While a national title may be out of the question at that point, the fact that so much talent will be on the sidelines to take in the game and the surrounding atmosphere is always a win for ‘Bama.
Whether it's current commits, players committed to other major BCS programs or promising underclassmen prospects, the Alabama staff will have their fill on Saturday and Sunday.
While the list can grow or shrink between now and game time, the scheduled visitor list has a trio of official visitors that are most likely to attend. A pair is currently soft verbal commits to other schools.
First up is five-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson . The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder has taken one other official visit (to Florida State) since committing to Texas. He is not one to speak to the media as much as others, but his visit says a lot about UA's chances to flip him from Texas with their need for another defensive lineman. It looks like the staff will continue to pursue elites like Robinson, Montravius Adams, Robert Nkemdiche and Kendell Beckwith for at least one of the remaining spots. Beckwith, who was in Baton Rouge for last week's game, will see Alabama this weekend as well in what could be big for his final decision.
Robinson visiting surprised some, but the upcoming official visit from four-star tight end Hunter Henry, an Arkansas commit, surprised just about everyone in the business. It surprised him, as well, considering it was not something he planned for – telling us that the decision to visit on an official basis "just came up." Henry is keeping the door open very slightly unless the new coaching hire at Arkansas isn't as tight end friendly as the current staff is. Let's not forget that Alabama was very high on his list before he went public with his decision to be a Razorback.
What stemmed soon after Henry's decision to play for Arkansas was Josh McNeil's announcement to play for Alabama. The fellow four-star tight end, too, has flirted with visit plans and other SEC destinations – but none are set. Scout.com policy is to label a commit as a "soft verbal" once he schedules an official visit to a school he is not committed to, as Henry did. For McNeil, who has named his five potential destinations, he has not yet scheduled any visit but this weekend's official trip to Tuscaloosa. The dynamic with both he and Henry in town should be fun to keep up with throughout the weekend.
While the trio of official visitors will be the headliners for the weekend, plenty of five-star talent will be at Bryant-Denney unofficially. Beckwith remains a major play as does top offensive line prospect in the senior class Laremy Tunsil, who will be in town with his mother. Like Nkemdiche and Adams, mom will play a major role in Tunsil's final decision. What can help ‘Bama in this case, is that pals and fellow five-star UA commits Derrick Henry and Demarcus Walker will also be in town for unofficial visits. Other commits expected in Tuscaloosa are Grant Hill, Jonathan Allen, Altee Tenpenny, Parker McLeod and 2014 pledge Bo Scarborough, among others.
While the current senior class, 2013, remains the hot topic, Scarborough will be joined by several talented juniors. Fellow in-state four-star running back Racean Thomas is expected to see Alabama's game atmosphere once again and there is always a chance he pledges Crimson while on his trip considering how the Tide has led for his services all fall. Running back will be a competitive position in 2014 with so many top-notch prospects in the South, and the same can be said for cornerback. Alabama will get the chance to host the only one at the position currently ranked higher than in-state UA legacy Marlon Humphrey, as Tony Brown travels east from the Lone Star State.
With plenty of big names expected, more visitors may embark on Tuscaloosa at the last minute, so keep up with Alabama's huge recruiting weekend in the premium forums at all times, where you can find the most updated LIST around.