No. 2 Alabama to face No. 8 Michigan on Saturday | College football
Second-ranked Alabama, the defending national champion, and No. 8 Michigan are gearing up for their opener Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Powerhouse programs Alabama and Michigan have combined for 1,709 victories and 25 national titles but seldom tangle on the field.
When they do, it is usually at some big bowl game — not starting the season Sept. 1.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 8 Michigan are gearing up for their opener Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium with an Arlington, Texas, address that fits the iconic history of these programs: One Legends Way.
Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood knows it well. He has a picture of the stadium on his cellphone.
"I've been looking at that stadium for, like, months now," he said Monday.
That both teams open the season in the Top 10 is a bonus in this rare meeting of storied programs.
Michigan of the Big Ten and Alabama of the Southeastern Conference have met three times, all in January bowl games and with two won by the Wolverines. Total points: Michigan 77, Alabama 75, with the last meeting being the Wolverines' 35-34 overtime victory in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Tradition aside, the Tide is trying to show it is a legitimate contender for a second straight national title and third in four years.
Michigan is aiming to build on an 11-victory season and BCS bowl triumph over Virginia Tech but not — coach Brady Hoke wants to make this clear — to re-establish that powerhouse reputation for a program three years removed from losing a school-record nine games. That never went away, Hoke said.
"I don't buy into that and never have," he said. "But I do think it's a great marker for where we're at as a program and what we can be. I think every first game every year, though, you learn a lot about yourselves, because every team is different.
"I went back and thought about last year at this time. I didn't know if we were going to win two games, let alone 11, because you don't know until you get in the real deal as far as playing games. Honestly, we'll find out. We'll find out about ourselves."
There is no grace period for Alabama or Michigan to ease into the season or for new starters and key backups to get acclimated to new roles. The Tide has gotten used to it, with early nonconference games against Penn State the past two years and previous openers against Virginia Tech and Clemson. Alabama is 4-0 in those games.
• Missouri tailback Henry Josey will not play this season after injuring his left knee in November against Texas.
Tigers coach Gary Pinkel, a former Washington Huskies offensive coordinator, said Josey is expected to make a full recovery.
Josey, who led Missouri with 1,168 yards rushing in 10 games last season, had surgery shortly after the injury and another operation in the spring.
• Child-pornography charges against the coach at Minnesota State, Mankato, are groundless and images on his cellphone are innocent family memories, his wife insists. Todd Hoffner, 46, of Eagle Lake, Minn., was charged last week with two felony counts related to child pornography after authorities said they found nude images of his children.
"The charges against my husband are ridiculous and baseless," Melodee Hoffner said. "My family does what every family does — we take videos and pictures of our kids in all their craziness. My husband would not ever abuse our children or any other children."
The complaint against Hoffner said he brought his university-issued cellphone to school officials because it wasn't working. A technician saw the videos in question and authorities were contacted.