The storylines are endless, but none is more important than the stakes. The winner takes the inside lane in the final sprint to the BCS title game while the loser will need help reaching the ultimate goal. Any such talk is frowned upon inside both programs. None of that matters much to Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones. It's all business for the third-year starter. "No offense," he said last week surrounded by reporters and cameras, "But I think you guys are getting caught up in the hype more that we are."
In his college career, Saban is 20-8 in rematch games the next season. His early years at Michigan State put a dent in that career number, but the larger meaning of the trend has been around for a decade, even in the NFL. Saban was a 15-17 coach in two forgettable seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Yet a quarter of his NFL victories came in rematch games. He posted a 4-2 record the next time he played a team he lost to, either later that season or the following year. And these weren't all run-of-the-mill wins. Two of the rematch wins came against the New England Patriots, including one in 2006 when the Patriots were 12-4 and headed to the AFC Championship Game while the Dolphins ended 6-10. Statistical trends alone won't allow Saban to rebound against Miles. But do you really want to bet against the master of the rematch?
"I wouldn't take anybody over the defensive front, secondary, quarterback, running back, none of that," Alabama inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower said. "Our d-line does exactly what they need to do. They open up gaps for the linebackers to make plays. The secondary's there, the ball's in the air, they're going to get it. They're all breaking up passes, so I feel like we're all doing what we need to be doing." Hightower looks forward to the Tide's defense being tested by a physical offense that probably isn't going to do anything fancy. "Those are the kinds of things that I like," he said. "I like smash-mouth football. I like the guard trying to come and take me out, push me outside the pocket, when they're running the power lead on me.
Tight Ends | Grade: A-
Progress report: The tight end position has been a strength of Alabama's team every year since Nick Saban's arrival in 2007, and this season is no different. Michael Williams has been outstanding as a blocker on the line of scrimmage. Brad Smelley, as the H-back, blocks more in open space and his athleticism is suited for that. As receivers, the two have combined for 26 catches for AJ McCarron, and Smelley has made a few tough catches look easy.
1: Is it possible that Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game — as big as it appears to be — won’t solve anything in terms of the national championship race?
Since the start of the AP Top 25 poll 76 years ago, No. 1 has played No. 2 just 22 times during the regular season — the most recent being Michigan-Ohio State in 2006. But here’s the thing: It’s entirely possible that the Alabama-LSU loser will still wind up No. 2 in the BCS rankings. The SEC is simply that much better than any other league in the country. Does anyone truly believe that the Alabama-LSU loser isn’t better than the unbeatens: Oklahoma State, Stanford and/or Boise State?
1. Alabama has allowed fewer points this season (55) than Indiana has allowed on two of the last three Saturdays (59).
And Double-A, the Enforcer, he said it right! When the Horsemen come to your town, it's only the best! And WOO! When we come to Tuscaloosa, it'll be long limousines, cruisin' down Magnolia Drive, and every co-ed LININ' UP! Because we're custom made from head to toe, we do what we want, and when you ride with the Horsemen, it's champagne, Rolexes and WOOO! All night long! Girls, when you see that limo, I want you to keep somethin' in mind. You have to be between the ages of 18 and 28, and you gotta be able to WALK THAT AISLE with the best of the best! And just maybe, WOO! Just maybe, you can take a ride on Space Mountain!
From sorority members in houndstooth dresses to babies in houndstooth onesies, fans have made the print a staple on Saturdays in Tuscaloosa.
Given a choice between houndstooth or the latest design from Louis Vuitton or Gucci, the true Tide fan would not hesitate to side with the Bear.
When asked for questions, hands shot up across the church, following an introspective speech from Trent Richardson, the Escambia High graduate and star tailback for No. 2 ranked Alabama, during Saturday's event at Pine Forest United Methodist Church. If you don't think kids can ask the darndest things, here's a sampling of some of the best, followed by Richardson's rapid-fire responses.