Top-ranked Alabama faces easier October schedule
The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s reward for beating two ranked SEC West teams in September is an October lineup that seems to set a clear path to a showdown with No. 10 LSU.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide will almost certainly be double-digit favorites for every game before the next really big one, starting with eight-touchdown underdog and winless Georgia State on Saturday.
Still, Alabama coach Nick Saban insists there’s no sure thing in college football. His message: “We respect every opponent that we play, regardless of their record.”
“You see these games where Akron almost beat Michigan or whatever it is,” Saban said. “There’s nothing to be taken for granted in any team you play.
“I think the best way to do that is focus on who you are, what you’re doing, how you want to improve and how you want to play to be the best player you can be. That’s certainly going to be our focus for this week.”
The Tide (4-0) had an up-and-down September but emerged unscathed despite barely escaping No. 9 Texas A&M with a win and sputtering against Colorado State, the only huge underdog on the month’s agenda. Every other Western Division team already has a defeat, and only Missouri — which hasn’t played a Southeastern Conference game yet — is perfect in the East.
Alabama responded to the Colorado State performance with a 25-0 win over No. 24 Mississippi, the only ranked opponent remaining before the Nov. 9 game with LSU. Nobody else on the schedule is currently in the Top 25 besides LSU, and the four October opponents — Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee — have a combined record of 7-11.
The schedule seems to line up nicely for Alabama, barring a sizable upset along the way.
All four of those teams are led by first-year head coaches.
Alabama won’t play any of the three ranked East Division teams — No. 6 Georgia, No. 13 South Carolina and No. 18 Florida — unless they meet in the SEC championship game.
Meanwhile, Saban says any concerns about the role of staffer Tyler Siskey during the Mississippi game is much ado about nothing.
Television cameras showed Siskey in the coaches box watching through binoculars. That prompted some Rebels fans to complain on message boards and social media that he was spying.
Siskey is the associate director for player personnel and worked under coach Hugh Freeze at Mississippi last season and before that at Arkansas State.
“He didn’t really assist in the game plan, and he wasn’t on a headset,” Saban said Monday. “He didn’t talk to anybody during the game. I don’t know if there’s any rule that says he can’t go into the press box and watch the games. And he wasn’t in any different position than he’s ever been in a game.”