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The Bear's Number Was Up
John Papanek
December 07, 1981
It was early in the fourth quarter at Birmingham's Legion Field and so far all the wrong numbers had come up for Alabama. Paul (Bear) Bryant stood before his team's bench stoically, barely exchanging words with anyone. Auburn, the War Eagles for whom Bryant has never hidden his dislike, led 17-14, even after botching three field-goal attempts. Yet down on the sideline Bryant kept his poise. Sure, Alabama had lost inexplicably before—this season, for example, to Georgia Tech in the second game. It is Tech's only win so far this year. But now there was the pressure of that number—Bryant had done his damndest not to let it get in the way, but it was there every time he turned around. And there was Auburn, which surely would relish postponing the Bear's 315th victory party. Still Bryant kept cool.
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December 07, 1981

The Bear's Number Was Up

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"Well now, how in the hell would I have any plan for the Cotton Bowl when I ain't quit shakin' from the end of this game?" he said. "Rigor morgis, or whatever that thing is, hasn't set in on me yet."

And nobody ought to expect that it will before 2001. The year 2001.

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