Alabama will close its two-game road swing when it travels to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT. It's the first of two games between the teams, as Georgia makes the return trip to Tuscaloosa on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN or ESPN2.
Alabama announced Friday that 12 student-athletes have begun classes at the University and will be eligible to participate in spring practice with the Crimson Tide in 2017.
Alabama will begin a two-game road swing when it travels to take on in-state rival Auburn on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.It's the first of two games between the rivals, as Auburn makes the return trip to Tuscaloosa on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.
TAMPA, Fla. – In a national championship game that seesawed back-and-forth throughout the second half, The University of Alabama football team came up just short in the final seconds against Clemson Monday night, falling to the Tigers, 35-31, in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. The two teams played in front of a Raymond James Stadium-record 74,512 fans.
Bill Battle, Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama, announced Sunday evening that he is going to retire from his post to assume a new role as Special Assistant to the President.
Greg Byrne, Vice President for Athletics at the University of Arizona, will become the new Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama effective March 1, pending approval of The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. The 45-year-old Byrne, who is highly respected in his field, will be formally introduced to the media later this week.
Sophomore Avery Johnson Jr. and junior Riley Norris scored 13 points each to help lift the Alabama men’s basketball team to a 68-56 victory over the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night at Coleman Coliseum. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to an overall 11-7 record, including a 4-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
By Stan J. Griffin: January 5, 2017
THE SCORE: Alabama women's basketball team 90, Ole Miss 80, as the Crimson Tide holds off the Rebels in a wild and physical affair to even its record in Southeastern Conference play.
The Crimson Tide came out hot in the first quarter as it hit 10 of its 19 shots in the period, including all five of its attempt from 3-point range. Alabama led by a slim 13-11 margin before juniors Hannah Cook and Meo Knight led the Tide on an 8-0 run to swell the lead to 21-11. Alabama led 26-13 after one as Knight hit a trey at the buzzer.
With the score 32-17 in the second period, the Rebels scored eight in a row to trim the UA advantage to 32-25, and a late 8-2 Ole Miss surge allowed it to cut Alabama's lead to 39-33 at halftime.
Alabama's lead stayed in double digits for most of the third period, and Cook came up big in a late 11-2 Tide surge in the period to propel the Tide to a 63-46 advantage heading to the final 10 minutes.
With Alabama up 75-61 with just under four minutes left in regulation, the Rebels scored 17 of the next 26 points to trim the home team's lead to 84-78 with only 43 seconds remaining, but Knight and company were able to seal the game at the free throw line.
SITE: Coleman Coliseum, Attendance: 2,588
RECORDS: Alabama 13-2 (1-1 in SEC play), Ole Miss 12-3 (1-1 SEC)
KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Knight led the Crimson Tide with a game-high and career-high 29 points, which included an 11-14 performance from the free throw line, and she also added three rebounds, two assists and a team-high three steals. Fellow junior Cook added 18 points, including three treys, and she had four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Sophomore Shaq Wade and freshman Jordan Lewis had 12 and 11 points respectively and Wade led the team with seven boards. Lewis led the Tide with seven assists and freshman Ashley Knight tallied five blocks.
GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide shot nearly 50 percent from the field for the game, including 53 percent in the first quarter and just over 64 percent in the third. The Tide also hit six treys and went to the free throw line 50 times. Alabama won the battle of the boards 42-29 and forced 17 Rebel turnovers. Alabama outscored the visitors 28-26 in the paint and 16-12 off turnovers.
NOT SO GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide committed 20 turnovers in the contest and were outscored in bench points 32-13. Although Alabama had 50 free throw attempts, it missed 14 of those chances. The Tide hit only three of its 12 shot attempts in the second quarter after the hot first-quarter start. The Rebels made the game close late by outscoring the Tide 34-27 over the final 10 minutes.
By Stan J. Griffin: January 5, 2017
As both Nick Saban's No. 1 Alabama football team and Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Clemson Tigers have shown significant improvement defensively in 2016 after being very solid on that side of the ball last season as well, the numbers suggest that we may not see another 45-40-type shootout similar to last year's meeting between the two teams when they meet in a College Football Playoff National Championship Game rematch on Monday.
But that does not necessarily mean there will not be another epic game for the ages when the 14-0 Crimson Tide and 13-1 Tigers clash in Tampa's Raymond James Stadium (7 p.m. CT, ESPN).
It is a matchup chock full of historical story lines for both Saban and the tradition-rich Alabama program and one that is also brimming with all kinds of emotional intangibles.
Alabama seeks its fifth national title in eight seasons, while Saban will be looking to tie Paul W. "Bear" Bryant with his college football-leading sixth national championship of the poll era.
Clemson, meanwhile, is of course seeking major payback from last year's loss to the Tide in Glendale, Ariz., is looking for its national title since 1981 and Swinney's first one overall and Tiger junior quarterback Deshaun Watson will be looking for another huge performance against Alabama and perhaps another confirmation that it was he, and not Louisville's Lamar Jackson, who should have captured this season's Heisman Trophy.
All that aside, however, there is little doubt that the nation's finest two teams will be battling for the ultimate prize in Tampa, in what will likely be another tight and very physical affair.
Saban said Wednesday that there are many reasons why Swinney's team will present such a formidable challenge to his top-ranked squad once again.
""We're playing against a really, really good Clemson team, a lot of skill players, a lot of team speed, a great quarterback, (Watson), is, I think, maybe arguably the best college football player in the country. He's got a lot of experience, he's very productive as a passer. He's athletic as a runner. They have quarterback runs when they want to use them and he's very effective at it. He's got really, really good receivers starting with (redshirt junior) Mike Williams, who's got a whole bunch of receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. They have really good balance on offense, their offensive line is good and defensively they're very talented upfront. Make a lot of sacks, hard to score on, one of the top defensive teams in the country and they're good on special teams. So, this is a team that doesn't have a lot of weaknesses so I think you have to be fundamental in your execution and not make mental errors that are going to give them opportunities because they will take advantage of it and that will really be important for us in this game."
After accounting for 478 total yards in last season's title game against the Crimson Tide, Watson returns for another shot at knocking off the Tide with his team in the role as underdogs once again.
By Stan J. Griffin: January 4, 2017
There is less than a week until the No. 1 and 14-0 Alabama football team battles Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Clemson Tigers in a rematch of last season's College Football Playoff National Championship, with an opportunity to gain the Crimson Tide's 17th national title and second one in a row.
On Wednesday, UA head coach Nick Saban said his team is off to a good start in its preparations for this year's title game in Tampa, but said he also realizes that his top-ranked squad is likely in for quite a battle once again against the Atlantic Coast Conference champions, and a team that pushed the Crimson Tide to the brink last season before Alabama survived a 45-40 shootout in Glendale, Ariz.
"The first two practices have been pretty good for us, and I think the players have a good mindset and the energy level has been good," he said. "I think preparation is so important, we have a shorter turnaround this year (between the CFP semifinal and the title game) than what we had a year ago. Focus on execution, I think sometimes when you practice hard it makes the game easier. Everybody's got to trust and believe in each other so that they can go out there and do their job and have confidence that we'll have success. I'm really proud of the team and the opportunity they created for themselves to be able to play in the national championship game this year.
"We're playing against a really, really good Clemson team, a lot of skill players, a lot of team speed, a great quarterback, Deshaun Watson, is, I think, maybe arguably the best college football player in the country. He's got a lot of experience, he's very productive as a passer. He's athletic as a runner. They have quarterback runs when they want to use them and he's very effective at it. He's got really, really good receivers starting with Mike Williams, who's got a whole bunch of receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving. They have really good balance on offense, their offensive line is good and defensively they're very talented upfront. Make a lot of sacks, hard to score on, one of the top defensive teams in the country and they're good on special teams. So, this is a team that doesn't have a lot of weaknesses so I think you have to be fundamental in your execution and not make mental errors that are going to give them opportunities because they will take advantage of it and that will really be important for us in this game."
Of course it did not take long for a reporter to ask him how preparations for the Tide offensive players are progressing with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, but Saban noted the transition from the departed Lane Kiffin to Sarkisian has been a positive one.
"(The switch to Sarkisian has gone) really well. It's been excellent," said Saban. "Very positive, very upbeat. Practice has been good, energy level is good. Attitude has been really, really good.
"I think (freshman Tide quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) was a little frustrated with the way he played in the last game and puts a lot of pressure on himself to prepare well, but I think it's our job as coaches to do a good job with him to help him prepare so that he feels comfortable and confident in going out there and being able to feel like he's practiced the things that we're going to ask him to do in the game, and he's done it enough that he's very confident and feels good about it. That's one of the things we're going to work hard on this week so that he goes into this game with a little better comfort zone."
By Stan J. Griffin: January 3, 2017
THE SCORE: Alabama 68, Mississippi State 58 as the Crimson Tide begins Southeastern Conference play in winning fashion with a big road win over the Bulldogs, the Tide's third win in its last four games and its fourth consecutive win in Starkville.
It was a cold start for Avery Johnson's Tide team as it hit only one of its first seven field goals as the Bulldogs led early 9-3. Sophomore Avery Johnson Jr., however, led the Tide on a 16-2 run after this which propelled Alabama to a 19-11 lead at the 9:49 mark.
That surge extended to 21-4 and a bucket by redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram put the Crimson Tide up 24-13 with 5:33 remaining in the first half. At halftime, UA was up 32-20 as Ben Howland's Bulldogs left the floor to a chorus of loud boos.
MSU opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to trim the UA lead to 32-28. With Alabama up 45-40 after a bucket by Corban Collins, the Bulldogs used a 7-2 spurt to tie the game at 42-42 with 11:18 left. The score was still deadlocked at 44-44 when Ingram and Johnson Jr. led a 7-0 Tide run that put Alabama up 51-44 at the 8:18 mark.
This was part of a 20-6 surge that saw Alabama extend its lead to 64-50 with just two minutes left.
The Bulldogs briefly cut the lead to six points late in the contest, but Alabama sealed the contest at the free throw line.
SITE: Humphrey Coliseum, Starkville, Miss.
RECORDS: Alabama 8-5 (1-0 SEC), Mississippi State 9-4 (0-1 SEC)
KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Ingram and Johnson Jr. led the Tide offensively with 13 points each, while junior Riley Norris tallied 11. Ingram also led Alabama with nine rebounds. Freshman Braxton Key and senior Jimmie Taylor added nine points each, and Key and Bola Olaniyan contributed six rebounds each.
By Stan J. Griffin: January 3, 2017
Perhaps it's best to simply turn my computer off when I am trying to peacefully and constructively watch an Alabama football game, especially when I am trying to piece together an accurate and objective account of the contest.
At times on Saturday during the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl battle between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington, it seemed an almost impossible task to keep my full concentration on the game due to the fact that my social media platforms were blowing up most of the contest with various Crimson Tide "fans" venting about former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
There was much bashing to be seen early and often regarding the offensive play calling against a good Huskie team coached by Chris Petersen, and some of those "easy chair coaches" at least attempted to be creative in their shots at Kiffin despite the fact that he has been an integral contributor to the success of Nick Saban's Tide team during the past three seasons.
I guess you have to admire the zeal and passion of these supporters even if they are sometimes a bit weak in terms of their objectivity, their rationality and their respect for the fact that there is an actual opponent on the other side.
Of course many of the Monday Morning Quarterbacks are feeling a bit justified now that Kiffin is no longer on the Tide staff to kick around, with Saban most likely largely responsible for that "mutual decision" for Kiffin to depart before the Tide's national championship rematch against No. 2 Clemson, the fact is that Petersen's team, and specifically its very sound and talented defense, was the largest contributor to the Tide's offensive struggles in its 24-7 playoff semifinal win.
I will totally admit that I underestimated the Huskies, especially its ability to stop the Alabama offense, as face it, we here in the South have the mindset that teams on the West Coast are all about finesse football not particularly physical and that good defensive football in that region is more of a myth than anything else.
The Huskies, however, proved that their defense, and particularly their stout defensive line, definitely does not belong in the "not-physical" category.
It had a solid game plan of stopping the Crimson Tide running game, whether it be the designed runs of Jalen Hurts, or the running back corps that includes Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Joshua Jacobs, while simply forcing Hurts to beat it through the air. It was a similar scheme to the one that Michigan State unsuccessfully attempted against the Tide in the Cotton Bowl last season.
And for the most part the Huskies executed that game plan beautifully other than a couple of superhuman efforts by Scarbrough, especially his 68-yard touchdown run where he appeared to be stopped initially for little gain, only to escape and of course go the distance against a defense that was likely gassed by that point from having to carry the Washington team.
We also saw what happened most of the time when Hurts dropped back to pass.
He was pretty much running for his life the entire game.
So, I am not a Kiffin apologist, or as a friend of mine called me, a Kiffin public relations person, but it not fair or accurate to base all of the Tide's woes against Washington on an "off night calling plays."
Kiffin admitted himself that he wondered himself if he was "always there" during the game, which is no doubt somewhat alarming to hear, but if that hurt Alabama at all during the game it was likely translated into an overall lack of energy by the Tide offense and some poor organization at times that led to sloppy delay of game penalties or what not.
I do not know Kiffin personally and so I have no cause to brand him as a liar like many national and local pundits are willing to do at the drop of a hat, but I for now will take him at face value when he said that due to the success that the Alabama defense was having during the game, it was decided that it would be better to take more of a conservative offensive approach and simply play to win without taking too many unnecessary risks.
I think most people who know the game of football would consider that a sound strategy, as the Tide, while still doing exactly what it required to beat UW, really did not need to show all that much with still another playoff game to be played.
By Stan J. Griffin: January 2, 2017
The No. 1 University of Alabama football team (14-0), which in one week will battle No. 2 Clemson for its second consecutive national championship, and fifth in eight years, will have a major bit of transition heading into the Jan. 9 college football title game against Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Tigers in Tampa, Fla.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban announced Monday that incoming offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian will assume his duties in advance of the clash with Clemson.
“We appreciate all that Lane has done for our football program over the last three years,” Saban said. “We sat down following the Washington game and talked about the time demands of managing both jobs, and we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.
“This wasn’t an easy decision and we appreciate the way Lane handled this in terms of doing what is best for our team. At the end of the day, both of us wanted to put our players in the best position to be successful. Obviously, we are in a unique situation here where we have our next offensive coordinator already on staff. We have full confidence that Sark will step in right away and make this a smooth transition.”
By Stan J. Griffin: January 1, 2017
THE SCORE: South Carolina women's basketball team 93, Alabama 45 as Kristy Curry's Crimson Tide team falls hard on the road in its Southeastern Conference opener to Dawn Staley's athletic, talented and experienced No. 6 Gamecocks.
South Carolina sent a message about its strength early as it tallied 12 of the first 14 points and jumped to a 27-9 lead after the first 10 minutes.
Despite only outscoring the Tide 14-13 in the second period, the home team still led comfortably 41-22 at the intermission. The Gamecocks scored 31 of the 42 points tallied in the third period and the score heading to the final period was 72-33. The Gamecocks coasted in the final 10 minutes, outscoring Alabama 21-12 for good measure.
SITE: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, S.C., Attendance: 12,069
RECORDS: Alabama 12-2 (0-1 SEC), South Carolina 11-1 (1-0 SEC)
KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Freshman Jordan Lewis led the Crimson Tide with 10 points, with NeNe Bolton adding nine and Meo Knight eight. Ashley Williams and Knight led the Tide with six boards each while Lewis led Alabama with four assists. Freshman Ashley Knight had two blocks while Meo Knight had two steals.
GOOD NUMBERS: Alabama converted nine of its 12 free throw attempts and the Tide forced 14 South Carolina turnovers
By Stan J. Griffin: January 1, 2017
Although it is still over a week until Nick Saban's No. 1 and 14-0 Alabama football team battles No. 2 Clemson for the national title in Tampa, in a rematch of last year's title game, the Crimson Tide has already scored a significant victory over Dabo Swinney's Tiger program off the field.
On Sunday the Tide's No. 1-ranked 2017 recruiting class gained the commitment of Roswell, Ga. four-star safety Xavier McKinney.
He selected Saban's program over Clemson.
He pledged to continue his academic pursuits and football career at Alabama during the Under Armour All-American contest. His commitment to the Tide is a bit of a shocker as many recruiting observers felt he was a lock to land with the Tigers.
His main recruiter from Saban's staff was assistant Derrick Ansley, and McKinney was also said to be considering Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeye program.
Big efforts by Scarbrough, Alabama defense lead No. 1 Crimson Tide back to national title game (FREE)01 Jan 2017
By Stan J. Griffin: December 31, 2016
Saturday's Chick Fil A Peach Bowl playoff semifinal contest between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington brought together two teams with fairly different offensive approaches as well as a pair of elite teams with smothering defensive units.
But on this day in Atlanta, it was all about the highly-touted Tide defense, Alabama's domination of the field position battle and the huge effort of sophomore tailback Bo Scarbrough as Nick Saban's Crimson Tide team snagged a 24-7 victory over Chris Petersen's stubborn Pac 12 champion Huskies before a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome.
With its 26th straight win overall dating back to the 2015 season, Alabama improved to 14-0, the third time the Tide has reached that victory total under Saban, while the Huskies saw their stellar season end at 12-2.
Most importantly, the win advanced the Crimson Tide to the Jan. 9 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Tampa, Fla. against Dabo Swinney's No. 2 Clemson Tigers, where it will have the opportunity to collect its second consecutive national title and its fifth in the last eight seasons.
The Tide and Tigers will meet for the second straight year in the title game, and the Tide knocked off Swinney's team 45-40 in 2015 to claim its 16th national title. Clemson defeated No. 3 Ohio State 31-0 Saturday in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
The smothering Crimson Tide defense, paced by Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster and others, held the Huskies to 194 total yards, including only 44 on the ground, while forcing three turnovers.
Scarbrough, meanwhile, tallied 180 yards on 19 carries to set a new UA bowl game rushing mark while scoring a pair of touchdowns. He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry on the way to his record-setting day.
"Washington had us a little off balance (in the first half) and we didn't do our responsibilities, but after we got in the flow of the game, I thought we played pretty well on defense," said Saban. "(Scarbrough) has really been playing well for us the past three or four games and we want to play him more and the guy is hard to tackle. He's big and powerful and playing with a lot of confidence right now. He did a great job for us today."
Both teams went three and out on their opening possessions, but on Washington's second series, the Huskies were able to march 64 yards in eight plays for the first points of the game, via a 16-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jake Browning to Dante Pettis that put Petersen's team up 7-0.
On Alabama's ensuing possession, however, the Tide struck for its first points, completing a 78-yard drive with an 18-yard run by Scarbrough. Scarbrough (with a tote for 12 yards earlier in the series) and freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts (with carries for 11 and five yards) had several key ground-gainers on the drive and Hurts also connected with senior tight end O.J. Howard on a 16-yard pass during the march.
Disaster struck the Huskies on their next possession as Allen recovered a Washington fumble forced by Anthony Averett, setting the Tide up near the Washington 40 near the end of the first period. On the first play of the second quarter Adam Griffith hit a 41-yard field goal to put Alabama up 10-7 as UA was able to capitalize on the UW miscue.
Although Scarbrough continued to run the ball well the rest of the half, finishing with 80 yards in the first 30 minutes, the Tide was unable to convert this success into points as the aggressive Washington defense was able to keep pressure on Hurts and stop Alabama on key third down plays.
But with just over a minute left, the Tide defense came up in huge fashion as Ryan Anderson picked off a Browning pass and returned it 26 yards for a score, making the score at the half 17-7. It was the 11th defensive touchdown for the Tide this season.
The Huskies actually outgained the Tide 145-138 in the first half, but Washington turnovers proved to be the crucial difference in the contest.
By Stan J. Griffin: December 30, 2016
Perhaps Alabama senior tight end O.J Howard, an individual who is as bright and thoughtful as he is talented, had the best quote of a week filled with media obligations for the No. 1 Crimson Tide and No. 4 Washington Huskies leading up to Saturday's Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Responding to a question about Chris Petersen's 12-1 Pac 12 champion team, Howard said, "they're not here because they got picked out of a hat."
His message was certainly clear that the Huskies did not exactly back their way into the College Football Playoffs, but you would never know that by the fair amount of disrespect that has basically been shown by Tide fans and local and national media alike relative to Washington's chances of pulling off an upset against Nick Saban's 13-0 Crimson Tide squad at the Georgia Dome.
I will be the first to admit that I felt that Penn State was perhaps more deserving of a playoff bid than the Huskies, simply because I felt the Nittany Lions were champions of a better conference and played a much better overall slate of games, but that does not change the fact that Washington will be the most complete team that Alabama has played this season.
Washington is loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball and the Huskies are also sound special teams-wise, and it really is a tribute to the coaching prowess of Petersen that he has so quickly elevated this program to this level after so many successful years at Boise State.
The oddmakers quickly dismissed the Huskies' chances, however, branding them as two-touchdown underdogs, and everyone else is seemingly busy crowning the 2016 Alabama team as the best Crimson Tide ever, or at least the best one in the Saban era
I would advise everyone to hold their roll on that one.
By Stan J. Griffin: December 29, 2016
THE SCORE: Alabama 83, Stetson 60, as the Crimson Tide finishes up the non-conference season in a big way Thursday night as it wins its second consecutive game by double digits. Early play was back and forth and the Tide found itself leading only by around one or two points despite good play by freshman guard Dazon Ingram and freshman forward Braxton Key.
With Alabama up a bit more comfortably at 29-15, the Hatters used a 12-2 run to trim the Tide lead to 31-27 with just under two minutes left in the first half. Struggling junior forward Riley Norris, though, hit his first 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 34-27, and that trey propelled a 20-3 Tide surge that carried into the start of the second half and put UA up 51-30 at the 16:19 mark. That run was capped by a traditional three-point play by Ingram.
The Crimson Tide after this led by as many as 25 points after this before settling for the final 23-point margin, and Alabama's final points of the night came on a long trey by fan favorite and sophomore guard Lawson Schaffer with 59 seconds to go.
SITE: Coleman Coliseum, Attendance: 11,128
RECORDS: Alabama 7-5, Stetson 6-9
KEY STARS FOR THE TIDE: Norris led a balanced Alabama attack with 18 points including three 3-pointers, while Ingram added 16 (along with 10 rebounds) and Key and Avery Johnson Jr. 10 points each. Johnson Jr. led the Tide with six assists while Key and Ingram had four each. Bola Olaniyan led Alabama with 13 rebounds and Jimmie Taylor and Donta Hall had three and two blocks respectively.
GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide outrebounded the Hatters 53-27 and outscored the visitors in the paint 46-24. Alabama held Stetson to just over 36 percent shooting and forced 16 Hatter turnovers. Alabama outscored Stetson 17-10 off turnovers, 13-9 in second chance points, 12-2 in fast break points and 21-15 in points off the bench. The Tide had 18 assists to only eight for the visitors. Alabama had 10 players get into the scoring column on Thursday.
NOT SO GOOD NUMBERS: The Crimson Tide hit only nine of its 15 free throw attempts and had 17 turnovers. The Tide only hit eight of its 24 attempts from beyond the arc.
By Stan J. Griffin: December 29, 2016
There has been much discussion, or as University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban would tend to classify it, "outside noise," regarding the legacy of the 2016 Crimson Tide squad, a No. 1-ranked powerhouse that has already rolled to a 13-0 mark, a third consecutive Southeastern Conference title and a third straight trip to the College Football Playoffs.
Some observers are wondering aloud whether this may be the best Alabama team ever, or at least the mightiest one that Saban has coached in Tuscaloosa, as UA seeks to become the first major college team ever to finish with a perfect 15-0 mark.
At the very least, many media types are suggesting that Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama defense may be the Crimson Tide's finest ever stop unit.
All of that hype and hoopla makes for fine water cooler discussion and round table debate, but there is just one small problem with all of this clutter.
The story of this Alabama team is still yet to be completed, and an upcoming one or two-game run in the playoffs will determine if this team may go down as the greatest piece in Saban's Crimson Tide dynasty, or if it will be remembered as a very good team that simply could not finish the job.
In two days we will find out if the Tide can reach the 14-victory plateau for the third time under Saban, but it will not be an easy task as Alabama will face Chris Petersen's No. 4 Washington Huskies in the New Year's Eve Chick Fil A Peach Bowl in one of the playoff semifinals.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in the Georgia Dome, and the game will be televised by ESPN.
Before the Tide left Tuscaloosa for its Christmas break, Saban noted that Petersen's Pac 12 champions (12-1) are extremely well-coached, as well as being very solid in all facets of the game.
"Every time I stand up here, I try to convince everybody what a great team Washington has, and they are a very, very good football team on both sides of the ball and special teams," he said. "They're very well-coached and they've got good schemes, they've got good players, so this is going to be a real tough game for us. This is by far the best team we've played against all year long."
He also has high praise for sophomore Washington quarterback Jake Browning.