Last weekend, 101,821 college football fans packed Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch the showdown of what used to be the biggest rivalry in the Southeastern Conference.

A panoramic view of Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The University of Alabama was not only impressive, it was downright monumental.

It is the holy grail of college football.

Now that I have had a few days to recuperate in Gainesville, The Swamp seems like the doublewide trailer of SEC stadiums. While the sidelines of Bryant-Denny Stadium seemed sacred.

This goes against every drop of orange and blue blood in my body, but Alabama outplayed Florida on more than just a football game this weekend.

Each time I go on the road with the Gators, I am amazed at the loyal fans of their rivals. Everyone is out to beat the Gators, and every stadium that is not The Swamp is always breaking attendance records and decibel meters.

Alabama fans cheer in the stands at Bryant-Denny Stadium

This is never the case back in Title Town.

As the scoreboard ran amuck in the second half of Alabama’s 31-6 crushing victory over Florida, the atmosphere inside of College Football’s most impressive stadium was epic.

Hints of last season’s SEC Championship were ringing in the ears of every Gator. The “Ala-Bama” call-and-response cheer, which was heard echoing through the Georgia Dome as all BCS dreams were crushed last December, repeated itself almost as much as “Roll Tide.”

The Million Dollar Band at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The Million Dollar Band played ominous tunes which gave the feeling of the world crashing down on head coach Urban Meyer, leaving him stunned, silent and still on the middle of the field after the clock hit 00:00 and the scoreboard burned a 31-6 into his memory.

Head coach Urban Meyer stands silent after the Gators 31-6 loss against Alabama.

The press conference last less than two minutes - as it was timed by almost every journalists covering Alabama thinking no one could beat Joe Paterno’s two-minute speech after his Lions lost 24-3 in front of ESPN’s GameDay.

Urban Meyer speaks briefly after the Gators 31-6 loss in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

I do not like these types of football games. They are not interesting to shoot - even when the score is reversed. This game had the opportunity to make history for both teams as one of the hardest fought wins in the history of college football. It could have been an epic rivalry filled with last-second hail marys and game-winning field goals. Instead, it was an assertion of great power and a stern message on behalf of Nick Saban.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban calmly walks the sidelines in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

As the echoes of Bear Bryant reincarnated throughout the stadium played over the speakers, the Gators tried to revive one of their own through a risky play in the first quarter, but the message was clear.

Nothing can stop the Crimson Tide - not even a jump pass on fourth and one.

See you on the sidelines,

  • Steve 

*You can follow more of my photos and blog entries on my website stevejohnsonmedia.com or on Twitter @sjohnsonmedia. 

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