Coach Anthony Grant doesn’t think his team has necessarily taken a step back from its 7-0 start since the three defeats have come to opponents — No. 16 Georgetown, Dayton and Kansas State — with a collective 24-5 record. The string of tough games continues with tonight’s matchup with Oklahoma State (6-4) in Birmingham. "I don’t think it can do anything but help us," Grant said Tuesday. "We’ve been faced with a lot of different styles of play, a lot of different challenges in terms of matchups and things that we’ve had to go against both offensively and defensively. Any time you play against quality competition, it can’t do anything but help you."
"Based on what I’ve seen in practice, I think we understand as a team that we’ve got to get better," head coach Anthony Grant said. "The guys have come with a good attitude in terms of understanding what we have to do. I think we just have to improve as a basketball team right now." Alabama (8-3) has won just once in December, a home victory over Detroit. They lost at home to Georgetown, again at Dayton and last Saturday lost to Kansas State in Kansas City, Mo. "We played a good team at Kansas State. I think you have to give them credit," Grant said Tuesday. "They are very good and they shot the ball well in the second half. We had a tough time with turnovers. We didn’t shoot the ball well. It’s tough to win on the road against a quality opponent."
Redshirt freshman Brian Williams said this team is in need of a win and needs no additional motivation but he has found some anyway as the Cowboys prepare to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. "It would be great to win this for the football team," he said. "I feel like our football team didn’t get an equal opportunity and I really feel like they should be playing in the BCS title game." But more than winning one for the football team, Williams acknowledged that any kind of victory would prove beneficial. "Right now we need it. All we can do is go out and play our hardest but we need a win," he said.
The Alabama basketball team isn't getting the results in December that it got in November, and there's at least one very good reason. Shoot, if it were as easy to find the solution as it is to identify the problem, the Crimson Tide (8-3) wouldn't be unranked for the first time this season. "We've definitely got to be able to knock down some outside shots," said sophomore point guard Trevor Releford, whose team meets Oklahoma State (6-4) at 8 p.m. today at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham.
Oklahoma State is 6-4 this season and has lost back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and most recently, New Mexico on Saturday night. The Cowboys have one win away from home this season, a 72-67 win at Missouri State. "They are a very good team and obviously another Big 12 opponent," Grant said. "They come in having dropped their last two and it's probably going to be an emotion-filled game. They are a very good defensive team that's excellent in transition. It will be a challenge and we've got to be ready to go."
"That's two different teams between Oklahoma State and Alabama," LSU sophomore defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. "When I heard Oklahoma State, I heard rapid weight loss. But when I heard Alabama, I heard stay thick, so I can hold up these gaps."
"Those last three weeks were really good for me," Jones said. "High ankle sprains take a while to get fully healed. I think the important thing is, functionally, it feels pretty good. In other words, what I'm able to do, I can do just about everything. Is there a little pain still involved? Maybe. I don't really mind the pain. You can do things about the pain. Just make sure it's functional."
Eddie Lacy's continues to run through portions of workouts during the media viewing period with his right foot still heavily taped. Lacy has been dealing with a turf toe injury that he suffered on Sept. 24 in a 38-14 win over Arkansas. Left tackle Barrett Jones continues to battle a high ankle sprain he suffered in a 9-6 overtime loss to LSU on Nov. 5, which forced him to miss two games before his return in a 42-14 victory on Nov. 26 at Auburn.
Saban commented on William Vlachos' value to the team as a third-year starting center, adding that he has been something of a career surprise. "When we recruited him, I had my questions about whether he was big enough to do the job," Saban said, "He has proven me wrong however many games he's played here, and ever since he's been here. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's been able to accomplish and the great job that he's done for us."
Robert Lester, a fourth-year junior safety, isn't talked about in the same breath, but he acknowledged Tuesday that he is weighing his options. "I haven't really started looking into that," Lester said. "I feel like I've got another chance to go out and prove myself in the national championship, and depending on that game is what I'll depend on whether I come back or not."
The man who followed Paul "Bear" Bryant as head football coach at the University of Alabama and also served as head coach of the NFL's New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the new coach at Jones County Junior College.
With the commitment of blue-chip running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala.) over the weekend, Alabama captured the top spot in the 247Sports' team recruiting rankings. The Crimson Tide now boast three five-star recruits -- the most in the nation -- pushing them past Texas as the new No. 1 class.
2012 verbal commitments: 22
Spotlight: Athlete Eddie Williams of Panama, City, Fla., is ESPN.com's No. 1 athlete and is ranked as the ninth-best prospect overall. Williams was originally penciled in as either a safety or a linebacker, but has sense had the wide receiver tag placed on him. At 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, he has the size to be an ideal target for any quarterback and he possesses top speed for the position. He also becomes ideal for one-on-one situations and certainly has deep threat ability.
ESPNU 150 members: 9 (ATH Eddie Williams of Panama City, Fla.; WR Chris Black of Jacksonville, Fla.; OT Brandon Greene of Ellenwood, Ga.; CB Geno Smith of Atlanta; LB Dillon Lee of Buford, Ga.; WR Amari Cooper of Miami; LB Reggie Ragland of Madison, Ala.; RB T.J. Yeldon of Daphne, Ala.; LB Tyler Hayes of Thomasville, Ala.)
People will always have their preferences between the two coaches and their respective styles. Chances are that preference will be shaped by each individual's personality and his fan allegiance (often times whether they will admit this to themselves or not). The each have their strengths and weaknesses, as we've seen the last few years. One will rule the day in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 9, but the reality is that both styles work, always have, and will continue to do so for both LSU and Alabama.
SEC offenses: This truly is a defensive league (five teams rank in the top 10 nationally). SEC offenses didn't end the regular season well, with five teams -- Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, Ole Miss and Kentucky -- finishing with offenses that ranked higher than 100th nationally. Only three teams -- Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia -- ranked in the top 50, and were the only SEC teams to average more than 400 yards of total offense per game.
If a simulation of the BCS National Championship Game conducted inside the college football video game NCAA Football 12 is correct, there will be lots of celebrating in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 9. According to their NCAA Football 12 simulation, the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 20-17 on a game-winning field goal as time expires.
"If you look at the number of opportunities that are presented to us and presented to other schools, there’s a major imbalance," Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins says. "We get one automatic bid, and no matter how good a team may be from our conference, we have to pray to get an at-large bid for a second team. You have some other conferences that have four or five teams in the playoffs. "If you do the math, when there are some conferences with four or five teams in and another conference with one team, of course the conference [with more bids], its success rate is going to be better. … Nobody’s asking for any favors. We’re just asking for things to be fair."
Last month, Georgia provided two free meals to Tyriq Gurley, the 5-year-old little brother of 2012 running back prospect Todd Gurley. Meals were permitted for Gurley and his parents but not for siblings on the official visit. The Gurleys reimbursed UGA $21.33 for the child’s meals and UGA reported a violation of bylaw 188.8.131.52.
Nevada isn't sure how many of its fans plan to show up for the Hawaii Bowl, but if the phone sales are any indication, it's not many: As of Sunday evening, the Wolf Pack had sold just 10 tickets through phone sales. Yeah, 10. And Virginia Tech was getting a ribbing for its lack of ticket sales.
The Paul W. Bryant Museum remembers those who played a role in making the great tradition that is Alabama football.