"All they talk about is how he ran the ball and the 200 yards he gained and the guy that he made miss and the pile that he carried forward," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "The guy has also competed against some of the better defensive teams in the country and done a pretty good job against all those teams."
What's it like under that pile? "It's crazy, because you've got everybody trying to move you this way and move you that way," Richardson says. "You've just got to make sure you're not getting pinched or you're not getting pulled on. ... It's every man for himself underneath that pile."
"I really think Georgia would have to blow out LSU, and even then it would be a slim chance," answers Herndon. "I don't think that's going to happen. I think even if LSU keeps it competitive in a loss, I think they still go to the BCS championship game."
Nick Saban didn't answer a question about whether he'd like to trade places with LSU and play in Saturday's Southeastern Conference Championship Game, citing the question's hypothetical nature as precluding an answer. But it's hard to imagine that anyone at Alabama wouldn't want a chance at another SEC championship. The Crimson Tide played its very hardest against LSU on Nov. 5 - not its best, perhaps, but its hardest - knowing that one of the rewards would be a chance to play in Atlanta. LSU won the game, and a chance to be SEC champion, which is a great reward. It's bizarre to suggest that Alabama is somehow "gaining an advantage" by not playing. UA has more SEC championships than any other school, by a wide margin, but there is always room for one more on anyone's trophy case.
Oklahoma State followers will argue that Bama's schedule was suspect. Hmmm. Alabama beat Penn State, pre-Sandusky scandal. It beat Arkansas by 24 -- the same Arkansas team that was No. 3 in the BCS standings a week ago. It shut out a better-than-you-think Vandy team. It lost to LSU by three and pretty much crushed everyone else. The Cowboys scored a gajillion points but gave up a lot of points. But they registered some very nice wins against Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor and Kansas State. Against Iowa State, not so much.
The BCS formula is an exercise in nonsense. It always has been; it’s just more obvious this season, when there is a heated debate over the second-best team, the one that would meet LSU for the title. Alabama, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and others are making their pitches, pointing out this strength and that argument to get a crack at the Tigers. The campaigns will only pick up this weekend. Understand this, though: No matter what it says, the BCS is not a system designed to choose a championship matchup. It is merely a tool to stave off the inevitable playoff bowl directors fear will cut into their millions in tax-free profits, a casino-style distraction to placate the masses.
It's time once again for the wailing season. And no, I'm not talking about the guys at sea trying to harpoon for blubber while fighting off Greenpeace activists. I'm referring to the annual blubbering of college football fans crying an ocean because their teams were snubbed for the sport's national championship game. Only the top two ballclubs in the final regular season Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings _ a combination of the coaches' and writers' polls and computer spit-outs _ qualify for that title contest. The next eight will have to make do with the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls. The boo-hooing could even be louder than usual this year with an inordinate number of teams still in title game contention entering the final weekend of the regular season.
The BCS system -- as well as life itself -- is unfair. To win the national title, Alabama would have to beat a team playing with a home-field advantage in nearby New Orleans. That is unfair to the Tide. To win the national title, LSU may have to beat a team it has already beaten during the regular season. That is unfair to the Tigers. Some voters are holding it against Oklahoma State that it lost a double-overtime game to Iowa State on a day the OSU community had to cope with the tragic loss of two women's basketball coaches. That is unfair to the Cowboys.
Julio Jones has played through pain. He's played through injury. Playing with a pulled hamstring, the former University of Alabama wideout is learning, is something else. "I never had a hamstring in college," said Jones, a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons. "I had everything else. I broke my fourth metacarpal (bone) in my hand, I had a fracture in my wrist, I had an AC (shoulder joint) sprain, both groins - and at the combine I broke my fifth metatarsal in my foot. "All the other stuff, except the AC sprain, is pretty much bones. It's easier to play with something broke, from my experience, than a ligament. It kills you. These hamstrings ain't no joke. They're hard to get over."
Jones said he only got to see some of last Saturday's Iron Bowl due to his preparations with the Falcons. He stays in touch with Trent Richardson, Alabama's Heisman Trophy candidate at running back, and has tried to keep up with the Crimson Tide this season. Whatever his current professional demands, Jones is still proud of his Crimson Tide ties. "I'm always going to be an Alabama guy," he said.
Say LSU loses to Georgia by three touchdowns. Say No. 3 Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma by three touchdowns. (By way of comparison, Georgia is No. 14 in the BCS standings to OU’s No. 10.) Say there’s a major Oklahoma State groundswell in the human polls. Say LSU slides to No. 3 in the final rankings behind Oklahoma State and Alabama, the latter of which cannot lose this weekend because it isn’t playing. Know where LSU, the team that has been the nation’s best from September through November, would be headed? To Orlando for the non-BCS Capital One Bowl. Or to Dallas for the non-BCS Cotton Bowl.
Alabama junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower was selected as one of four finalists for the Lott Trophy, The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced on Tuesday. Hightower, a native of Franklin, Tenn., leads the Crimson Tide with a career-best 81 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss (-35 yards), 3.0 sacks (-16 yards), one interception (29 yards), three pass breakups and eight quarterback hurries. Hightower also quarterbacks a defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (8.8 points per game), total defense (191.3 yards per game), rush defense (74.9 ypg), pass defense (116.3 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.9).
Birmingham is batting .500 with the SEC, drawing South Carolina and Kentucky the past two years and also missing in 2008. In order to become affiliated with the SEC, the city's bowl game raised ticket prices for most seats from $30 to $50 in recent years. The bowl kept $30 prices for corner seats and BBVA Compass customers can purchase tickets at bank locations for $45 and $25. Last season was the first in which the BBVA Compass and Liberty bowls shared the SEC's final pick in rotating years. Since both bowls agreed on their SEC picks in 2010, the Liberty retains the higher SEC priority this year.
"Leadership is really an important part of being a head of anything, a business or whatever it is, and I think Kirby is a great leader," Saban told reporters. "… You have to have leadership qualities and the ability to confront and demand people do things the right way and you have to gain their respect to do it. He’s done a fantastic job of that."