Coming off four full days away from the field, the Crimson Tide moved closer to game-ready for the Jan. 9 BCS title game showdown with No. 1 LSU. The first week of “camp-style practices ended Friday and the Tigers entered Alabama’s vocabulary Wednesday. Game planning and scheming for LSU began in the indoor facility, but the No. 2 Tide isn’t scripting plays just yet. It’s more a matter of knowing what to know and how to practice for the time being. “Everybody’s got to really pay the price now so that they can play the way they’d like to play when the game comes,” coach Nick Saban said. “I think the quality of practice is more important than it usually is. I think finishing in practice is more important than it usually is. Being able to sustain your effort in the game for 60 minutes is not something you’ve had to duplicate for a long time.”
The three weeks between beating Auburn and resuming practice Dec. 19 was all about strength and conditioning. Now it's trending towards LSU. "We got introduced to them today," receiver Brandon Gibson said. "It's nothing we haven't seen. Playing these guys again is something special. I don't want to say it's revenge. It's going back and doing the right things the second time around. You don't really get those opportunities and we have. It's exciting to go back and play against these guys again. They're arguably the best team in the country." Arguably? "I believe in my team," Gibson said. "And I believe we are the best team in the country. We just have to go out and show it."
The University of Alabama men's basketball returns to campus for the final game of the 2011 portion of its schedule when it hosts Jacksonville in Coleman Coliseum on Thursday evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on CSS and on radio courtesy of the Crimson Tide Sports Network affiliates. Tickets for the Crimson Tide's final home game before the New Year are available for $5. "When you look at their record, it doesn't really tell the true story in terms of the type of team they are," UA head coach Anthony Grant said of the Dolphins. "They've played great competition with a very tough schedule up to this point. I've been impressed watching them on film with the intensity they play with and how hard their guys play on every possession regardless of the score. First and foremost, we have to understand how hard we have to compete against this team in order to have a chance to win."
PennLive.com reader loldaveyjones writes:"I told you yesterday Jones that it was not Munchak. If you want the truth and not the usual garbage you spew, it's Nick Saban. How do I know? Someone in my family recently donated $$,$$$,$$$. The contract is for 6 years, $48million. The school is paying $5m/yr, and the rest is coming from the Nike contract. He'll be making 60% more than anyone in college football.
Sounds ridiculous right? No it's not. Saban and his wife are from West Virginia and Nick grew up going to Penn State games with his dad. Saban also never really wanted to leave Michigan State as his closest friends are Tom Izzo and Dantonio. From what I was told, it was Lubert, Parker, and Delaney who were the power brokers behind this deal. This is a huge power play for everyone involved...Penn State, Nike, and the Big Ten.
I keep hearing theres going to be an announcement on Jan 3rd or 4th. That's not true either. The official announcement won't happen until the middle of January. Saban will have two weeks to try and salvage this recruiting class, but from what I was told this is of no concern. I'll be back in January to remind you once again I was right."
"This is always a year that, when we have to go to Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU all in the same year, which has always been that way, that's not any different," Saban said. "So it's always tough, tough road games. But every game in this league is tough on the road."
ALABAMA Likes that: its East divisional draw doesn't feature either South Carolina or Georgia. A road trip to Missouri could be tricky, but given the way the Gamecocks whomped the Tide the last time the two teams met and how the Bulldogs have finished this season, Alabama's not going to complain about getting a first historic visit to Columbia under their belts. And of course, their permanent cross-divisional rivalry with Tennessee isn't anything to fear at this stage. Getting Auburn at home is always a plus.
Somewhere, Mark Richt is smiling. After looking at Georgia’s 2012 schedule, he has to feel pretty good about his team’s chances at not just another SEC run but possibly a BCS run. Outside of the talent expected back in Athens, Georgia was dealt a pretty favorable hand when it came to scheduling, as the Bulldogs will once again miss Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. The Bulldogs were supposed to play Alabama, but that game was dumped, and Georgia will play Ole Miss.
Saban declined comment on the recent absence from practice of wide receiver Duron Carter, a junior college transfer who was ineligible to play this season but practiced on the scout team.
Linebacker Jonathan Atchison continued to wear a black non-contact jersey while working with his position group as he continues to recover from biceps surgery. Offensive tackles Cyrus Kouandjio and Arie Kouandjio were absent during the media viewing period. Both are recovering from knee surgeries, and had been seen last week riding stationary bikes.
Please send all notes of thanks to Dan Goodale, care of the Boise State Broncos. Goodale's missed 39-yard field goal as time expired against TCU kept the Broncos from an unbeaten season--and likely a spot in the BCS national championship game. Had the non-BCS Broncos advanced to the sport's pinnacle, the BCS as we know it would be bulletproof. Instead, it's bullet-ridden.
"It's a different schedule than we thought we were going to have," Saban said. "Games get moved around. But this is a one-year thing, and I'm sure the league office did the best job that they could do taking all the teams in our league into consideration ... to put the best schedule together that was the fairest and most competitive for everyone."
Why does Gibson believe Alabama deserves a second chance? "We left a lot of points on the field the last time we played," Gibson said. "I don't think that they beat us; we beat ourselves. It's all about Alabama right now. We're going back to the basics like we did last week, and we're starting to get into work for LSU. We'll be prepared for them."
"I don't know if you could have put this together in many leagues," Templeton said. "I don't know of a single school that didn't give up something. Everybody understood that it wasn't going to be a perfect schedule if we protected the nonconference games. We could have made it a lot easier if we made them cancel their contracts, but we didn't do that." The computer spit out 12 to 14 models. The SEC adjusted those 15 to 20 times to protect certain SEC games and nonconference contests.
In announcing its 2012 schedule of league games Wednesday, the SEC illustrated the aftermath of expansion. It’s a makeshift schedule; that is, it’s good for 2012 only. The league kept all six permanent intradivision rivalries intact – good news for Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, etc. But we lose Alabama-Georgia in exchange for Alabama-Texas A&M and Georgia-Missouri. In fact, the Bulldogs play all six SEC East opponents by Oct. 27, before they play their two SEC West foes. That’s weird.
Alabama has put together another excellent class and Nick Saban is well on his way to giving Alabama a top-five class for a half decade. Bama has eight skill position players, one specialist, three offensive linemen, five defensive lineman, three linebackers, and three defensive backs.
A victory by the No. 1 Tigers (13-0) against No. 2 Alabama (11-1) in New Orleans on Jan. 9 would mean Miles, the fourth-highest-paid college football coach in the nation at $3.8 million a year, would have to make "no less than the highest salary of public institutions within the Southeastern Conference (as of January of the current season), plus $1,000," according to his contract. Alabama's Nick Saban is No. 1 in the SEC at $4.7 million. Yet those who know him say they do not expect Miles to change his anti-power-hungry personality. "He never waves that paycheck in my face," LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said. "His ego is controlled. He doesn't feel he has to run the whole show. I know of other coaches who are incredibly control-oriented. And I know coaches who have two personalities — the coaching one and the personal one. Les is exactly the same guy no matter if he's coaching or not. You don't have to guess with Les."
”Somebody asked me what I’d get Les for Christmas,” kicker Drew Alleman said. ”I said a dictionary, because some of the words he uses are not in the dictionary. Words you can’t even make up -- like three words together. He’s sharp, but he tries to make you think he’s even sharper.”
"We've obviously explored the possibility of going beyond 12 [teams],'' said Scott. "I've been a believer, philosophically, of that if it made sense. Now I don't see us expanding anytime in the foreseeable future. A lot of what we can do through collaborating with the Big Ten will help us accomplish some of the same things.'' From a football perspective -- and football drives the financial bus in intercollegiate athletics -- the alliance will improve the nonconference schedules of Big Ten and Pac-12 programs. It gives each conference marketing and recruiting entry into large population and media centers of the country. It also provides added content and product for the Big Ten Network as well as the soon-to-be-launched Pac-12 Network, which begins programming in August 2012.
Details remain fluid, but the probable first phase of the partnership would include increased Pac-12 vs. Big Ten games in men's and women's basketball, as well as in Olympic sports. Those changes will begin in the 2012-2013 academic year. "Part of building our brand is getting our brand around to different places in the country," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Wednesday. "The fact that this is an agreement that will connect a number of different sports, not just football, not just men's basketball, but many, many of our other Olympic sports and team sports, it's a great opportunity for us to travel and us to take our teams and our coaches and our brand to other parts of the country (where) ordinarily we wouldn't be appearing a lot. So I think that's significant."