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

Tide still holds high hopes

Alabama’s chance at another national title has been a continuous topic of conversation since its loss to South Carolina three weeks ago.

The Crimson Tide is currently ranked No. 6 in the BCS standings with just Utah, Boise State, TCU, Auburn and Oregon above them.

“This team has a great opportunity in the last one-third of the season, starting with the game we have right now with LSU,” said head coach Nick Saban. “What we control is how we play the teams we play. We’re going to play some of the best teams, and we need to be playing our best football of the year if we’re going to be able to accomplish what we have an opportunity to accomplish.”

Alabama remains the highest-ranked one-loss team in the country. Missouri and Michigan State’s losses this weekend gave Alabama another chance to move up in the BCS standings.

“I can assure you I was rooting for Nebraska and Iowa on Saturday, that’s for sure,” senior quarterback Greg McElroy said. “It was great for us. We understand that it all starts with our game against LSU. In order to get where we need to go, we need to take care of business here on out.”

The Alabama players’ message to the media was consistent. They each reiterated that the future success of their season was in their own hands.

“We control our own destiny,” said junior running back Mark Ingram. “I feel like if we just keep doing what we do and we just keep winning games then everything will take care of itself. I just tried to enjoy the off weekend and relax and get ready for the second half [of the season].”

The added pressure of a must-win LSU game brings more importance to the SEC game.

“This game has some significance,” junior defensive back Phelon Jones said. “We have to win this game in order to achieve our goals of going to the national championship.”

LSU’s atmosphere

Relaxing before a game with an atmosphere as chaotic as Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., is not easy. LSU is known as one of the toughest places to play away games because of its passionate fans.

“The crowd really gets into the game, so it’s a loud stadium,” said junior wide receiver Julio Jones. “As players, we can’t allow the crowd to get into the game and mess us up. It’s just wild there. I like playing there and just being a competitor. It is always an intense game.”

While the LSU fans might be known around the conference as some of the craziest fans, the Alabama players realize that is part of the challenge in playing in the SEC.

“It is a loud and crazy environment,” said junior defensive lineman Josh Chapman. “But it is still about what happens on the field. Playing against LSU is always a tough battle. It is about who can hit the other in the mouth first. We have to come out early and hit them in the mouth fast.”

Alabama’s one loss of the season came against another SEC opponent, South Carolina. And the Tide also struggled early on in the Arkansas game in Fayetteville. Alabama did blow out Tennessee two weeks ago, but LSU looks to be a much bigger challenge.

“I think that you need to have some calm in the midst of chaos sometimes when you play on the road because there are a lot of other distractions,” Saban said. “We handled it a little bit better at Tennessee. There are a lot of difficult places to play in this league, and it takes a lot of maturity to be able to stay focused. Hopefully our team will continue to mature and be able to play better and better as we play on the road. I think it’s going to be critical in this game for sure.”

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