TUSCALOOSA — Alabama plays Western Carolina at 11:21 a.m. Saturday, and that’s good for scoreboard-watching Crimson Tide fans.
The two leading contenders for the BCS National Championship Game (Oregon and Kansas State) don’t play their games until 7 p.m., and TV networks are carrying both contests nationally.
But will Alabama players join the flood to see if one or both of those teams might lose? They’ve spent the week saying they aren’t going to do that. No scoreboard-watching for them. No, sir, they’re not doing that — even though a loss by either team or both could send the Tide to Miami for the title game.
“We’re just focused on now and what we have ahead, not on Miami. If we take care of everything, Miami will take care of itself,” said Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, who has admitted in the past he’s not a fan of any college football game in which he isn’t in uniform.
Count Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson as another who doesn’t want to watch any college football once he takes off the pads Saturday afternoon.
“It’s hard to really with school and the way we do football here,” he said. “It’s always football, football, football. The only way I’d get to see something on TV is on Fridays in the hotel, and there’s really not much on.”
Alabama safety Robert Lester said he doesn’t plan to let his attention drift to Oregon, Kansas State or the No. 3 BCS contender, Notre Dame, either.
“I definitely don’t want to,” he said. “We need to focus on what we need to do to at least have a chance of getting to what we want to get to. By doing that, we need to focus on winning these games ahead of us, and whatever happens at the end of the season happens.”
Lacy, Johnson and Lester played for the 2010 Crimson Tide team that might’ve looked ahead.
That team fell to South Carolina in the sixth game of the year, but felt that the loss wouldn’t kill a national title hope.
But Alabama eventually lost at LSU, knocking the Tide out of the title race.
A loss to Auburn later added to the misery.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said after the season the team spent too much time worrying about results than the process.
Instead of working to fix the mistakes from the South Carolina loss, Alabama looked ahead.
This week, Saban has emphasized that lesson. He has mentioned briefly that Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M doesn’t rule the Tide out of the hunt for No. 1.
But otherwise, he has limited his comments to what his team should do now — and it doesn’t include scoreboard-watching.
“I just think our players need to focus on what they need to do to play well,” he said.