If (big if) Alabama loses to Georgia on Saturday, and if (hopefully not big if) Auburn beats San Jose State, both programs will stand at 3 wins and 2 losses to start the season.
This is pretty amazing considering how both teams were expected in pre-season to be very highly ranked and to contend for conference and national titles.
So it got me to thinking: When was the last time both teams started out 3-2?
I've done the research. Here are the somewhat interesting results-- and it wasn't as long ago as you might have thought:
The last time both teams started 3-2 was actually 2007.
Alabama lost to Georgia and FSU, but beat WCU, Vandy and Arkansas.
Auburn lost to South Florida and Miss State, but beat Kansas St, New Mexico St and 4th-ranked Florida.
But here's where it gets really interesting: In all the years before that, going back to 1970, both teams had quite a few 3-2 starts... But... there were no other years where both teams had a 3-2 record after five games. 2007 is the only one since at least 1970.
Looking all the way back to 1970 (who has the time to dig further back than that?) we find that both programs have started with a 3-2 record about the same number of times:
Auburn started 3-2 after five games in:
Alabama started 3-2 after five games in:
There were a few other seasons since 1970 when it very nearly happened:
If Alabama could have pulled out a win over Vanderbilt in 1984, both teams would have started 3-2 that season. As it was, Alabama lost to the Commodores and began at only 1-4.
Similarly, Auburn's 1-point loss to Baylor in 1976 prevented both teams from beginning that season at 3-2.
A 1-point overtime win over Florida in 1999 was all that stood between both teams beginning 3-2 in 1999.
Both teams began 1998 poorly, but Auburn had it worse at 1-4.
But 2007 was the only time BOTH teams started at 3-2 since at least 1970.
--Van Allen Plexico is one-half of the AU Wishbone, along with co-writer/co-host John Ringer. Their AU Wishbone podcast program is available via iTunes and on the War Eagle Reader and via the War Eagle Sports Radio app. Their best-selling books on Auburn football can be found on Amazon:
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