Youthful Crimson Tide rising ahead of schedule

Originally Published: August 31, 2008
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban wanted to play No. 9 Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic for several reasons. He wanted the national prime-time exposure of the opening Saturday night. He wanted his No. 24 Crimson Tide to have a presence in this recruiting hotbed. He wanted his young team that has 14 freshmen on the two-deep to play in a bowl-like atmosphere.

In sum, Saban wanted his team to play this game so he could prepare for a future when it would be ready to contend ...

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