October 7, 2011

Vanderbilt-Alabama preview

Vanderbilt Commodores (3-1, 1-1) at Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0)

When: Saturday, 6 p.m. CST

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821), Tuscaloosa, Ala.

TV: ESPNU

Internet: ESPN3.com

Radio: Nashville: 97.1 FM, XM: 199, Sirius 219

Kickoff weather forecast: 77 degrees and sunny

Rankings: Alabama is ranked second in the AP Poll, and third in USA Today's

The line: Alabama by 29 (over-under of 41.5)

Sagarin prediction: Alabama by 33

Series record: Alabama leads 59-19-4

About Alabama

Alabama hired coach Nick Saban to return it to glory, and 59 games into his tenure in Tuscaloosa, he's won 48 games and a national title, with a lot of people thinking this year's team has a chance to win another.

Saban's teams are usually led by dominating defense, and this squad is no exception, ranking in the top five nationally in virtually every major defensive category.

The Crimson Tide also have a staggering amount of star power on that side of the ball. Six defenders-linebackers Dont'a Hightower, Nico Johnson, and Courtney Upshaw and defensive backs Mark Barron, Tre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester--are on some sort of postseason award watch list.

Barron was a consensus first-team preseason All-American, and Hightower was given that honor by some media outlets, too, while Lester, Kirkpatrick, and Upshaw were selected to some second- and third-teams. Also, Phil Steele's College Football Preview named defensive linemen Josh Chapman and [/db]Damion Square[/db] to its preseason second team All-Southeastern Conference squad.


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