Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Football Game Notes: Oklahoma


Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Tyler Watts
Tyler Watts

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Alabama and Oklahoma will meet on the gridiron Saturday afternoon marking only the third meeting between the two storied football programs and the first in a regular season game.  Kickoff will be 2:32 p.m.  in a game televised nationally by ABC-TV.  Brent Musburger (play-by-play),  Gary Danielson (color) and Jack Arute (sidelines) will describe the action to a national audience.  Both teams are 1-0 on the young season, Alabama following a 39-34 win over Middle Tennessee last weekend and Oklahoma after a 37-0 win over Tulsa.   Alabama leads the series, 1-0-1.  The game will also be aired on the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play) and Kenny Stabler (color analyst) describing the action.  Tom Roberts will once again work the sidelines for the network broadcasts.


The University of Alabama is in its 108th football season and has compiled a  745-281-43 (717) all-time record in 1,069 games. The Crimson Tide played its first football game on Nov. 11, 1892 with a 56-0 win over Birmingham High School in Birmingham. Alabama and Penn State are tied for fifth place on the all-time victory list for Division I leaders. The Crimson Tide football legacy includes 12 national championships and 21 Southeastern Conference championships.  Alabama has also logged 26,  10-win seasons, the most by any Division I school. The Crimson Tide also ranks among the best in post-season play, holding the NCAA record for most bowl appearances (51) and bowl victories (29).


Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is in  his second season with the Crimson Tide.  In his first season, Coach Fran led Alabama to a 7-5 record, including a win over Iowa State in the Mainstay Independence Bowl.  He is 8-5 in tenure with the Crimson Tide.  Overall, Franchione is in his 20th season as a head coach and has compiled a 146-70-2 (.673) lifetime ledger at Southwestern (Kansas) College, Pittsburg State, Southwest Texas State, New Mexico, TCU and Alabama. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has compiled a 32-7 (.816) record during his three-plus-year tenure with the Sooners, his first stint as a head coach.  Prior to his arrival at Oklahoma, Stoops was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Florida from 1996-98.


This will be only the third game between Alabama and Oklahoma and the first regular season game.  The previous two meetings were in bowl games.  Oklahoma returns the game to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 6, 2003.  Alabama and Oklahoma first met in 1963 Orange Bowl when the Tide was 5th ranked and Oklahoma 8th.  Behind quarterback Joe Namath and linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama won 17-0.  Namath rushed for 24 yards and hit 9-of-17 passing for another 86 yards and one TD, while Jordan had a bowl record 31 tackles.  The 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl ended in a 24-24 tie.  Alabama was not ranked and the Sooners were No. 20 in the AP poll.  Oklahoma's Bruce Derr kicked a 42-yard field goal with just 59 seconds in the game to tie the score.  It was an offensive display from both teams with the Tide getting 428 yards and the Sooners, 415.  Bama's Johnny Musso had 138 yards and quarterback Scott Hunter hit 13 of 26 passes for 174 yards and one TD.


Game captains for the Oklahoma game are Tyler Watts (quarterback) and Sam Collins (flanker) on offense and Jarret Johnson (defensive tackle) and Waine Bacon (strong safety) on defense.


*Alabama and Oklahoma will meet for the first time in a regular-season game this Saturday at Norman's Memorial Stadium.  The two previous meetings came in post-season bowl games, including the 1963 Orange Bowl and 1970 Astro Bluebonnet Bowl.

*Alabama (12) and Oklahoma (7) have combined to win 19 college football national championships.

*The Sooners (7) and Crimson Tide (6) have combined to win 13 Associated Press National Championships.  UA won AP titles in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1978, 1979 and 1992.  The AP crowned the Sooners as national champions in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985 and 2000.

*Since 1936, only six schools have won back-to-back AP national championships.  Alabama and Oklahoma have won back-to-back national titles twice.  The Crimson Tide posted back-to-back championships in 1964-65 and 1978-79.  Oklahoma won back-to-back national titles in 1955-56 and 1974-75.

Back-to-Back AP National Champions

Alabama         1964-65
Oklahoma        1955-56
Nebraska        1970-71
Minnesota       1940-41
Army            1944-45
Notre Dame      1946-47

*Entering the 2002 season, Alabama had posted the third-highest winning percentage in college football history with a .71676 winning mark.  Oklahoma ranked sixth all-time with a .70507 winning mark.

*In terms of all-time wins, Alabama and Penn State are tied for fifth with 745 career wins, while Oklahoma is ninth with 712 wins.

*Oklahoma and Alabama have the top five winning percentages during a 10-year span in college football history, dating back to the 1945 season.

1.  Oklahoma    .92453   1948-1957
2.  Oklahoma    .92453   1949-1958
3.  Oklahoma    .90952   1947-1956
4.  Oklahoma    .89524   1950-1959
5.  Alabama     .89167   1971-1980
6.  Florida St. .89113   1991-2000


*Alabama coach Dennis Franchione has never faced Oklahoma or Coach Bob Stoops in his 20-year coaching career.

*Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has never faced Alabama or Coach Dennis Franchione in his four-year head coaching career.  As an assistant coach, Stoops squared off twice against Alabama while serving as Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.  In 1996, Florida beat Alabama 45-30 in the SEC Championship game en route to the national title.  In 1998, Florida beat Alabama 16-10 in a regular-season meeting at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*Both Franchione and Stoops have had previous coaching stints at Kansas State.  Franchione was an assistant coach with the K-State Wildcats from 1978-80, while Stoops worked in Manhattan, Kan., from 1989-95, serving as defensive backs coach (1989-90) and co-defensive coordinator (1991-95).

*Alabama redshirt freshman rover Mark Anderson is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla.  As a prep senior (2000), he had 104 tackles and nine sacks leading Washington HS to an 11-2 record.

*Alabama assistant head coach and receivers coach Kenith Pope is a 1976 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and former Sooner football letterman.  Pope played for Coach Barry Switzer from 1971-73, leading OU to a 29-5-1 record and one Big Eight title.  Following a 17-14 win over Nebraska in his junior season (1972), Pope was earned National Defensive Back of the Week honors.  His senior season, OU went 10-0-1 and captured the Big Eight championship.  Pope also played in the Blue-Grey Classic in Montgomery, Ala., and the American Bowl.  As a sophomore (1971), Pope was a part of "The Game" as Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31 in a game that featured the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation.

*Pope has also served as an assistant coach at both Oklahoma (Defensive Ends, 1995-97) and Oklahoma State (Defensive Ends, 1987-90) in his 21-year coaching career.

*Alabama cornerbacks coach Chris Thurmond, is an Oklahoma native and graduate of Tulsa University (Education, 1975).   In his 28-year coaching career, Thurmond has spent 20 years coaching in the state of Oklahoma.  He was the Sooners secondary coach in 1996-97 under Coach John Blake.  Thurmond has also had coaching stints at McAlester High School (1975-76), Page High School (1977-79, 1981-82 Head Coach), Claremore High School (1980), Tulsa (Secondary Coach, 1983-91; Linebackers, 1994) and OU (1996-97).  During his stint at Tulsa, Thurmond worked under head coach Dave Rader, a former Alabama assistant coach under Ray Perkins (1983-86).

*Alabama's Director of Football Operations Charley North has spent 30 of his 35 years in the coaching profession in the state of Oklahoma, including a 16-year stint with the Sooners (1979-94).  During his stay with Oklahoma, the Sooners played in 12 bowl games, including six Orange Bowls.  During his tenure at Oklahoma, the Sooners posted a 139-46-4 (.783) record and  won the 1985 National Championship.  OU won 10 or more games five times in North's tenure.  He coached for Barry Switzer (1979-88) and Gary Gibbs (1989-94) before moving to Arkansas.

*North was a football and baseball standout at Waggoner High School and then was twice selected all-conference as center at Panhandle State where he plated collegiately from 1964-66.  He also coached in the high school ranks at Waggoner (1967-68), McAlester (1969-71; 1976-78 Head Coach) and Tecumseh (Head Coach, 1972-75). 

*Three members of the current OU coaching staff (Cale Gundy, Jackie Shipp and Merv Johnson) were players or assistant coaches while North was working at Oklahoma from 1979-94. 

*Current OU quarterbacks coach Cale Gundy was the Sooners quarterback from 1991-94. 

*OU defensive line coach Jackie Shipp starred from 1980-83 and was a first-round draft pick with the Miami Dolphins.  Shipp is OU's second all-time leading tackler (477) and was a member of the Sooners 1980 Big Eight Championship team.  The Sooners were 33-14-1 during his playing career. 

*Shipp also served one year as defensive line coach at Alabama during the 1998 season under former head coach Mike DuBose.

*Merv Johnson, OU's current Director of Football Operations, was an assistant coach at OU with North (1978-94).  Johnson served as an OU assistant from 1978-97 before taking over his current role in 1998.

*Alabama's Shaud Williams is the only member of the Crimson Tide football team ever to see action against the Oklahoma Sooners and played at OU's Memorial Stadium.  As a sophomore (2000) at Texas Tech, Williams ran three times for eight yards and caught nine passes for 59 yards in a 27-13 loss to Sooners on Nov. 18, 2000.  OU finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record and defeated Florida State 13-2 at the Orange Bowl for the national championship.  As a freshman (1999), Williams did not see action against the Sooners in a 38-28 Red Raiders win in Lubbock.


Here is a recap of the two meetings between college football powers Alabama and Oklahoma.

Jan. 1, 1963 - Orange Bowl

MIAMI -- In the Alabama dressing room after the Crimson Tide's 17-0 Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma, a photographer asked Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant to spell the name of a player whose picture he had just taken.

"That's Namath, so - N-A-M-A-T-H," Bryant said.  "But don't worry about it.  You'll learn how to spell it in the next couple of years."

If the cameraman was unfamiliar with the name, the crowd of 73,380 attending the 1963 Orange Bowl and millions more watching the game on television were not.

Long before that game, Bryant said the precocious young man from Pennsylvania was ahead of Babe Parilli (whom he coached at Kentucky) as a sophomore.  He rated Namath "potentially the finest quarterback I've ever coached."

Namath piloted his team 61 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown in the first quarter.  From the Oklahoma 25, he faked a handoff and a short pass, whirled, and sailed a long pass into end Richard Williamson's hands in the end zone.

A slight of hand pitchout to halfback Cotton Clark resulted in a 15-yard scoring sprint in the second quarter.  It was the third play after Billy Piper returned a punt by Joe Don Looney to the Sooners' 34-yard line.  First, Namath threw a pass to Williamson good for 20 yards.  Clark's touchdown run was his 16th of the season.

Next, and finally, Namath conducted a Tide surge from Oklahoma's 33 to the two-yard line.  There, it was fourth down.  Tim Davis, Bama's placekicking specialist, booted a 19-yard field goal.  This third quarter scoring opportunity arose when Looney, the nation's leading punter with a 43.4 yard average, was hurried by guard Frankie McClendon's rush and got off a kick of only seven yards.

The greatest performance of tackling and blocking came from linebacker Lee Roy Jordan.  He was as fine a linebacker as ever played in the South.  Perhaps nobody else in college football in 1962 had his almost instinctive ability to seek out the ball carrier so quickly and bring him down so abruptly.  It is doubtful if Bryant ever praised a player quite as much. 

Jordan finished the game with an Alabama bowl record 31 tackles, prompting Bryant to quip "if they stay in bounds, Lee Roy will get them."

The Alabama senior class finished with a then school-best 29-2-2 three-year record.  Only a matter of a few inches, the distance by which Jack Hurlbut failed to make a two-point conversion after the only touchdown against Georgia Tech (Tech won 7-6), apparently separated Alabama from its second consecutive national championship.

UA      7   7   3   0   17
OU      0   0   0   0    0

UA - Joe Namath 25-yard pass to Richard Williamson (Tim Davis PAT)
UA - Cotton Clark 15-yard run (Davis PAT)
UA - Davis 19-yard FG

NOTES:  OU Coach Bud Wilkinson's last bowl game with the Sooners...President John F. Kennedy attended the game and visited both lockerrooms...Kennedy was later given an honorary A-Club letter by Coach Bryant...Lee Roy Jordan was named the game's MVP...In addition to the 17-0 win over OU in the 1963 Orange Bowl, Bryant also led Kentucky to a 17-0 win over the Sooners in the 1951 Sugar Bowl..Bryant's win with UK in the `51 Sugar Bowl snapped OU's 31-game winning streak.

Dec. 31, 1970 - Astro Bluebonnet Bowl

HOUSTON -- Two offensive-minded football teams battled to a 24-24 deadlock in Houston's famed Astrodome in the 1970 Astro Bluebonnet Bowl as Alabama and Oklahoma fought tooth-and-nail down to the wire.

The two teams combined for 843 total yards in this Texas-sized shootout.  While the defense was not always sharp, there were some key stops made along the way.

Alabama scored first as tight end Randy Moore gathered in a four-yard TD pass from Scott Hunter to cap an eight-play, 54-yard drive.  Oklahoma marched right back to tie the game, though, with Joe Wylie scoring from the two-yard line to tie the game at 7-7 after one quarter.

Bama drove to the shadows of the OU goal-line, only to have an interception kill the drive.  The Sooners followed with a 58-yard TD run by Greg Pruitt to take a 14-7 lead.

Oklahoma took a 14-point lead on Pruitt's second touchdown of the second quarter.  Pruitt scored on a 25-yard run after a key block from Wylie to give OU a 21-7 lead.  After the Crimson Tide missed a field goal, Alabama got the ball back just before halftime and cut the deficit to 21-14 as Hunter hit David Bailey with a five-yard TD pass.

In the third quarter, Richard Ciemny kicked a 20-yard field goal to narrow the gap to 21-17. 

Then came the big fourth quarter.  With 7:36 left, fourth down from the Sooners 25-yard line, Johnny Musso took a handoff and started right.  He stopped, fired a left-handed pass to quarterback Hunter and its caught the Sooners napping with Hunter making a dash for his life to the end zone.  Ciemny's extra point gave Alabama a 24-21 lead.

Oklahoma tied the game with 59 seconds to play as Bruce Derr connected on a 42-yard field goal. 

Alabama had one last shot.  OU tried an on-side kick and the Crimson Tide got the football at the Sooners 40-yard line.  Musso ran 21 yards on the first play to give Alabama a first down at the OU 19. 

David Brungard gained two more yards and Hunter was stopped for loss on the next play as Bama called time out with five seconds left in the game.  Ciemny lined up for the game-winning 34-yard field goal, but OU's John Shelley blocked the kick and the game ended in a 24-24 tie.

UA       7   7   3   7   24
OU       7  14   0   3   24

UA - Scott Hunter four-yard pass to Randy Moore (Richard Ciemny PAT)
OU - Joe Wylie two-yard run (Bruce Derr PAT)
OU - Greg Pruitt 58-yard run (Derr PAT)
OU - Pruitt 25-yard run (Derr PAT)
UA - Hunter five-yard pass to David Bailey (Ciemny PAT)
UA - Ciemny 20-yard FG
UA - Johnny Musso 25-yard pass to Hunter (Ciemny PAT)
OU - Derr 42-yard FG


The Crimson Tide has compiled a 12-13-2 (.464) all-time record against the current members of the Big 12 Conference.  The Oklahoma game will mark the second meeting in three games between Alabama and a Big 12 opponent.  The Crimson Tide posted a 14-13 win over Iowa State at the Dec. 27, 2001 Mainstay Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.   Alabama has won its last two games against the Big 12 Conference and has never won  three consecutive games against the league.

Opponent         Series Record
Baylor           UA leads, 2-0
Colorado         Series Tied, 1-1
Iowa State       UA leads, 1-0
Missouri         MU leads, 2-1
Nebraska         UA leads, 3-2
Oklahoma         UA leads, 1-0-1
Texas            UT leads, 7-0-1
Texas A&M        UA leads, 3-1

*Alabama has never faced Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State or Texas Tech in football.

*The last time Alabama faced a current Big 12 team in the regular season was a 30-10 win at Texas A&M in 1988.

*Alabama is 5-8 (.385) in regular-season meetings with teams from the Big 12 Conference.

*Alabama has compiled a 7-5-2 (.615) all-time bowl record against the current members of the Big 12 Conference. 

*From 1965-72, Alabama played seven straight bowl games against teams from the Big 8 or Southwest Conference, consisting of all current members of the Big 12.


Alabama will be playing its first ever game in the state of Oklahoma this Saturday, facing the Sooners in Norman.  This will be the 28th different state to host an Alabama football and the first new state since an Oct. 12, 1996 meeting with NC State in Raleigh, NC.   The Crimson Tide won that game, 24-19.


Alabama has three defensive linemen on the 2002 Outland Trophy Watch List. Seniors Jarret Johnson (DT), Kenny King (DT) and Kindal Moorehead (DE) have all been recognized for the past achievements and their expectations for the 2002 season.  Coach Fran said several teams have had two defensive linemen on the Outland Trophy watch list, but to have three players "is very special and unusual." 

*The trio of d-linemen has combined to start 83 games for the Crimson Tide.  The trio also has contributed 402 tackles, 69 TFLs and 42 ½ sacks in their careers. 

*The tackles for loss and sacks from the three d-linemen have combined for 691 total yards lost, or nearly the length of seven football fields.

Here is a career stats breakdown:

             JJ         KK        KM
Tkls        142        147       113
TFLs         21         19        29
Sacks        18        8.5        16
Yds         261        131       299


Senior All-SEC center Alonzo Ephraim was recently named to the 2002 Rimington Watch list.  The award is named for Dave Rimington, college football's most decorated offensive lineman.  The award will be presented Dec. 14 in Lincoln, Neb.  Ephraim, who has started 13 career games, has allowed just three sacks as a starter and is second among the offensive linemen with 135 knockdown blocks. Guard Justin Smiley leads the knockdown with 147 


Preseason All-SEC tailback Ahmaad Galloway was recently named to the 2002 Doak Walker Award watch list.  The Doak Walker award is given annually to the nation's top running back.  He got off to a good start in the season opener with 77 yards and one touchdown.  He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and now has 1,650 career yards on 333 carries (5.0 per carry average) and 14 career touchdowns.  He has played in 35 career games.


Here is a listing of the 2002 preseason football honors for the Crimson Tide football team.


*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phipps Magazine)
*3rd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider) 


*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*3rd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider) 


*1st-Team Preseason All-SEC (Phipps Magazine)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider) 


*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Sporting News) 


*2nd Team Preseason All-America (Football News)
*4th Team All-America (Phil Steele's Insider)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Football News)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Athlon's)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Sporting News)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phipps Magazine) 


*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News) 


*3rd Team All-America (Phil Steele's Insider)
*1st-Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*1st-Team Preseason All-SEC (Phipps Magazine)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Football News)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Street & Smith's)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Athlon's)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Sporting News)


*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Street & Smith's)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Athlon's)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider) 


*3rd Team All-America (Street & Smith's)
*3rd Team All-America (Phil Steele's Insider)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Sporting News)
*1st-Team Preseason All-SEC (Phipps Magazine)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's) 


*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Phil Steele's Insider) 


*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (SEC Media Days)
*1st Team Preseason All-SEC (Lindy's)
*2nd Team Preseason All-SEC (Bham News) 


Alabama's on campus home since 1929, Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of college football's most scenic venues. The Crimson Tide has compiled an all-time record of 184-30-3 (.862) in 217 all-time games. 


Alabama will match the school record with six games in Tuscaloosa this season.  The only other time in school history to see six Tuscaloosa games was in 1920, when the Crimson Tide posted a 6-0 Tuscaloosa record, including six shutouts under Xen Scott. Alabama played five games in Tuscaloosa last year and will set a new standard next year by playing seven games in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*Alabama posted a 10-1 record in 1920 under Coach Scott and shutout all six Tuscaloosa opponents by an combined 264-0.   The Crimson Tide averaged 44 points per game in Tuscaloosa that season.

*The shutouts included wins over Southern Military Academy (59-0), Marion Institute (49-0), Birmingham Southern (45-0), Mississippi College (57-0), Howard (33-0) and LSU (21-0).


Entering the 2002 season, Alabama has a streak of 56 consecutive sellouts at Bryant-Denny Stadium, since the stadium was expanded after the Nov. 15, 1986 game with Temple. The first ever game at Denny Stadium was Alabama's 55-0 win over Mississippi College on Sept. 28, 1929.


Alabama won its final four games of the 2001 season to finish with a 7-5 overall record, more than doubling its win total from the 2000 season.  After losing five its first eight games, the Crimson Tide rebounded to win games with Miss. State, Auburn, Southern Miss and Iowa State (Independence Bowl) to post its 92nd winning season in school history.  In 2000, Alabama posted a 3-8 record and saw fourth-year head coach Mike DuBose terminated. The 2000 season was the worst by an Alabama football team, since a 2-7-1 record in J.B. Whitworth's final season in 1957.  Coach Fran's remarkable turnaround last season ranks among the best in Alabama football annals. In the history of Alabama football, the Crimson Tide has suffered only 12 losing seasons, with two coming since 1997.

Losing Season         Following Year
1893    0-4           1894    3-1 (+3)
1895    0-4           1896    2-1 (+2)
1900    2-3           1901    2-1-2
1903    3-4           1904    7-3 (+4)
1951    5-6           1952    10-1 (+5)
1954    4-5-2         1955    0-10 (-4)
1955    0-10          1956    2-7-1 (+2)
1956    2-7-1         1957    2-7-1 (0)
1957    2-7-1         1958    5-4-1 (+3)
1984    5-6           1985    9-2-1 (+4)
1997    4-7           1998    7-5 (+3)
2000    3-8           2001    6-5 (+3)


The Crimson Tide entered the 2002 season riding a four-game winning streak, marking the first time since 1993 that Alabama has entered the season with more than a one-game winning streak. In 1993, Alabama entered season coming off its 12th national championship and riding a 23-game winning streak.  The Tide extended that streak to five consecutive games with a season-opening win over Middle Tennessee.


Playing the toughest teams in the nation is nothing new to the Alabama football program and the 2002 schedule looks to be another challenging 13-week grind.

*Alabama meets four opponents ranked in this week's football polls.  In both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls, UA faces four opponents who are ranked among the top 25 teams in the country. 

Opponent      AP      USA Today
Oklahoma      2nd     3rd
Tennessee     5th     4th
Georgia       8th     11th
LSU           14th    23rd

*Alabama's schedule also features three defending conference champions, including Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt co-champs), North Texas (Sun Belt co-champs) and LSU (SEC).

* recently put together a listing of the Top 10 Mid Major teams in the country and Alabama will play three of those 10 teams as part of its non-conference schedule this season. The poll lists Southern Miss (4), Hawaii (5) and Middle Tennessee (8) among the 10-best teams.  The complete poll includes Marshall, Louisville, Colorado State, Southern Miss, Hawaii, Utah, Fresno State, Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee State and South Florida.

*Alabama's 2002 schedule features home games against all three Division I teams from the state of Mississippi.  The Crimson Tide will host Southern Miss (Sept. 21), Ole Miss (Oct. 19) and Miss. State (Nov. 9) at Bryant-Denny Stadium this season.  The last time Alabama played all three Mississippi teams at home in the same season was 1981.

*The 2002 schedule contains seven teams that participated in bowl games last year, including Oklahoma (Cotton), North Texas (New Orleans), Arkansas (Cotton), Georgia (Music City), Tennessee (Citrus), LSU (Sugar) and Auburn (Peach).

*Four other teams were bowl eligible in 2001, but did not participate in post-season play.  The other bowl eligible teams were Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Hawaii.


In addition to seven home games this season, the Crimson Tide will also play six road games in 2002, matching the school record for most road games.  Alabama played six road games in 1946.  The Crimson Tide posted a 2-4 (.333) away from home in 1946, including losses at Tennessee (12-0), Georgia (14-0), LSU (31-21) and Boston College (13-7). 

Alabama's Nov. 23 trip to Boston marked the first time the Crimson Tide football team traveled by plane.  The game was also contested at historic Braves Field.

*The 2002 season marks the first time since 1941 that Alabama will play at Vanderbilt and Tennessee in the same season.  The Crimson Tide plays at Knoxville on Oct. 26  and at Nashville on Nov. 2.

*The 2002 season also marks the first time since 1991 that Alabama will not play at least one game in the state of Mississippi. 

*Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU and Hawaii were a combined 26-8 (.765) at home last year.

*Oklahoma enters the 2002 season with a 17-1 (.944) record at home under Bob Stoops.  The Sooners' 17-game winning streak was snapped with a 16-13 loss to rival Oklahoma State on Nov. 24, 2001.

*Alabama has never beaten Arkansas in Fayetteville, losing all three meetings (1996, 1998 and 2000).

*Alabama also has a three-game losing streak at Tennessee and has not beaten the Vols in Knoxville since 1994.

*The Crimson Tide lost at LSU in 2000, snapping a 15-game unbeaten streak against the Tigers in Baton Rouge.  Prior to the 2000 season, Alabama had not lost in Tiger Stadium since 1969.


Alabama will play two teams this season for the first time in its 108-year football history.  The Crimson Tide opened the 2002 season against first-time foe Middle Tennessee and closes its 13-game slate on the island of Ohau against another first-time foe, Hawaii.  The last time Alabama played two first-time opponents in the same season was 1998 when the Crimson Tide faced BYU and East Carolina.  The 1998 season was also the last time UA opened a season against a first-time opponent, handing BYU a 38-31 loss in Bryant-Denny Stadium.


Alabama's most recent depth chart has a good mix of veterans and newcomers.  On offense, the Crimson Tide's depth chart includes nine seniors and nine juniors.  On defense, Alabama's two-deep lists seven seniors and nine juniors.  While the 44-man depth chart looks experienced, there are also some inexperienced players that make up the remaining spots.  The offense includes five sophomores, three redshirt freshman and one true freshman.  The defense has five sophomore, four redshirt freshman and one true freshman.  In all, 16 of the 44 players listed in the depth chart have never played a game for the Crimson Tide.  There were 15 first-time players who participated in the Tide's opening game on Aug. 31, including seven redshirt freshmen, three junior college transfers,  two others who saw first-time action, two redshirt juniors,  and one true freshman. 


Last year, Alabama played only one true freshman as defensive end Todd Bates (Heflin) played in nine games and earned one start.  Entering the 2002 season, Coach Fran said as many as four true freshmen could see action this season, including linebackers Juwan Garth and (Decatur), DeMeco Ryans (Bessemer); fullback Greg McLain (Lineville) and defensive tackle Jeremy Clark (Daphne).


Comparing the offensive line at the start of the 2001 season and this year, is like night and day.  The Crimson Tide's five offensive linemen in 2002 started the last nine games of the 2001 season and returns intact, combining now for 64 career starts.

Seniors Alonzo Ephraim and Marico Portis will be joined by redshirt sophomores Justin Smiley, Wesley Britt and Evan Mathis.  The same could not be said last year, as only one of the five offensive linemen who started the UCLA game had started a game previously at Alabama.  Dante Ellington had started all 24 games in his UA career entering last year's UCLA opener.  Ephraim had appeared in 13 games and Portis had six games experience prior to the 2001 opener, but neither had made a start before the UCLA game.

Alabama Career Games/Starts Entering:

Player              *2001       2002
Justin Smiley        0 (0)    12 (12)
Wesley Britt         0 (0)    12 (12)
Alonzo Ephraim      13 (0)    25 (12)
Marico Portis        6 (0)    18 (12)
Evan Mathis          0 (0)    12 (9)
Totals              19 (0)    79 (57)

*Dante Ellington started the 2001 season opener and had 24 starts to his credit at Alabama.


Alabama has compiled a 141-82-5 (.629) all-time record on television since its first televised game in 1951.  The Crimson Tide has made 228 regular season TV appearances, compiling a 118-66-3 (.639) all-time record.  Alabama is expected to appear on network TV every game this season except a pay-per-view appearance against North Texas. The TV appearances to date are Middle Tennessee (JP Sports, Aug. 31), Oklahoma (ABC, Sept. 7), Southern Miss (espn2, Sept. 28) and Hawaii (ESPN, Nov. 30).


For the first time since 1991, Alabama led the SEC in rushing offense. The Crimson Tide paced the league last year, averaging 226.4 yards per game. Alabama was 39.8 yards per game better than South Carolina's second-place total (186.6). In addition, the Crimson Tide was the nation's 10th best rushing offense in 2001.  In 2000, Alabama ranked seventh in the SEC and 66th nationally, averaging 137.6 yards per game. The 2001 Alabama team improved the previous year's (2000) total by 88.8 yards per game. Ahmaad Galloway (174-881-6), Santonio Beard (77-633-4) and Tyler Watts (111-564-5) all three rushed for more than 500 yards last season.

*Alabama's 226.4 rushing yards last season was the most by an SEC leader since LSU averaged 256.6 yards per game in 1997.

*The 2001 season marked the 13th time in school history Alabama has led the SEC in rushing. The Crimson Tide dominated the 1970s  on the ground, leading the league in rushing offense six times in 10 years.

Yr            G             Rush        Yds          Avg  
'50           11            586          3007        273.4
'52           11            608          2737        250.6
'64           10            445          1799        179.9
'71           11            705          3565        324.1
'72           11            704          3332        302.9
'73           11            664          4027        366.1
'74           11            686          3288        298.9
'78           11            638          3158        287.1
'79           11            763          3792        344.7
'80           11            632          3381        307.4
'86           12            585          3167        263.9
'91           11            557          2772        252.0
'01           11            472          2490        226.4


Since 1970, the Alabama Crimson Tide offense has produced 43, 500-plus yard games, including three during the 2001 season.  The Crimson Tide racked up 500+ yards against South Carolina (516), UTEP (588) and Auburn (549).  For the first time since 1991, Alabama notched back-to-back 500-yard games against South Carolina  and UTEP.  The Crimson rushed for 285 yards and passed for 231 yards in its 37-36 loss at South Carolina.  In a 56-7 blowout win over UTEP, Alabama ran for 360 yards and passed for 228 yards against the Miners.

Against Auburn, Alabama piled up 360 rushing yards, and added 221 yards through the air.  Santonio Beard (20-199-2) and Ahmaad Galloway (14-127) both had 100 yards rushing in the 31-7 win on the Plains.  Alabama has not posted three straight 500-yard games since the 1991 season when the Crimson Tide eclipsed the 500-yard barrier against Vanderbilt (538), UT Chattanooga (587) and Tulane (572).

Here is a look at Bama's top rushing performances since 1969.

Yds     Opponent            Year
748     Virginia Tech       1973
531     Ole Miss            1971
514     Mississippi State   1986
502     Southern Miss       1974
471     Vanderbilt          1979
457     Tennessee           1986
461     Virginia Tech       1972
458     Ole Miss            1980
448     Vanderbilt          1978
444     Cincinnati          1982
435     Tulane              1992
428     UTC                 1991
416     Vanderbilt          1973
413     Louisville          1977
405     California          1973
396     Ole Miss            1981
387     LSU                 1989
378     Cincinnati          1985
377     Tennessee           1981
373     Vanderbilt          1991
363     Tennessee           1973
360     UTEP                2001
354     Virginia Tech       1970

Here is a look at the top total offense games since 1969:

Yds     Rush/Pass      Opponent        Year
833     748/85         Va. Tech        1973
667     405/262        California      1973
644     387/257        LSU             1989
634     502/141        USM             1974
601     471/130        Vandy           1979
598     262/336        Penn St.        1983
588     360/228        UTEP            2001
587     428/159        UTC             1991
582     364/218        Va.Tech         1970
578     416/162        Vandy           1973
574     413/161        L'ville         1977
573     435/138        Tulane          1992
572     332/240        Tulane          1991
569     345/224        USM             1969
569     448/121        Vandy           1978
569     206/363        Ole Miss        1989
565     340/225        USM             1972
562     183/379        Tenn.           1989
557     531/26         Ole Miss        1971
556     461/95         Va. Tech        1972
550     248/302        USM             1993
549     238/221        Auburn          2001
538     373/167        Vandy           1991
533     49/484         Auburn          1969
535     457/78         Tenn.           1986
534     378/156        Cincy.          1985
531     514/17         Miss. St.       1986
526     297/229        Ole Miss        1997
524     363/161        Tenn.           1973
524     458/66         Ole Miss        1980
524     396/128        Ole Miss        1981
522     289/233        Miss. St.       1970
516     285/231        South Carolina  2001
516     377/139        Tenn.           1981
515     322/193        Auburn          1977
515     316/199        USM             1986
513     301/212        Auburn          1970
513     329/184        Vandy           1983
513     444/69         Cincy           1982
507     256/251        Auburn          1982
507     95/412         *Army           1988
505     275/230        Houston         1999
503     213/290        Miss. St.       1998


After averaging 409.4 yards total offense per game last year, it seems the Crimson Tide offense is back in high gear again in 2002.  The Tide put together 430 total offense yards in the season opener against Middle Tennessee with 236 passing and 194 rushing. 


The 2002 Alabama football team has four sets of brothers on its roster.  The family tree includes Wesley and Taylor Britt (Cullman), Triandos and Nic Luke (Phenix City), Marc and Matt Miller (Gadsden) and David and Stuart Cavan (Tuscaloosa).


Since overtime was first used during the 1996 season, Alabama has been involved in four overtime games and posted a 2-2 (.500) record.

1997 --  L at Kentucky, 41-34 (OT)
1998 --  W vs. Ole Miss, 20-17 (OT)
1999 --  W at Florida, 40-39 (OT)
1999 --  L vs. Michigan, 35-34 (OT) ('00 Orange Bowl)


The Crimson Tide opened the 2002 season with a 39-34 win over Middle Tennessee at Birmingham's Legion Field.  The 73 combined points goes down as the fourth-highest scoring season opener in Alabama football history.  The Alabama-Middle Tennessee game is the highest scoring season opener since a 37-37 tie with Florida State to open the 1967 season at Legion Field. 


 1. 110  Alabama 110, Marion Institute 0 (9-30-22)
 2.  89  Alabama 89, Delta State 0 (9-21-51)
 3.  74   Alabama 37, Florida State 37 (9-23-67)
 4.  73  Alabama 39, Middle Tennessee 34 (8-31-02)
 5.  69  Alabama 38, BYU 31 (Sept. 5, 1998)
     69  Boston College 38, Alabama 31 (9-8-84)
 7.  66  Alabama 66, California 0 (Sept. 15, 1973)
 8.  63  USC 42,  Alabama 21 (Sept. 12, 1970)
 9.  59  UCLA 35, Alabama 24 (Sept. 4, 2000)
     59  Alabama 42, Houston 17 (Aug. 30, 1997)
     59  Alabama 59, S. Military Acad. 0 (9-25-20)

*Alabama's 39 points against Middle Tennessee are the most by the Crimson Tide in a season opener since a 42-17 win over Houston on Aug. 30, 1997 at Legion Field.

*Middle Tennessee's 34 points are the most allowed by Alabama in a season opener since a 35-24 loss at UCLA on Sept. 4, 2000.


Here are some rule changes for the 2002 college football season.

*The NCAA will experiment this year with a new game clock in some games.  A team would have 45 seconds to snap the ball after the preceding play is whistled dead. But, when the game clock is stopped for a first down, ball out of bounds, change of possession or penalty, the team would have 25 seconds to snap the ball after a signal by the referee.

*The NCAA increased the penalty from five yards to 10 yards for interference with a player's opportunity to catch a kick when no contact is involved. The penalty will remain 15 yards when contact is made.

*A new overtime rule will allow the enforcement of penalty yards for flagrant personal fouls during possession by the defensive team to carry from one overtime period to the next. Previously, the player committing the foul would be disqualified for the rest of the game, but the 15-yard penalty against his team was not assessed.

*A new rule prohibits team personnel from giving media interviews from the start of the first period until the end of the game, except for coaches being interviewed during halftime.

*All players on the same team will be required to wear the same color facemasks.

*A team that scores a touchdown will now be given the option of enforcing penalties for personal fouls by the opponent during the scoring down either on the extra-point try or the succeeding kickoff.

*Beginning with the 2002 season, the NCAA will now count bowl games towards regular season and career stats for Division IA teams.   All playoff stats at the Division I-AA, II and III levels will now count towards regular-season and career stats.


Alabama selects its players of the week throughout the 2002 season.  The winners are announced on Sunday following each game by head coach Dennis Franchione.

Middle Tennessee -- Wesley Britt (Offensive Line), Tyler Watts (Offensive Back), Triandos Luke (Offensive Back), Freddie Roach (Defensive Line) and Hirchel Bolden (Defensive Back)


Alabama used 14 first-time players in its win over Middle Tennessee this past weekend, including one true freshman (DeMeco Ryans) and three JuCo transfers (Ahmad Childress, Zach Fletcher and Derrick Pope).  Other first-time participants included Freddie Roach (MLB), Anthony Madison (RCB), Spencer Pennington (special teams), Shaud Williams (A-Back), Charlie Peprah (RCB), Michael Ziifle (PK), Roman Harper (FS), Mark Anderson (ROV), Zach Fletcher (WR), Clint Johnston (W) and David Cavan (TE).  Ryans was the only true freshman to see action for Alabama against Middle Tennessee, playing 12 snaps on defense and four on special teams.  Alabama played only one true freshman in 2001, with Todd Bates making his debut in the third game of the season.  Bates played in nine games last year as a true freshman, making one start. 


Among the first-time players in Alabama's 39-34 win over Middle Tennessee, redshirt freshman middle linebacker Freddie Roach probably stood out the most for his play against the Blue Raiders.  The Killen, Ala., native recorded 10 tackles and added a 41-yard interception return for a fourth quarter touchdown his Crimson Tide debut.  For his efforts, he was named Alabama's Player of the Week on the defensive line by the Tide coaching staff.  "Freddie Roach had a solid game from start to finish in all areas," according to head coach Dennis Franchione. Roach was not the only UA player making headlines in his debut against Middle Tennessee.  Fellow middle linebacker Derrick Pope, a JuCo transfer from Garden City CC, also turned in a solid game with eight tackles and one quarterback pressure.  Redshirt freshman Roman Harper added four tackles, while Ryans had two tackles on defense for the Crimson Tide.  Redshirt sophomore David Cavan, also making his first career start at Alabama, caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Watts to give Alabama a 22-0 first quarter lead.  Finally, redshirt sophomore Michael Ziifle tallied seven points, converting all four extra point attempts and his lone field goal attempt against Middle Tennessee.


Junior receiver Triandos Luke joined a Cavan and Roach as first-time starters for Alabama in the 2002 season opener against Middle Tennessee State.  Luke caught a a career high nine passes for 85 yards to lead all UA receivers in his initial start.  Cavan added a 15-yard TD grab in his first starting assignment, while Roach had 10 tackles and scored on a 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.


*Alabama defeated Middle Tennessee 39-34 last weekend to win its first season opener since the 1999 season.  Alabama entered the Middle Tennessee game having lost its last two season openers to UCLA in 2000 (35-24) and 2001 (20-17).  The last time UA lost back-to-back season openers was 1975 (Missouri, 20-7) and 1976 (Ole Miss, 10-7). Prior to this year, Alabama's last opening day win was a 28-17 victory over Vanderbilt on Sept. 4, 1999 in Nashville.

*The Crimson Tide improved to 84-21-3 (.792) all-time in season openers following its five-point win over Middle Tennessee.  In addition, Alabama is 20-4-1 (.820) in season openers at Legion Field.

*Alabama is a perfect 4-0 in games played in the month of August, following its win over Middle Tennessee last week.  Other wins in the month of August have come against Ohio State (1986), Bowling Green (1996) and Houston (1997).

*The Crimson Tide was penalized 16 times for 126 yards in its win over Middle Tennessee, matching the single-game record for most penalties. The Crimson Tide was also penalized 16 times in a 1995 against Georgia. 

*UA's 126 penalty yards against Middle Tennessee fell just seven yards shy of the single-game record for most penalty yards.  Alabama was flagged for 133 yards in a 1957 game with Van