The coach had to take a chance when she went to convince Bryant and Bailey that she needed gymnastics-specific equipment. "They had just dropped the wrestling program, so we had the old mat and it had a hole in it," Sarah Patterson recalled. "We taped it with athletic tape and put an 'A' over it. I'm trying to tell them whey they need to invest $5,000 in a real floor exercise mat with carpet and all, and explain that to (Bryant). He turned to Coach Bailey and said, 'Oh, Sam, give the little lady what she wants.' "I use that in a way so people understand that (Bryant) was all about winning, and once you won you could get that support. We were in such a different time, you didn't have a budget back then. It was you win, OK, we got four scholarships. You win, you ask for a floor exercise mat. Getting those things, those were huge."
They gave us four scholarships to work with," Sarah Patterson said. "We went and got three kids from Pennsylvania. To be honest, it was easy to go in there and talk about Joe Namath and Coach Bryant -- you recruited on the success of the football program, and you went places where people knew, based on those athletes and where we had a presence.
"Title IX was the impetus," Ingram said. "but what's made the difference is that coaches in the community schools embraced girls sports from the very beginning, and the girls flocked to the sport. We are very proud of our girl athletes. That's been one of the best stories in the 20th century."
No matter what method you use, people are ultimately going to do the choosing. Even if you go digital, computers are programmed by people. And people have agendas. So the powers that be in the BCS are at least trying to make sure they know what those agendas will be. I suspect you will see a committee of eight or nine members, which is fine. It will be stocked by the usual suspects - athletic directors, conference commissioners - which is fair, too, I guess. Personally, I wouldn't want to see any media members on there, not because they don't know football - some do, very well - but because it isn't our role.
Congrats to the BCS commissioners. They have undoubtedly helped college football by reaching a consensus on a four-team playoff model. Now what about the players? How will this new playoff money help the people actually sacrificing their bodies each fall Saturday to entertain us? The National College Players Association is working on a proposal focused on head trauma that could be rolled out as soon as next week, when the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee meets. The goal: Make sure a playoff and minimizing health risks become joined at the hip.
Now that the FBS commissioners have agreed to recommend a four-team, seeded playoff to the committee of university presidents who will meet next week, the vigil must begin. For years, the presidents and BCS proponents have told us that it is a law of nature that playoffs expand, that four teams will become eight; eight will become 16. If you think this is a good idea, you haven't paid attention to the state of the college basketball postseason, which is, of course, the very problem with the health of the college basketball regular season.
CB Dee Milliner (Jr.)
2011 season: Played in all 13 games, making six starts. Led the team in interceptions (three) and passes defended (12).
2012 spring practice: Starter at left corner and also worked at the star position in the nickel and dime packages. Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award recipient.
What he brings to the table: Milliner has played in every game he's dressed for at Alabama. After learning some hard lessons as a true freshman in 2010, he responded with an excellent season as the third corner a year ago. As physically gifted as either of UA's first-round corners -- Kareem Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick -- in the Nick Saban era.
S Nick Perry (Jr.)
2011 season: Played in nine games as a reserve safety and special teams contributor. Posted two tackles as a sophomore.
2012 spring practice: Worked with the second-team defense at safety. Recorded two assisted tackles
What he brings to the table: Similar to classmate Jarrick Williams in that Perry hasn't redshirted but he hasn't played much, either. Of course, depth at safety was more of an issue in 2010 than it is in 2012, as UA has signed Vinnie Sunseri, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Landon Collins in its last two classes. Still, players like Perry, who are familiar with the system and understand day-to-day expectations, have value.
There is a weird perception that Jones wasn't that great in 2011. As a rookie, 959 receiving yards and eight touchdowns is great, especially considering that he didn't have an offseason to prepare. It doesn't matter what the Atlanta Falcons traded to move up and draft him. If he continues to produce at this pace, he was worth it.
"I’ve never really been forced to try and make a team," Maze said. "This is the first time I’ve ever tried out for something, so it’s not easy. "I think I’ve responded well. Not being picked and me feeling like I was one of the best in the nation at what I do, I have a chip on my shoulder. I come out here every day with a chip on my shoulder, wanting to make this team." Maze feels Alabama’s pro-style offense and head coach Nick Saban’s NFL background also gives him a leg up on the completion. "Coming from Coach Saban’s offense, it gives me an advantage over guys who come from a spread. I’m used to a pro-style offense," Maze said. "They know the pedigree that I come from, so I think it gives me an advantage. "On and off the field, we were treated like pros. The transition was pretty easy for me."
For only the second time in Nick Saban's tenure in Tuscaloosa, Alabama won't have a bye before playing LSU, which is off the week before facing the Crimson Tide on Nov. 3. Alabama surrendered its typical bye week before LSU in order to avoid no home games in October. The Crimson Tide plays three SEC road games in a four-week stretch from Oct. 13-Nov. 3. That hasn't happened at Alabama since 2002. Alabama finishes with three straight home games for the second time in three seasons.