Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron figures that a player who is swept up in hype will not be of much good to the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
McCarron says the whole team needs to share the same mind-set going into Saturday's opener against Virginia Tech in Atlanta. He said Monday those expectations and preseason predictions of a third straight national title are of no consequence.
Coach Nick Saban stresses that ''external factors'' shouldn't matter at all.
But hard as the coaches and players try to ignore it, the Tide is trying to make history. Major college football has had repeat national champs 10 times since the first AP poll in 1936. None, however, has made it three in a row and none has gone wire-to-wire at No. 1 since USC in 2004.