Richardson has battled five of the nation's top 25 teams in total defense. Richardson ran for 107 yards and a touchdown against Vanderbilt, 111 yards and two touchdowns at Penn State, 77 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee and 127 yards and a touchdown at Mississippi State. How does that compare to other Heisman hopefuls such as quarterbacks Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)? Weeden has faced one of the nation's top-25 defenses (Texas), and Luck has faced none.
Here’s something else that Richardson has going for him: He gets a lot of his yards on his own. Sure, his offensive line is outstanding, but Richardson has gained 595 of his 1,205 yards after contact this season. He had 127 yards last week against Mississippi State, and 40 of those yards came after contact. It was the sixth straight game that Richardson had gained at least 40 yards after contact, and all six were SEC games.
"I'm excited about going against a new type of offense," UA safety Robert Lester said. "A lot of people would say they would rather play something that they are comfortable with, but I enjoy playing things different because you never know when you might see it again." DeQuan Menzie is one of the few Alabama defenders who has played against the option before, but that was back in high school. "It was very difficult," he said. "You've got to look at the right stuff, and if you don't then it's going to be really bad."
"He's become an all-around good player for us, he's a good tackler, but most of those things he could do before," said UA coach Nick Saban. "He had to learn the system, learn what to do and he's doing a really good job of that. He's a good cover guy, has good ball skills, good tackler and can play man-to-man, and those are things you look for in a guy."
"[The wildcat]’s really fun because I really get to pick my holes, and I get to run the offense at that time," Richardson said. "When AJ [McCarron] is out there at receiver, I tell him go line up right now, I’m running the offense. I just have fun with it."
Alabama will be in search of its 10th win of the 2011 campaign on Saturday against Georgia Southern. The Tide has won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons and will be looking to make it four in a row, versus the Eagles. Alabama will be looking for its 32nd 10-win season in 117 seasons of football. Alabama currently has 31 10-win seasons, ranking second in college football behind Oklahoma, which has reached the 10-win plateau 32 times.
"I'm not exactly sure if something's missing as much as it's not the same," CBS analyst Gary Danielson said. "'Missing' may imply a negative. It's hard to replace a superstar receiver. "The passing game is good enough. It's just a bit different this year."
Dont'a Hightower is challenging Alabama's reigning top tackler for that distinction this season. The junior linebacker currently leads the Tide with 66 tackles, nine ahead of safety Mark Barron, who led the Tide with 75 tackles in 2010. Barron's 76 tackles in 2009 ranked second on the team.
Increased exposure nationally through athletics can help educate prospective students learn about the university, too, he said. A&M is still thought of by many to be an all-male military institution. One other important advantage: "We can set the marketplace in the state of Texas for the SEC," Cook said, as the school will be the conference’s lone Texas brand.
College football is the true religion of America. You can tell a lot about a civilization from its monuments. The Greeks built temples to the gods. The Romans constructed roads and aqueducts. The United States built railroads, skyscrapers, majestic post-office buildings and public libraries. Today, it builds temples of worship called football stadiums. This may not be the end of empire, but sometimes it feels that way.
Urban Meyer met with Arizona’s athletic director, Greg Byrne, in Miami early last week to discuss the Wildcats’ job, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting, but ultimately decided he was not interested. The person said that Meyer, who has expressed his desire to return to coaching, was intrigued but informed Byrne in a telephone call Monday night that he was not going to pursue the job. Where Meyer will end up coaching next season is one of the more intriguing questions in college football. Meyer, who left Florida after last season, is considered the leading candidate for the head coaching positions at Ohio State and Penn State, which are both expected to be open after this year.