Alabama Football: Nick Saban Has a "Bring It On" Mentality over 2012 Schedule

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IJanuary 2, 2012

Saban may not like the schedule, but he'll not complain and play the cards he's dealt. Gardner/Reuters)
Saban may not like the schedule, but he'll not complain and play the cards he's dealt. Gardner/Reuters)

Larry Burton (Syndicated Writer)  When I questioned Nick Saban once over his love of scheduling tough opening games to start the season, he said, "I know some people question starting off the season with a tough game, but I think it gives the players something to focus on and work hard for in the offseason... And you'd have to believe that it gets them ready for the tough games ahead as well as letting us know where we need to focus additional work."

Nick Saban has never been been one to shy away from tough games and tough situations. Last year when Alabama had to play a record number of SEC teams the week after they had a bye week, he told a group of us reporters, "It is what it is. We'll play those games and it it won't be an excuse."

So this past Tuesday when the SEC announced the official schedule and Alabama's looked tough and didn't have a bye week as usual before the LSU game, it wasn't surprising when Nick Saban said last week in his press conference that, "If we would've had a bye week before LSU, we would've gone from Oct. 6 to Nov. 10 without having a home game," Saban said. "Those were the choices."

"It's a different schedule than we thought we were going to have. Games get moved around. But this is a one-year thing, and I'm sure the league office did the best job that they could do taking all the teams in our league into consideration ... to put the best schedule together that was the fairest and most competitive for everyone," Saban concluded.

Clearly, Saban is not in the mood to make excuses and feels that his team will be alright with whatever cards their dealt.

Even if that means LSU gets their same off week that falls before they play Alabama at home with two weeks to prepare for the Tide.

For some reason, the Tide just never seems to catch a break with the scheduling from the SEC.

From 2007 through 2010, 16 of Alabama's SEC opponents were coming off a bye week. Last season, six of the Tide's eight league foes were coming off a bye week.

Next season, only Florida and Alabama play both newcomers to the SEC, Missouri and Texas A&M, both of whom won their bowl games and appear to be worthy competitors next year.

Next season Alabama has four tough games away from Tuscaloosa and only three possible tough ones at home. Here's the schedule:





Sept. 1


Arlington, Texas

Sept. 8

Western Kentucky


Sept. 15


Fayetteville, Ark., or Little Rock, Ark.

Sept. 22

Florida Atlantic


Sept. 29

*Ole Miss


Oct. 6


Oct. 13


Columbia, Mo.

Oct. 20


Knoxville, Tenn.

Oct. 27

*Mississippi State


Nov. 3


Baton Rouge, La.

Nov. 10

*Texas A&M


Nov. 17

Western Carolina


Nov. 24



                                         * SEC game

Whatever the outcome from the schedule next season, don't expect Saban to make excuses. It's that "Bring it On" mentality that's helped Alabama climb itself back to the top year after year.