Saban made news in the days leading up to Saturday's game against Tennessee when he complained about the Crimson Tide's late-arriving and early-leaving student fans.
"Everybody else should have the same sort of commitment" as the people in his program, Saban said during his radio show Thursday. "You don't have to do the work all week, you don't have to practice, you don't have to come in at 7 in the morning and leave at 11 at night, you don't have to do any of that stuff.
"All you have to do is come to the game, drink beer, do whatever you want, party in the parking lot. … All I'm asking is that you just come and have fun and stay for the whole game."
On Friday, the university backed up its coach, suspending the block seating privileges of 20 student organizations. Those groups had reserved seating, mostly in the south end zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium, which has a capacity of 101,821.
The seats Saturday were still saved for students, but on a first-come basis. And they appeared mostly filled, staying that way to the end of a 45-10 victory over Tennessee by the top-ranked Tide.
Despite Alabama's great success, apathy by students isn't new. Last season, only 69.4% of about 17,000 student seats were typically filled, according to a report in the Crimson White, a university newspaper. Even a hyped matchup such as the November 2011 game between No. 1-ranked Alabama and No. 2 Louisiana State was witnessed by only 12,646 fans with student tickets.
The situation prompted the university's Student Government Assn. to launch a "Play for Four, Stay for Four" program heading into this season.
Yet, even after students were warned before a game against Arkansas eight days ago that they could lose their block-seating privileges, only a smattering remained in the south end zone late in that game.
See, we laid-back Southern Californians aren't the only ones.
He called it
Minnesota seems to have found a winning combination with defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys running things from the sideline and Coach Jerry Kill watching from above and giving inspirational — even prophetic — speeches.
Kill has epilepsy, and he has been on medical leave since having the fifth game-day seizure of his career, before the Gophers played Michigan on Oct 5.
After getting routed by the Wolverines, 42-13, Minnesota had a week off to regroup before playing at Northwestern.
Instead of staying home, Kill and his wife Rebecca drove to Evanston, Ill., for the game, and the coach ended up talking to the team at halftime and again after its 20-17 victory.
After the game, Kill told his players how proud he was and that they hadn't deserved "all the stuff you had to deal with with this situation."
He also said: "Just keep with it. You're getting better and better and if you keep doing that, you know, we're going back home and we'll beat Nebraska."
That was the prophetic part.
Minnesota held its second annual epilepsy awareness event Saturday at TCF Stadium, then went out and broke a 16-game losing streak against Nebraska dating to 1960, defeating the No. 24 Cornhuskers, 34-23, with Kill watching from the coaches' booth.
Johnny be good (again)