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 TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - This time Nick Saban has only himself and his team to blame if Alabama fans are fervently talking titles again.
``They've been saying crazy things since I've been here,'' Saban said. ``What else is new?
Well, for one, the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide has earned some of that buzz on the field. And that talk of an instant turnaround ever since 'Bama got its $4 million-a-year man as coach no longer seems quite so crazy. Premature maybe, but not crazy.
A come-from-behind 41-38 win over Arkansas and a 3-0 start have catapulted Alabama back into the national rankings and at least into the discussion about the Southeastern Conference Western Division contenders.
But Saban has a term for all that renewed hype: External factors. He's not a fan, and points out it might only take one loss to drop from the rankings.
``That's another one of those external factors that you guys love to talk about that has no affect on the outcome of anything,'' he said Monday.
``It's great to be recognized as a Top 25 team. It's good recognition, it's good exposure. We certainly appreciate that we're in that position, but it's not something that we can allow to affect how we go about our work and what we do.''
It probably helps that No. 22 Georgia visits the Tide (3-0, 2-0) on Saturday night. Besides, Alabama barely survived the Razorbacks, needing a last-minute touchdown catch by Matt Caddell and a late defensive stop.
Co. and that 31-10 lead in the third quarter evaporated.
The coaches settled down to business with an early morning film session Monday. It wasn't all praise, either. It ended after about 90 minutes, cornerback Simeon Castille said, ``just because guys had class.''
``It didn't sound like we won, but we did,'' he said. ``I don't really think it was knocking us down at all, it was just showing us what was there and what needs to be fixed. No matter what you do you always have to improve. That's what we have to focus on.
``We could obviously have prevented them from getting 38 points and getting back into the ball game.''
Still, Saban's 24-hour rule where players are allowed to enjoy wins before focusing on the next game might have warranted a bit of an extension for this one.
``More like a 36-hour rule. It turned into one,'' center Antoine Caldwell said. ``I'm sure the coaches say, too, a game that big, it's hard to put it out of your mind. Just come up here today, seeing Georgia this, Georgia that, we have to realize that Georgia is just as good a football team as Arkansas.''
But the win did seem to restore some of that Alabama swagger, and not just among the fans. Asked about Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive end Wallace Gilberry said: ``I don't know anything about him. But after the game Saturday, I can tell you anything you want to know - his birthday, his telephone number, his home address. I'm serious, because I will know.
``I've got to know where to send the flowers after the game.''
Gilberry then insisted the comments were ``all in fun.''
``I don't talk trash,'' he said.

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