NEW ORLEANS -- Alabama wants to be in the conversation when its all said and done.
The Crimson Tide missed out on its chance to play in the BCS national championship game, but the Tide still wants to be considered one of the best teams in the country.
"I saw something someone sent me, that Vegas said if we played Florida State or Auburn again we'd still be favored in points," Tide quarterback AJ McCarron said. "So we have a chance to show the country we are the best team. We might not win the national championship, but we can have everyone talking about us more than the national championship team. And that's happened in the past. We still have the opportunity to do that. So we have to go out the right away."
Linebacker Denzel Devall wants to get rid of the bad taste the Iron Bowl left.
"We feel like we didn't play like ourselves in the last game," Devall said. "We want to come out and make a statement in this game."
Oklahoma offensive lineman Gabe Ikard said the only scenario he envisioned the Sooners playing the Crimson Tide would be in Pasadena for the BCS National Championship. Ikard recognizes the Tide's greatness.
"Obviously, they're a great team -- probably the best team in the country besides one crazy play," Ikard said. "We're very excited for the opportunity and realize how talented they are, the stats they've had the last five years. We've got a lot to prove in this game."
Nationally, the Tide's defense ranks No. 2 in scoring defense (11.3 points per game) behind only Florida State, No. 11 in rushing defense (108.33 yards per game), No. 4 in pass defense (166.3) and No. 5 in total defense (274.7).
Offensively, Alabama ranks
in the top 25 national in scoring offense and rushing offense making for a balance team.
For Tide safety Landon Collins, the goal is to establish the Tide's dominance on both sides of the ball.
"To show everybody we're one of the top defenses in the country, one of the top teams in the country," Collins said. "Be dominate. That's what we're trying to do in this game."