By Stan J. Griffin

After successfully navigating a two-week Southeastern Conference minefield that included a trip to always-dangerous Death Valley to play LSU and a matchup last Saturday in Tuscaloosa against then-No. 1 and undefeated Mississippi State, the No. 1 Alabama football team gets a one-week break from the rigors of SEC play.

It is Homecoming week at the Capstone, as the Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 SEC) squares off with Football Championship Series member Western Carolina (7-4) Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff and the game will be televised by SEC Network.

And while most Alabama fans assume that the game will basically serve as an opportunity to give the backups some quality game experience while resting the starters for the Iron Bowl that follows on Nov. 29, Tide coach Nick Saban said it is important for his team to remember it is mainly about who it is instead of who it is playing, and he also noted that Mark Speir's Catamounts are a much different team than it was in 2013.

By Stan J. Griffin

The 25-20 victory this past Saturday by the University of Alabama football team over Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium was huge for a number of reasons.

Obviously it was a very significant win for the Crimson Tide in that it vaulted Alabama to the top of the Southeastern Conference standings and also to the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff committee rankings.

But with a full and vocal crowd on hand at Bryant-Denny, CBS on hand to televise the game nationallly and ESPN's beloved College GameDay show on the UA campus, the game also gave Nick Saban and his staff another prime opportunity to, of course, display the Crimson Tide program in front of prep standouts who are being recruited by the Tide.

By Stan J. Griffin

Although Kristy Curry's University of Alabama women's basketball team was able to get a huge performance from sophomore forward Ashley Williams, and also a big second- half effort from freshman guard Hannah Cook after a scoreless first half, the Crimson Tide could not prevent a little late magic from Destany McLin and the visiting Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

McLin hit a jumper with five seconds remaining in the contest to give the Gamecocks a 64-62 victory over the Tide Tuesday night at Foster Auditorium.  Alabama fell to 1-2 on the young season.

"First of all you just credit Jacksonville State, and (JSU coach Rick Pietri) does a great job and I've had a lot of respect for him over the years," said Curry after the game. "I thought they had some older kids that really made big, big shots. Those kids can really shoot the basketball, and we want to continue to recruit those kind of kids who can make plays and shoot the ball. My hats are off to those kids and they did a great job tonight."

By Stan J. Griffin

It has been a huge first season, and an especially big past few days for University of Alabama freshman punter JK Scott.

This past Friday, Scott, the native of Denver, was named as one of 10 national semifinalists for the prestigious Ray Guy Award, which recognizes the most outstanding punter in college football, and is named after the legendary former Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders punter.

Scott and the other semifinalists were selected from a field of 82 candidates.

Then on Monday, Scott was selected by the Southeastern Conference as its Special Teams Player of the Week for his good work in the Tide's 25-20 win over top-ranked Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.

By Stan J. Griffin

After leaving the Alabama football team on the outside looking in during its past three polls, the College Football Playoff selection committee has now decided that Nick Saban's Crimson Tide is the top team in the country.

In the latest poll by the committee,  announced Tuesday night on ESPN, Alabama (9-1) vaulted from the No. 5 spot to the No. 1 position by virtue of its 25-20 victory over the previously top-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday. The committee also sent a message that it apparently feels that MSU is still a playoff-caliber team despite that loss as it kept it in the Top 4 of the poll at the fourth spot.

Oregon is the No. 2 team in the poll behind the Tide, and defending champion Florida State, despite its still-unbeaten record, is No. 3 in the rankings.