

In case you forgot, this bye week gave us Saban’s now-infamous “Thanks for your interest in the game” rant. Alabama won a shootout over Texas A&M in College Station that season.

After the second bye week, Alabama stomped LSU 38-17 in Tuscaloosa. The game was never really that close.


Alabama again got two bye weeks, earning a 1-1 record in those contests. Alabama lost against Ole Miss in 2014 as the Rebels stormed back in Oxford. It began a three-year run of entertaining games between Alabama and Ole Miss.

LSU wasn’t as lucky against the Crimson Tide following the second bye. It looked like the Tigers were going to end Alabama’s win streak after a goal-line fumble by the Tide’s offense, but a late drive from Blake Sims and the Tide’s offense set up a field goal to force overtime. It was all Alabama from there.


Remember Leonard Fournette’s Heisman Trophy hype? Fournette was the clear-cut Heisman favorite heading into Tuscaloosa. Fournette had rushed for at least 150 yards in every game, including three 200-plus-yard games before the Alabama game.

Alabama’s defense heard about that for two weeks. You almost could see the steam coming from their ears after each question. Fournette never had a chance. He carried the ball 19 times for 31 yards and a touchdown. His longest run was 18 yards.

Fournette was LSU’s only offensive threat, so you can guess how the rest of the game went.


All five of the Alabama-LSU games in Baton Rouge have come down to the wire. This contest was 0-0 heading into the fourth quarter.

Both defenses played lights out. Difference is, Alabama had Jalen Hurts, a young, dual-threat quarterback, and LSU didn’t. Hurts broke free for a 21-yard touchdown to give Alabama all the scoring it would need. The Tide later added a field goal for good measure.

The post On the Beat: How Alabama football has fared after bye weeks under Nick Saban appeared first on SEC Country.

Marq Burnett – SEC Country

Leave a Reply