Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Back to the start: Alabama goes to championship

“Every game we played all year, it’s the same question,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So I’ve got the same answer: It’s the most important game because it’s the next game.”

Saturday is the next game and the most important. It’s also the first time in two years Alabama has the chance to play for the 
SEC title.

Alabama has still played in the Georgia Dome three times in the last two years. Alabama opened each of its last two regular seasons in the Georgia Dome.

There’s a certain level of comfort returning to Atlanta.

“Whenever you’re able to play in the same stadium or arena or dome more than once, it definitely helps you,” senior safety Nick 
Perry said.

The return to Atlanta wasn’t always certain. Even with junior wide receiver Amari Cooper leading the team and the conference with 1,573 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns on 103 catches and junior running back T.J. Yeldon putting up a team-leading 885 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns, the future wasn’t clear.

The loss to Ole Miss, now in the distant October past, appeared to doom the team, but the Crimson Tide crawled back into contention with close wins and 
decisive drives.

“You know, we’ve been in plenty of games since then where we’ve faced a lot of adversity – you know, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn – and we’re able to overcome it so this team, we’re together, and we feel like we can accomplish anything,” 
Perry said.

The team muddled through an Arkansas game that was eventually decided by junior safety Landon Collins’ late-game interception. The team blew past Texas A&M in its only October home game but relied on a two-minute drill in the last seconds against LSU to go to overtime 
and win.

Alabama has come from behind to win three times in SEC play to play itself into a position to win the 
conference title.

“The big thing that we’re trying to get our players to realize that the past is the past, they’ve created a great opportunity for themselves, they’ve got to look forward to a new energy and new enthusiasm, for the opportunity that they’ve created for themselves,” 
Saban said.

That opportunity is a conference championship game. Alabama has only gone to play in it once since 2009. In 2012, the Crimson Tide beat 
Georgia 32-28.

For the players, it’s special.

“I think what’s special about this one is you get a chance to run for a ring, a SEC Championship ring, and be named conference champion,” Collins said. “It’s going to be one of the best games you play in.”

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