Saban Knocks Bama Out Of A No. 1 Spot

Everyone is trying to knock Alabama out of number one, but who would have thought it would be Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban who booted Bama from one perch? It was not a bad thing, however.

A pre-season survey of Division I college football teams showed that Alabama had only eight scholarshipped seniors, which was tied for first in the nation for fewest seniors. But a couple of weeks into fall camp, Bama coach Nick Saban called fifth-year senior walk-on snapper Carson Tinker into his office. When Tinker left the office, he was no longer a walk-on. Saban had awarded him a scholarship.

That put Alabama with nine scholarshipped seniors, which ties for fourth in the nation. No other Southeastern Conference teams are in the top 12.

Here are some notes as the Crimson Tide, winner of the 2011 national championship, prepares to open the 2012 season against Michigan. Kickoff Saturday night from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be at 7 p.m. CDT and ABC will televise the game.

Michigan is one of the few teams to have a winning record against Alabama, with a 2-1 mark. All previous games have been in bowl contests. In the last meeting, the Wolverines took a 35-34 overtime victory in the 2000 Orange Bowl.

Alabama played that Orange Bowl game without consensus All-America and Outland Tropy winner left tackle Chris Samuels, who was held out for what was described as a minor injury. Samuels, who had a long, All-Pro career with the Washington Redskins, is now a graduate assistant coach at Alabama. And it's easy to tell when he's on the job because his Bentley Continental GT stands out in the football parking lot.

Alabama also trails 2012 opponent Missouri, a new member of the SEC, by a 2-1 margin. Bama has a winning record against all other opponents this year and against all other SEC opponents.

Alabama is ranked second and Michigan is ranked eighth in the nation going into the season opener. The Wolverines are one of four Bama opponents ranked in the nation's top 25. Others are No. 1 LSU, No. 10 Arkansas, and No. 25 Auburn. Other Tide opponents receiving votes in the pre-season polls are Tennessee, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Mississippi State.

Alabama is 70-46-4 in neutral site games. This is the first time the Tide has played a neutral site regular season game since the 2009 season opener when Bama defeated Virginia Tech, 34-24, in the Georgia Dome. Bama went on to win the 2009 national championship.

Alabama is 12-5-1 all-time in domed stadiums, including a 3-0 mark since 2009, and is 4-2 in Saban's tenure. The Tide's most recent appearance in a domed stadium was the BCS National Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Alabama defeated LSU, 21-0, in that contest.

In Alabama's last 53 games (since the beginning of the 2008 season), the Crimson Tide has been on national television in 41 of them.

Alabama has compiled an all-time record of 191-126-4 in televised games.

The Tide is 93-21-3 in season-opening games and has a current 10-game winning streak in games to start the season. Saban is 13-3 in his collegiate openers as a head coach, including a 5-0 mark at Alabama. Two of those five have come against top ten opponents, a 34-10 win over No. 9 Clemson in 2008 and a 34-24 victory over seventh-ranked Virginia Tech in 2009, both in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Alabama is 19-11 against all teams that are current members of the Big Ten.

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