TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama was able to get rid of the bad taste Starkville left in its mouth with a 49-0 thumping of Chattanooga on Saturday.
As expected, the Crimson Tide dominated all aspects of the game and had little trouble with the Mocs on Senior Day.
With the win, quarterback AJ McCarron set a school record fro most wins with 36, breaking Jay Barker's record. McCarron threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
"We wanted to go out today and improve as a team,
play better as a team and play for the seniors," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "(It was a) pretty emotional day today for a lot of those guys kind of an emotional thing for me too at the end of the game because a lot of those guys have meant a lot to the program."
Now that the Crimson Tide's sacrificial lamb is out of the way, we can return to our regularly scheduled Iron Bowl. The Tide's 24-hour celebration may get cut a little short with in-state rival Auburn on the horizon.
With help from the college football world, mainly the Pac-12, the Iron Bowl found a way to become a top-five matchup. It will be only the second Iron Bowl with top-5 teams, the other coming in 1971 when No. 3 Alabama rolled No. 5 Auburn, 31-7.
The players won't publicly say they were looking ahead as the one game at a time mentality has been carved into their brains. But they all know what's riding on this one.
An undefeated regular season, a second consecutive trip to the SEC championship and a third consecutive national championship will hang in the balance next Saturday.
Some players noted that the rivalry is more fun when both teams have something to play for.
"When you have something to play for, you have a lot more motivation," wide receiver Kevin Norwood. "You play your best and we know they're going to play their best."
Added wide receiver Christion Jones, "They always play us effectively and play us with passion. They know what the Iron Bowl means and we know what it means so they're going to give us all aspects of the game with the toughness and physicality. We just have to be ready when the time comes."
That wasn't the case with quarterback AJ McCarron.
"I really don't care what their record is," McCarron said. "They're the next team in our way, trying to take what we've worked for. We'll come out ready to play."
Linebacker C.J. Mosley said he's seen Auburn play a few times this season, but only from the perspective of a college football fan and not to scout the Tigers. Mosley expects the Iron Bowl to be a fun game. He also agreed with his quarterback.
"It doesn't matter (if Auburn is good) as long as we get that win," Mosley said.