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Friday, March 25, 2011
Alabama will have to get 'bye' three times

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

There probably won’t be as much discussion next season when it comes to “bye-gate.”

Nonetheless, Alabama is the only team in the SEC that faces more than two teams coming off byes the previous week.

A year ago, six of Alabama’s eight SEC opponents had byes the week before they faced the Crimson Tide. Next season, that’s been cut in half to three teams.

“Our team last year had to do more adjusting than we did the year before with an experienced team,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We saw stuff that we didn’t practice and they would have to adjust to. The year before, we never saw a lot of that stuff.

“Part of it is that you’re everybody’s target game coming off a national championship, and then with all those teams having a bye week before they played us, they had extra time.”

LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt all get an extra week to prepare for Alabama in 2011.

Georgia is the only other team in the league that plays more than one team coming off a bye. Florida and Auburn are both off the week before playing the Bulldogs next season.

Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee all face just one team next season coming off a bye.

Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt don’t play any SEC games next season the week after that team has a bye.

Auburn goes the longest without a break to start next season. The Tigers play the first nine weeks of the season before their open date on Nov. 5. A year ago, they went 11 straight weeks before getting a bye, giving them two weeks to prepare for Alabama.

The earliest bye belongs to Tennessee, which is open on Sept. 24. The Vols then play nine straight weeks to close the season.