According to coach Nick Saban, people were saying the Crimson Tide were too young, too inexperienced and couldn't handle success. Now, fresh off a 41-14 rout of No. 8 Michigan last week in the Cowboys Classic, top-ranked Alabama is being projected as a repeat national champion by some experts. In an effort to deflect that kind of talk and downplay the Crimson Tide's move to No. 1 in both national polls as his team prepares for a visit from Western Kentucky on Saturday, Saban asked a rhetorical question Monday. "What's different? Nothing," Saban said. "We are still young, we are still inexperienced and we still have things to work on." Those things include deep pass coverage, as the Wolverines hit on throws of 72 and 44 yards, increased efficiency in the passing game and reducing penalties. Quarterback AJ McCarron was completed only 11-of-21 passes, although he averaged more than 18 yards per completion, and the Crimson Tide picked up an uncharacteristic seven penalties. Attention to detail has been one of the bedrocks in Saban's programs, regardless of where or who his teams play. It's why you see him air out players with his team comfortably leading, 31-0, in the first half, as was the case against Michigan. It's what he likes to call the process, and why Alabama is going to be a national championship contender for the foreseeable future. Talent plus coaching plus fretting over the smallest details equals a powerhouse program. "Successful teams are willing to do what unsuccessful teams aren't," Saban said. "That's what we need to prove, that we are ready to do in terms of how we go about each week, each game that we play and each challenge that we have." In other words, no slackers allowed. Which is only one reason why the Crimson Tide is going to be the big elephant lingering around the top of the college football world for a while.
- Nick Saban