From Star colleague David Lassen at the first day of media days for the Bowl Championship Series title game Thursday in Pasadena:
NEWPORT BEACH -- There's a school of thought -- particularly, it seems, among those from the Southeastern Conference, which relentlessly promotes itself as the best conference in college football -- that Alabama might somehow have a hard time getting up for the BCS championship game after beating Florida for the SEC title.
To that end, Alabama coach Nick Saban -- apparently big on sporting analogies --has invoked the 1980 U.S. hockey "Miracle on Ice." After that team beat the Soviet Union in its historic upset, it still had to play another game, against Finland, and if it lost, it could have finished without a medal.
This might not be the ideal reference for a bunch of young men in the South, as was pointed out when defensive back Javier Arenas was asked about it.
"I don't watch hockey," he said.
After drawing a big laugh, he added, "but of course you hear what he's saying. ... I don't watch hockey, so I don't know exactly what he's talking about, but I get the concept of the story. And it's effective."
Before the SEC title game, Saban's analogy of choice was the Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran boxing match.
"That was something I could relate to," Arenas said, approvingly.
"Each and every player on this team understands what he's saying, no matter sport it is, who he compares, who he throws in there. We get it. We understand it. We take it in. And we're going to use it."
Other quotes of note from Sunday's BCS media session:
Learning French: Arenas, on the complexity of the Crimson Tide defensive scheme: "When you first come in, you think it's like trying to learn French. ...
"For a lot of guys, it won't take that long, but for me, I've never been part of a defensive scheme such as this one. So it took me just a tad longer. But once you get it and understand it, it's very fun to be in."
Big problems: Crimson Tide defensive lineman Terrence Cody, on the challenges of life when you're 6-foot-5, 354 pounds: "You go to theme parks, you can't get on rides, because of how tall you are and how big you are. Some of those straps and pull-downs don't come down the way. ...
"I had to use the restroom on the airplane, and it was terrible. It took a while to get in there because it's not that big of a door to get in, and then once I got in, it was like, 'This is it?' "
Socked away: Texas receiver Jordan Shipley has a championship ring from the 2005 BCS title game at the Rose Bowl -- the sixth-year senior was a medical redshirt that year, sidelined by a knee injury -- but hasn't really worn it.
"Part of the reason is I'm just not real good with keeping up with my stuff," he said, "so my mom keeps it locked away."