NCAA FB

Alabama once again gets a 2nd chance at title shot

Share This Story

   
 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)

Alabama players don't even have to leave their couches to be one of the big winners in college football's national championship sweepstakes.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) has benefited the past two years from a pair of late-season upsets by other teams, proving that patience is sometimes as important as perfection.

Alabama jumped right back into win-and-in mode with Saturday night's losses by Oregon and Kansas State.

Last year, the one-loss Tide got a reprieve with Iowa State stunning Oklahoma State and Oregon toppling Stanford.

''It's college football,'' Tide safety Robert Lester said. ''Just like last year, crazy things are going to happen. Crazy things are going to happen next year. The only thing we need to worry about right now is to play our football and not worry about what's going on outside Alabama and handle it the way we need to handle it.''

What's going on inside Alabama is that rival Auburn (3-8, 0-7) visits Saturday for the Iron Bowl.

With a win, the Tide would play No. 3 Georgia for the SEC title and a chance at a second straight national championship. Alabama, which spent most of the season ranked No. 1, only needed a week to move back to the front of the line along with top-ranked Notre Dame.

The Tide was coming off a 29-24 loss to No. 9 Texas A&M. Last season, Alabama earned a rematch after losing to LSU partly thanks to the Cowboys and Cardinal finally losing.

Still, coach Nick Saban said he is focused only on the state title, a prize that's still pretty substantial in this heated rivalry.

''I just want to make everybody understands here that we're not in any conversations about anything other than the game that we're playing,'' Saban said Monday. ''Unless we win the next game, we don't have another game. We're trying to work our way into a conversation by how we play. We're not trying to hold a position. We're trying to create one by what we do and how we play.

''Everybody in this organization needs to understand that we're dismissing all talk about anything except playing Auburn.''

Not every Tide player said they were glued to the TV Saturday night hoping for a helping hand or two and celebrating the upsets.

''I think somebody sent a message to me on Facebook,'' linebacker Nico Johnson said. ''Other than that, what came across my mind was, `We've got an opportunity, but we can't look past the team we have this week.' We kind of got ahead of ourselves the Texas A&M game. It showed what happened. Now we understand that. We learned from that lesson. Now we've got to stay focused on us and control what we do and worry about Auburn this week.''

Johnson said defensive end Damion Square reminded the players of that after their run on Sunday that: ''We can't overlook our opponent. Never.''

The reality is, an Auburn win would be a bigger upset than Baylor over Kansas State or Stanford beating Oregon. Alabama is a 31.5-point favorite over the Tigers.

Still, last weekend's upsets took care of two of the teams standing in Alabama's way.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley said the Tide can't lose sight of the other two teams that will actually line up against them before a national championship shot can come.

''I'm glad that it happened, but if we don't win these next two games, all that really doesn't matter,'' Mosley said. ''So we're back in the picture for it, but that's really not what I'm worried about. We've got these two games coming up. They ought to be big for us. We've got a chance to do something good. We've got to make sure we take advantage of it.''

Saban said teams can get ''emotionally stressed out'' when the stakes of the games are so high. He's trying to keep that from happening to the Tide.

''You're worrying emotionally, which affects your ability to focus and you don't play as well,'' Saban said. ''None of these things are bad things. There's nobody taking anybody out and shooting them behind the barn because we've got an opportunity to play in this game. We've got an opportunity to play in this game and maybe another game, that's a good thing. That's something that everybody worked hard to create. You know, be positive. It's what great competitors love to do, go compete and play your best games. Don't get emotionally stressed out or start playing to keep from getting beat and be tentative about your approach to what you're doing.

''I think it did happen to us and it probably happened to some other people. That's what we try to guard against.''

Tagged: Oregon, Alabama, Auburn

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash