Can't Look Ahead
Despite its early dominating play, Alabama coach Nick Saban isn't ready to look any further than his team's next contest.
Saban's No. 2 Crimson Tide play with their highest ranking in 15 years when they host undefeated Kentucky in an SEC matchup Saturday afternoon.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Alabama –16.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 46% of bets for this game have been placed on Alabama –16.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
If the country needed more proof that Alabama (5-0, 2-0) had the potential to be a serious national championship contender, it only needed to watch the Crimson Tide's 41-30 win over then-No. 3 Georgia last week. The final score didn't indicate just how dominating things went for the Tide, who scored on their first five possessions and jumped out to a 31-0 lead in posting its second victory over a Top 5 school this season.
Despite that recent rout which produced the Tide's highest ranking since spending the first eight weeks of the 1993 season at No. 2, Saban isn't ready to talk national title.
"After five games?'' Saban said. "Let's see when we get a full body of work at the end of the season. If you get satisfied and you fall in love with yourself, you get complacent and lose your desire. Kentucky is undefeated just like us, and we know we are in for a challenge."
Though the Wildcats (4-0) head into their conference opener armed with the nation's top scoring defense that allows 5.5 points per contest, they won't have history on their side. Alabama leads the series with Kentucky 33-2-1 and is 8-0 in Tuscaloosa.
"This is an opportunity to see where we stand in the SEC as far as having an impact on the league," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "This is a game, that in my mind, if we are going to have a chance to win it is going to have to be a near-perfect game for us as far as mistakes, penalties, turnovers, takeaways and we need to play at our optimal best to achieve it."
That's because Alabama's offense guided by senior quarterback John Parker Wilson and running backs Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram is averaging 215 yards on the ground and has rushed for a league-high 13 touchdowns - six shy of the team total from 2007 when the Tide went 7-6 in Saban's first year as coach.
The Tide, who have not trailed all season, have scored four non-offensive touchdowns and outscored opponents 74-0 in the first half.
"We're the same football team we were when we came out of training camp," cornerback Javier Arenas said. "We're aware of it, but we're mature enough to not let that affect us. People were talking good about us before this game and we didn't let it get to our head."
Coffee has rushed for four TDs in his last two games, while Wilson was 13-for-16 for 205 yards and a touchdown against Georgia.
After scoring 90 points in two league road wins, the Tide return home for their first meeting with Kentucky since 2004. The Wildcats, who went 3-5 in the SEC and 1-4 against ranked league opponents a year ago, have allowed two touchdowns and 22 points during a perfect non-conference slate.
"It feels great, but unless we carry it over into SEC play it won't mean anything," Kentucky defensive tackle Corey Peters said. "We want to continue to improve every week."
While the defense will be out to prove it can also play well against SEC teams, Kentucky's offense will likely need to be at its best in order to pull off the upset.
First-year starter Mike Hartline has thrown for 633 yards this season and three touchdowns in his last two contests as he continues to improve while trying to replace Andre' Woodson.
"I am about as pleased as I can be for what he has done in his first four starts," Brooks said. "He is throwing the ball more consistently than I felt he would."
Hartline continues to favor senior receiver Dicky Lyons, who is second in the conference with 25 receptions, good for 189 yards and a touchdown.
[QB] Curtis Pulley has been dismissed from the team. - Disciplinary -
[WR] EJ Fields is out indefinitely - Hamstring - 09/07/08
[DT] Ricky Lumpkin is downgraded to doubtful - Ankle - 09/22/08
[LB] Micah Johnson downgraded to doubtful - Ankle - 09/23/08
[CB] Paul Warford will miss entire season - Eligibility - 08/07/08
[CB] David Jones left last game, ? - Knee - 09/13/08
[LT] Garry Williams upgraded to probable - Knee - 09/23/08
[KR] Randall Cobb is downgraded to out indefinitely - Ankle - 09/16/08
[FB] John Conner left last game, ? - Stinger - 09/16/08
[QB] Nick Fanuzzi has transferred. - None - 08/26/08
[LB] Rolando McClain is upgraded to probable - Foot - 09/21/08
[LB] Jimmy Johns has been suspended from the team. - Disciplinary - 07/01/
[LB] Ezekial Knight expected to miss entire season. - Illness - 07/17/08
Top Trends for this game.
ALABAMA is 15-34 ATS (-22.4 Units) as a favorite of 10.5 to 21 points since 1992.
ALABAMA is 41-63 ATS (-28.3 Units) in home games since 1992.
ALABAMA is 41-63 ATS (-28.3 Units) in home lined games since 1992.
ALABAMA is 21-40 ATS (-23.0 Units) in home games against conference opponents since 1992.
ALABAMA is 39-63 ATS (-30.3 Units) in home games when playing on a Saturday since 1992.
ALABAMA is 30-52 ATS (-27.2 Units) in home games when playing with 6 or less days rest since 1992.
ALABAMA is 41-63 ATS (-28.3 Units) in home games in games played on a grass field since 1992.
Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.
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