Alabama football: Tide hopes to be back at full strength before Sugar Bowl –

Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer JammerSEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every sport on campus.

Healthy again?

Its no secret that Alabama has struggled to keep players healthy this season. The Crimson Tide not only had four linebackers miss significant time with injuries, but multiple other players have been banged up. Recently, it was announced that safety Hootie Jones will miss the Clemson game with a knee injury. Also, defensive end LaBryan Ray is still recovering from a broken bone in his foot. Alabama coach Nick Saban said that he may be able to return to the team after the holidays and begin preparing for the semifinal. Even though Alabama is more healthy than it was to end the regular season, the question still remains if the Crimson Tide will be back at full strength in time for the Sugar Bowl.

In other headlines …

  • ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit called a fan a bozo in defense of Alabama being in the College Football Playoff.
  • ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas ranked Alabama basketball as the 46th-best team in the country. The SEC had 11 teams on his list.
  • Alabama placed 10 players on the coaches’ All-SEC teams. The Crimson Tide had 5 first-team selections and 5 second-team selections.

Playoff expansion

Alabama’s selection to the CFP has caused a lot of arguing among fans and media pundits. Some are calling the committee inconsistent and saying the decision devalues conference championships. Every year, the playoff comes down to a hard decision between multiple teams to be included in the four-team field. Because of this, there has been a lot of discussion in the media and among fans of possibly expanding the playoff four teams. Although that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, a bigger field would actually make things easier for Alabama, according to our own Christopher Walsh.

Stern warning

Saban’s arrival at Alabama in 2007 definitely sent shock waves through college football. He was already an established coach who had previously won a national championship. When he was hired, Alabama was in the middle of a long losing streak to in-state rival Auburn. Saban becoming the coach changed that. Upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said he gave his staff a warning about Saban. He said he needed his staff to step up its game because Saban was going to bring it all in recruiting.

Around the Capstone

Alabama basketball had a players-only meeting following the close loss to Central Florida. On Wednesday, the Crimson Tide plays host to Rhode Island, which is No. 7 in the country in ESPN’S RPI rankings.

Miss a previous edition? Find every installment of SEC Country’s daily Alabama newsletter right here.

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