There are still a handful of college football teams with chances still alive to play in the BCS National Championship Game. Alabama, of course, is number one in the BCS rankings, and the Crimson Tide has been the most prominent team in the national championship game with back-to-back wins (and three of the last four) going into this season.
Alabama is naturally considered the team to beat this year. In recent weeks the fans of some of those contenders – Oregon and Florida State – have begun “We want Bama!” chants.
Senior Tide wide receiver Kevin Norwood was asked about the chanting fans.
After a chuckle, Norwood said, “Oh, man. I don’t know to be honest. If they want us, they want us.
“But they’re not on our schedule.”
For those teams to get Bama, Alabama has to do its part. That means beating the teams who are on the Crimson Tide schedule, and Norwood knows the next one of those.
Alabama (8-0 overall, 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference) hosts LSU (7-2, 3-2) at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. The Tide is ranked first in the nation, the Tigers 10th. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. CST with CBS televising the game.
Norwood, a 6-1, 195-pound senior from D’Iberville, Miss., has been clutch in the last two games against LSU. The first, the 2011 national championship game, saw him catch four passes for 78 yards in Bama’s 21-0 win in the Louisiana Superdome. Last year in Baton Rouge, it looked as though the Tigers were going to take the Tide, but quarterback A.J. McCarron took Bama on an extraordinary march in the final two minutes.
McCarron’s first three passes were all complete to Norwood, gains of 18 yards, 15 yards, and 11 yards to the LSU 28. From there McCarron hit tailback T.J. Yeldon on a screen pass that went for the winning touchdown, coming with 51 seconds to play and making it 21-17.
Norwood said the only thing he remembers about last year’s game was that winning score “and me taking a knee and like, just basically, ‘Thank you.’”
Pressed, Norwood admitted he remembered “a couple” of his catches in the drive. Then amended, “Actually, the only one I remember is the corner route, to be honest.”
LSU partisans, coaches, and defenders likely remember plenty of Norwood.
Norwood has his thoughts about LSU, too.
After dispensing with “It’s another game for us, and it’s a team that’s in our way,” Norwood said, “They’re going to come out playing physical, like every other team. They had a bye week and so did we. It’s going to be a great game.
“This is an exciting game. If nobody’s excited about this game they do not need to be here. It’s just the tradition around here, man. It’s just awesome, especially playing against these guys.
“You know, all the teams that we play, we know that we’re going to get their best and we have to play our best. That’s just how it is.
“I expect a great game. I know our defense is going to come out and play their best and I know their defense is going to play their best. Our offense is going to come prepared for the game and I know theirs is. So it’s just going to be a good game between both.
“Their cornerbacks are going to be physical. They’re going to press, they’re going to man us. We just have to do our best this week.
“November’s a time where everybody’s hurting. So everybody’s got to get healthy and just come out and keep pushing for this last month.”
The game, Norwood acknowledged, is the kind that can come down to a few plays.
“I think it’s just the physical nature between both teams – and then, both teams had the bye week and an extra week to prepare for each other,” he said.
“I prepare for this team before the season even starts, because I know this is one of the teams that’s just going to give it their best and they’re going to be real physical and I have to give it my best.”