TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team practiced for two hours in shells (shorts, shoulder pads and helmets) Tuesday afternoon at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility. It was the Crimson Tide's final practice in preparation for Thursday night's game against Georgia State.
The Crimson Tide will face a Georgia State team that has put together an impressive 6-4 mark in their first-year under head coach Bill Curry.
"We know that every game we play is important," sophomore defensive back Robert Lester said. "Every player in college is an athlete and can make plays. We can't look ahead to Auburn and look past Georgia State, because they could sneak up and beat us."
The Tide will hold a walk-through Wednesday afternoon. Alabama and Georgia State are slated for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Thursday. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews on the call from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama continues a season-ending three-game home stand this Thursday evening against Georgia State after beating No. 17 Mississippi State just five days earlier. The 10th-ranked Crimson Tide, who have won 19 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, host the Panthers for a 6:33 p.m. game on ESPNU in the Tide's final non-conference game of the season. Georgia State had a bye last week after beating Lamar, 23-17, on November 6. Chris Fowler will handle the play-by-play on ESPNU with Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard providing color analysis and Erin Andrews reporting from the sidelines. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Barry Krauss on the sidelines.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his fourth season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 36-10 record (41-10 including five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and one national championship. Saban holds a career record of 127-52-1 (132-52-1) as a collegiate head coach, while also serving at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU. Saban won his first national championship as head coach of the LSU Tigers in 2003, guiding the Tigers to a 13-1 record that season. Overall, Saban has coached four conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC, 2003 SEC and 2009 SEC) and 10 of his 13 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban's direction. Saban is also one of two coaches (Urban Meyer, Florida) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.
Alabama checks in at No. 10 in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 12 in the USA Today Coaches' poll.
Alabama and Georgia State are meeting for the first time Thursday evening in Tuscaloosa. It is the first year of football for the Panthers, who are coached by former Tide boss Bill Curry. Curry coached the Crimson Tide from 1987-89, posting a 26-10 record and winning the 1989 SEC Championship. He also faced the Tide as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats from 1990-96.
Alabama closes the regular season with the annual Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn on Friday, November 26, at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 1:30 p.m. CT on CBS. It will be the 75th meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers. Alabama holds a 40-33-1 lead in a series that dates back to February 22, 1893 (1892 season), when the two teams met at Birmingham's Lakeview Park with the Tigers claiming 32-22 victory. The Crimson Tide captured a come-from-behind 26-21 victory last season at Jordan-Hare Stadium and a 36-0 win in the Tigers' last visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2008. Auburn will be making its eighth visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium with the Tigers owning a 6-1 edge in the series in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama's success on the field over the past two seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has coincided with the Crimson Tide's success in the classroom. After playing the 2010 BCS National Championship Game with 21 players that already had their degrees, the 2010 Crimson Tide began the 2010 season with four players that already have degrees in hand, including Earl Alexander (financial planning), Greg McElroy (business marketing), Brian Motley (general studies) and David Ross (consumer affairs). Over the past three seasons (2008-10) the Crimson Tide has seen 31 players compete for the Crimson Tide after having already graduated.
The latest expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium raised seating capacity to 101,821, making it one of the five largest on-campus football stadiums in the nation. The expansion is the fourth expansion of the stadium since 1988 and the seventh expansion in the stadium's history. It consists of roughly 9,600 additional seats, 1,700 South Zone Club seats, two corner video boards, an upper concourse with concessions and restrooms, 36 skyboxes, the Crimson Tide Foundation offices, a Donor Hall of Recognition and an outdoor market featuring Zoe's Kitchen, Yogurt Lab and a new university admissions office welcome center. UA's first four home game crowds of 101,821 not only set a school record, but also set a new record for the most spectators to watch a football game in the state of Alabama.
Alabama has won 19 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium dating back to the home opener against Tulane in 2008. It is the third-longest streak in school history at Bryant-Denny Stadium and is just one game shy of the second-place mark of 20 set from Nov. 1, 1941, to Nov. 11, 1950. The longest winning streak at Bryant-Denny Stadium is 57 games from Oct. 26, 1963, to Nov. 13, 1982. During the current streak, the Crimson Tide is 11-0 against SEC competition and 5-0 against top 25 teams.
Longest Winning Streaks at BDS
57 Oct. 26, 1963 - Nov. 13, 1982
20 Nov. 1, 1941 - Nov. 11, 1950
19 Sept. 6, 2008 - Present
18 Sept. 28, 1929 - Sept. 28, 1935
16 Nov. 23, 1957 - Oct. 12, 1963
16 Nov. 9, 1935 - Oct. 12, 1940