Three Alabama players are one step closer toward becoming unanimous, first-team All-Americans. Linebacker C.J. Mosley, cornerback Dee Milliner and Chance Warmack are now 4-for-4 on NCAA-recognized All-American teams, as they each landed a spot on the Associated Press' team, which was released today. Center Barrett Jones was also included, giving him the title of a consensus All-American and helping Alabama land an NCAA-best four players on the AP team. Right tackle D.J. Fluker made the AP's second team while quarterback AJ McCarron landed a spot on the third team.
The Tide won the SEC, the conference that has produced the past six national champions and stands poised to make it seven, but two awards? Indeed, just two awards, and it says a lot worth liking about this Alabama team. As billed, it truly missed the star power of other Nick Saban-coached Alabama teams, yet look where the Tide stands. This Alabama team proved it’s possible to stay on top after losing several stars on defense and a Heisman-finalist running back in Trent Richardson from a national-championship team. So much for the parity era. This Alabama team proved it’s possible to win a national championship and come back hungry and focused enough to play for another the next season. So much for the lessons of 2010, when the Tide lost three regular-season games after going undefeated in 2009. Perhaps this season more than any other, the Nick Saban recruiting and focus machine took hold. The players were good enough, even without proven stars, and the whole was better than the sum of its parts.
The University of Alabama men's basketball team has developed an identity as a second-half team in the early portion of the 2012-13 season. The Crimson Tide has outscored opponents by an average of 8.9 points and has shot 45.9 percent from the field after intermission through eight games. UA has also cut down on turnovers in the second half, committing 34 turnovers after the break as opposed to 63 first-half turnovers. Alabama (6-2) has a two-game losing streak, with losses at Cincinnati and at home to Dayton. Alabama won the second half at Cincinnati, 29-25, and played even with Dayton, 43-all, after intermission. Cincinnati is 9-0 with wins over the likes of Oregon and Iowa State, and Dayton is 7-2 with wins over Auburn and Boston College. UA coach Anthony Grant wants his team to get off to faster starts. Alabama holds an average edge of 2.8 points over its opponents at halftime and is shooting 44.4 percent from the floor in first halves. "Our basketball team doesn't understand what it takes right now," Grant said after the Dayton game. "I don't want to take anything away from Dayton, but (the slow start) happened at Cincinnati, it happened against Lamar. We have great guys, but they have to learn competitiveness."
"I would be shocked if he comes back to pro football after sitting down with him. My son was in the program for a year so I was able to teach a lot of clinics with coach and I was able to sit down and talk with him. I also talked with him before last year's national championship game. For those on the outside who don't think he's enjoying this, they really don't know him." Carter also said he believes Saban's coaching style would be ill-fitted for the pro game, something he believes the coach is well aware of. "If you look at his roster the last four or five years, he's coaching a pro team. So why would he go to the pros when he can coach better kids at Alabama, have more control over the roster and face less skill at the coaching level than facing Bill Belichick on a weekly basis?"
“I’ve run around this state for five years now, and I get a thousand ‘Bear’ Bryant stories every year,” the current Alabama coach said last summer of the Alabama legend, “and it’s always about something he did to affect some player and their ability to be more successful and how he impacted their life, and I think that’s your true legacy as a coach. “The rest of it really probably doesn’t matter.” Winning games doesn’t matter? Winning national championships? Being ranked No. 1 in recruiting ratings? Developing large numbers of players into NFL first-round draft picks? Probably doesn’t matter, Saban said at a charity golf event in June. “I really think coaching is the best profession in the world, in my opinion, because of the relationships that you make and the lives that you affect with the young people you’re involved in,” Saban said then. “That’s what we love about college football, and that’s what I think makes it a great profession. It’s more about the team and the players and the unity that you had.”
Saban joked that he "may not have eight minutes worth of information that will interest anyone" after an official from the Touchdown Club told reporters at The Raquet Club of Memphis they'd only have about eight minutes for questions. Then he joked that he looked "like a vagabond" with all of the wires sticking out of his pockets from the various microphones of the local television stations. He grinned from ear-to-ear when talking about his second-ranked Crimson Tide — especially when he was asked about his star center Barrett Jones, who grew up in Germantown and starred at Evangelical Christian School. "He's been an excellent community service leader on top of being a fantastic player for us," Saban said of Jones. "Our offensive line has done an outstanding job all year for us, and Barrett certainly contributes to that in a lot of ways because the center is the leader of the group."
It's important to understand why this trend is happening. Part of it is simple fan economics. As more games pop up on television networks, fans feel they can get more out of their Saturdays at home watching six games instead of devoting a six-hour round trip to see one game. That's part of the world we live in. But, as home entertainment improves by leaps and bounds seemingly every six months, schools need to think about meeting fans halfway. When a school charges the same amount for a ticket to see their team play Alabama and South Alabama, it's an easy decision for many fans. Most importantly, though, is that if you noticed a slight increase in empty seats at your games this fall, remember that you're not alone.
We're not taking into account the running backs going against opposing front seven's and the lines blocking for them here. Nevertheless, on a talent versus talent outlook, Notre Dame can't lose this running back battle by much and still win the game. If Alabama runs for 150 yards, the Irish have to get around 130 and make this matchup as much of a draw as possible. Easier said than done.