TUSCALOOSA _ Although the Capital One Bowl isn't saying anything publicly, it appears that the University of Alabama football team is its first choice from the Southeastern Conference for the Jan. 1 game.
According to the Shreveport Times, the Cotton Bowl expects the Capital One Bowl to select the Crimson Tide if it can, and has consequently notified both LSU and the SEC that it will pick the Tigers to play against Texas A&M if LSU is still available.
"The Capital One Bowl could still take LSU," Cotton Bowl chairman Tommy Bain told the newspaper. "They have that option. It seems to me though, based on the communications we've had, that they're looking at Alabama. But that's one you never know until you make the decision."
He also said: "I can tell you that we have talked with LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, and we have communicated to him and also to the Southeastern Conference office that LSU is our No. 1 choice."
No matter the outcome of Saturday's SEC Championship Game, Auburn appears to have a BCS spot locked up. Should South Carolina win it would secure the SEC's automatic slot, otherwise the Sugar Bowl has already declared it will select Arkansas.
According to SEC rules, the Capital One Bowl has the first selection after the BCS bowls are filled. It must pick the team with the next best overall record or a team that is within one win.
So if Auburn wins, LSU is the team with the next best overall record (10-2), but it played in Orlando last year against Penn State. Alabama hasn't played there since 1995, when it defeated Ohio State 24-17, and would almost certainly be paired against Nick Saban's former team, Michigan State.
However, if South Carolina wins Saturday the Capital One Bowl will get to choose between Arkansas, LSU and Alabama. In that scenario the Tide could end up in the Outback Bowl against Iowa.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the Outback Bowl is strongly considering Penn State as its Big Ten representative, although it's a pairing that obviously wouldn't work with Alabama since the two teams already played this season.
Numerous players honored
Alabama had 14 players selected to Phil Steele's College Football Review All-SEC Team, including four on the first team and three on the second team.
Junior wide receiver Julio Jones, sophomore right guard Barrett Jones, junior defensive lineman Marcell Dareus and junior safety Mark Barron were the first-team selections.
Second team were junior running back Mark Ingram, senior left tackle James Carpenter and sophomore safety Robert Lester.
Sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower, sophomore running back Trent Richardson and junior center William Vlachos were third-team selections while the fourth team included junior nose tackle Josh Chapman, junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw, sophomore cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Marquis Maze on punt returns.
Additionally, Carpenter, tight end Preston Dial and quarterback Greg McElroy have all been invited to play in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 29, 2011, at Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Nick's Kids event
While Nick Saban was busy recruiting Friday evening as Alabama is hosting several players on their official visits, his wife Terry was helping Academy Sports donate up to 50 bikes, helmets and jackets to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of West Alabama.
"It was heartwarming if you were able to see these children running in to find just the right bicycle," she said. "We selected bicycles because we're hoping to get the kids outside for some fresh air and exercise."
It was one of two Nick's Kids events this weekend, as the organization will also host children from Brewer's Porch Children's Center at the Bama Theater for the Tuscaloosa Community Dancer's Presentation of the Nutcracker on Saturday afternoon.