Alabama Hosts Western Kentucky
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (2-0) vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY HILLTOPPERS (1-1)
TODAY’S GAME: The University of Alabama football team hosts the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky in the third game of the 2008 season on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m. (CDT) inside Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,138). The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis with Chris Stewart, Tyler Watts and Barry Krauss handling the broadcast for the Crimson Tide Sports Network. Western Kentucky enters the game with a 1-1 record after a 37-13 win on the road over Eastern Kentucky last Saturday. The Hilltoppers opened the season at Indiana, dropping a 31-13 decision.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his second season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 100-47-1 (.679) record as a collegiate head coach, including an 9-6 (.600) mark at Alabama and a 2-0 record in 2008. He captured his 100th career victory last week against Tulane and is just two games shy of his 150th game as a collegiate head coach. Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games. Saban is one of just two Football Bowl Subdivision coaches that have been head coaches for at least 10 years and have never suffered a losing season. For more information on Coach Saban, please see pages 3-4 of this notes package.
RANKINGS: Alabama is ranked 11th in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches poll. The Crimson Tide began the 2008 season ranked 24th in the AP preseason season poll and after a 34-10 win over then-No. 9 Clemson in the opener. The Tide was ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001, when UA opened the season 25th in the rankings. Alabama was just outside the top 25 in the USA Today Coaches’ preseason poll to open the season.
WESTERN KENTUCKY SERIES: Saturday will be the first meeting between Alabama and Sun Belt Conference member Western Kentucky. The Crimson Tide owns a 15-1 record against members of the Sun Belt Conference. Western Kentucky is the first of two games against Sun Belt opponents for Alabama this season. Arkansas State visits Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 1.
SABAN GETS 100TH WIN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban captured his 100th collegiate coaching victory on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Tulane. Saban boasts a 100-48-1 (.679) record in his 13th season as a collegiate head coach. His first win came at Toledo on Sept. 8, 1990, in a 20-14 win over Miami (Ohio). He will coach his 150th collegiate game on Saturday against Western Kentucky.
FIRST-TIME PLAYERS: Alabama has played 12 true freshmen and seen 15 different newcomers contributing early in the 2008 campaign. The Crimson Tide had 12 players make their Alabama debuts against Clemson: true freshman Julio Jones (WR), true freshman Mark Ingram (RB), true freshman B.J. Scott (WR), redshirt freshman Marquis Maze (WR), true freshman Chris Jackson (WR), true freshman Dont’a Hightower (LB), true freshman Chris Jordan (LB), junior transfer Terrence Cody (DT), true freshman Mark Barron (DB), redshirt freshman Chris Underwood (TE), true freshman Marcel Dareus (DL) and true freshman Robby Green (DB). Three more true freshmen made their debut in the home opener against Tulane with linebackers Jerrell Harris and Courtney Upshaw along with place-kicker Corey Smith.
NEXT GAME: Alabama opens the 2008 Southeastern Conference schedule at Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. The Crimson Tide own a 10-8 edge in the series with the Razorbacks after a thrilling 41-38 victory last season in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson found Matt Caddell for a four-yard touchdown pass with just eight seconds left to secure the victory.