Tide gets reality check

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The Crimson Tide's early surge back into the national rankings had all the makings of a dramatic turnaround.

There was the 3-0 start that included a stirring comeback win over Arkansas.

But back-to-back losses to Georgia and Florida State have brought a heavy dose of reality: This program might be on its way back, but it's not there yet.

And that comes as no surprise to coach Nick Saban. He said he undertook a "building process" upon his hiring in January, not an overnight turnaround.

The Tide (3-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) has had a similar start to last season's 6-7 team: Three wins, followed by two losses. But the two losses have come in overtime to Number 12 Georgia and 21-14 to Florida State, not exactly reasons for panic.

In fact, Saban's first two LSU teams also had back-to-back losses after 2-0 starts and he wound up leading that program to one of those national titles Tide fans covet so much.

The Tide is hoping to get another boost with a win in Saturday's homecoming game against Houston.

Saban prefers to take an optimist's outlook on his team's two losses. He says the Tide can learn from what it did wrong in the losses and what the other teams did right.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)