"Our mission has been to win all along. It's easy to plug that in right now as a goal and objective."
Though the Southeastern Conference has more bowl eligible teams than automatic bids, most reports have Alabama headed to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee. But Shreveport, Louisiana's Independence Bowl is also a possibility. "I still don't know," Franchione said. "You hear so much dialogue that you don't know what to believe and what not to believe. There is some thought that if Tennessee wins that puts us in the Music City, and if LSU wins it would spin us to Shreveport.
"That would be fine with me, too. We'll be excited to be in either place."
The SEC championship game between Tennessee and LSU takes place tonight, and Sunday the conference athletics directors and bowl executives will formally issue the various bids. "One game is on the 27th (Independence) and one game is on the 28th (Music City)," Franchione said. "I've heard a lot of good things about the hospitality of both bowls. One game we play Boston College (Music City) and one game we play Iowa State (Independence). Both of those would be interesting games for us. It really doesn't matter who the opponent is right now for us as much as the opportunity to play the game and the preparation time."
With the Tide's likely opponent narrowed down to two possibilities, Franchione reported that Alabama has already received film from both possible teams. "Some of the coaches have started breaking it down, and when we know who we'll play we'll work more on it. Right now all we've done is work on ourselves. We're trying to stay sharp so that when we do get more focused on the enemy we've got our timing and aren't too rough around the edges."
The University of Alabama football team worked for two hours in helmets, shorts and shoulder pads concluding three days of practice this week before breaking for final exams. "It was a good workout like last night," Franchione said. "The players were very energetic. They had fresh legs. I'm pleased with the fact that they're having fun practicing. The young guys got in a lot of good work there at the end."
Final exams are scheduled for next week, and the squad won't work as a unit again until Sunday December 16. "We will not practice the rest of this week," Franchione said. "They'll have to come over and lift and get their jog in at their leisure, because of finals. The weight room will be open from six in the morning till eight at night, so if they get tired of studying they can just come right over, and take about an hour to get their work in. That will keep their conditioning and strength up and let us see them a little bit every day."
Alabama ended the regular season on a roll, taking three straight wins to finish 6-5. "I think we can carry over the momentum," Franchione said. "I like the way we're practicing right now, but obviously we're going to face a pretty good ball club. It will be key for us to carry over through this week of finals and have a good week of preparation before we depart. Then we need to make sure that when it's time to work, we work hard. And when it's time to enjoy the bowl activities, we do that. Get focused and get ready to play the game when the time comes."
The Tide is hosting six recruits this weekend. As part of their official visits, tailbacks Deshawn Wynn (Ohio) and Albert Hardy (Texas); tight end/defensive end Preston Parnell (Georgia); wide receiver Charlie Vample (Ohio); and offensive lineman Grant Dickey (Texas) were all in attendance at this afternoon's practice.
So even though the SECC is on television tonight, Franchione will be otherwise occupied. "I hope to watch the game a little bit, but I'm not worried about it. I'm a lot more worried about my recruits than I am about who wins that game tonight."
*Franchione will meet again with the recruits tomorrow morning, before flying to New York for the National Football Foundation's annual meeting. During his visit he will meet with the local Alabama alumni chapter.
*Redshirt freshman quarterback Brodie Croyle missed his second consecutive practice on Saturday, while attending his sister's wedding in Gadsden. Reagan Croyle, who played on the Alabama women's basketball team, was married to former Alabama quarterback John David Phillips.