At last, it's Alabama and Florida


Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For an offensive lineman, there is no sweeter music.

Alabama senior center Antoine Caldwell could see it in the Auburn defenders' eyes and hear it in their voices to start the third quarter Saturday.

The No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide were about to lower the boom, and the Tigers knew it.

And perhaps most importantly, there was nothing they could do about it.

"We started grinding on them," Caldwell said. "You kind of see them getting a little tired, and they got worn down. When a offensive lineman sees that, especially the offensive line we've got here at Alabama, that makes us go into that killer instinct mode.

"You want to put the pedal down, and that's what we did."

The Crimson Tide didn't just put the pedal down. They mashed it through the floorboard in a 36-0 dismantling of the Tigers that ended Auburn's six-game winning streak in this bitter rivalry.

The last time an Iron Bowl was this one-sided was 46 years ago when Alabama won 38-0 in Birmingham.

It had been a long time coming for the Alabama players.

"Too long. Those losses stick with you," Alabama senior safety Rashad Johnson. "But to go out against them like this is the way you want it."

The sweetest part is what's ahead.

Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) can finally focus on Florida in the SEC Championship Game, a matchup that's been set for the last three weeks. The Tide players have heard plenty about the Gators the last few weeks and the path of destruction they've woven throughout the SEC.

They've heard about their speed, all their playmakers, how well they're playing.

It's a classic contrast in styles.

"They score a lot of points. We pound people," Alabama senior quarterback John Parker Wilson said. "They run reverses. We run power.

"We know what kind of offense they have and how we're going to have to play on offense to keep up with them."

The blueprint won't change. The Crimson Tide are going to run the ball just like they did Saturday to the tune of 234 yards. They're going to be patient. They're going to capitalize on mistakes. They're going to play their game.

Caldwell has no doubt that their game will be good enough.

"We're not a flashy group, but we're good at what we do," Caldwell said. "We play old-school football, and that's what we're going to do. We're not going to change for anybody. We're going to go out there and prepare just like we have for the other 12 games and we'll be ready to go.

"We're big on grinding it out. Time of possession is huge for us. Whenever you can do that to a team, it doesn't matter who you're playing or how explosive they are (on offense) if they can't get on the field. We take a lot of pride in doing that."