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Crimson Tide News Links 11/01/2007

Univesity officials traveled to Indianapolis yesterday to update the NCAA on the ongoing inquiry into the textbook scandal. What does that mean for the players? Absolutely nothing. Their status is still unknown.

For those of you going to the game Saturday, be warned that LSU fans have decided to do a little mocking of Coach Bryant's hat:

An article printed in Friday's issue of The Daily Reveille, LSU's student newspaper, featured three students who purchased 60 houndstooth hats and decorated them with a purple band around the outside of the hat and a yellow feather through the band.

"There is no better idea than to put purple and gold on a Paul 'Bear' Bryant hat and have the whole student section wearing them," LSU junior Nathan Roy told The Daily Reveille.

Alabama freshman Sarah Shea has the right attitude about it, though:

"The houndstooth hats are clearly an Alabama tradition," said Sarah Shea, a freshman majoring in elementary education. "For [LSU] fans to be wearing them means they are having to use our tradition instead of having their own."

And speaking of hats, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated put on his dime store psychoanalyst's hat in a recent column:

For LSU fans, Alabama is arguably their biggest rival, and Saban's hiring only fueled their resentment that much more. But the Tigers and Tide aren't actual "rivals," the way Ohio State and Michigan or USC and Notre Dame are rivals. Those rivalries are rooted as much in mutual respect as they are actual hatred.

To Alabama, LSU is no more a rival than the Cleveland Indians are to the New York Yankees. The hatred rests entirely on one side of the field, and it's almost entirely a byproduct of the other side's historical dominance.

Neal McCready thinks things could get a little rowdy this weekend:

One fan base thinks Saban is a god; the other believes he's the devil incarnate. Throw in the SEC West title stakes, LSU's quest for the national championship and Miles' preseason ramblings about "f-ing Alabama" and you've got the recipe for a street fight or 200 on The Strip before and after Saturday's game. You can see why (Tuscaloosa County Sheriff) Sexton didn't want to participate in any tongue-in-cheek interview with a newspaper. He's got bigger fish to fry.

The Alabama defense is hoping that Les Miles will try to gamble against them:

Tide defenders actually seem excited about facing that kind of go-for-broke style in Saturday's game.

"I love it," safety Rashad Johnson said. "I hope they go for it and try to throw it up on us. I've got a lot of confidence in everybody in the secondary that we can make that play. We go out in practice every week and we practice on exactly that, the long ball drill. That's the most intercepted ball in football. I hope they do come out and try to do that on us."

The Dothan Eagle takes a look at the tough test LSU's defense will be for the newly efficient Tide offense, while the Times-Picayune has some nice things to say about the Alabama's defenders.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer agrees with all of us; Saban is so far worth every penny:

Right now, Alabama officials and fans should be comforted by the fact that they have thus far gotten everything they could have realistically expected from Saban in his first season.

The Crimson Tide enters Saturday's game against No. 3 LSU with a No. 17 national ranking and a share of first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. The program that was supposed to be a year or two away from challenging for a division title seems to be well ahead of schedule.

Whether they really believe it or not, Tide players aren't wavering from the company line that Saturday's game is just like any other to them:

"I think anytime you play a big SEC game like this it's big," Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson said. "I know we're playing LSU, but it's just like Tennessee or Auburn to us. We're not blowing this game up like everyone else is.

"I realize we have Coach Saban and he used to coach at LSU. But it's just the next SEC game to us. We're just going to face it like every other day."

"Whatever story you want to make of it is fine," Alabama wide receiver Matt Caddell said. "It's just a game to us. We want to beat LSU because we are tied for first place, not because it's LSU."

Does anyone else find it amusing that if Flynn goes down with Perrilloux suspended Jason Lee might take the field for LSU?

Maybe Randy will show up to play right tackle.

Finally, your morning musical YouTube comes courtesy Mississippi Fred McDowell. Enjoy.