Countdown to kickoff: 85

From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down the days before Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 85 and what it means to UA football.

The offseason could often be summed up as the "Race to 85" -- as in the number of scholarship players allowed on a team. Whether it's transfers, players dropping out or simply falling off the face of the earth, it seems like every summer involves some kind of Internet chatter harping on Alabama's process of getting to 85.

This year has been relatively quiet on the attrition front, though, with quarterback Phillip Sims being the only big-name UA player to transfer. And with AJ McCarron clearly the starter for the next two years, who can blame him?

Other than Sims, the fuel for fodder has been slim. Former five-star offensive lineman Tyler Love gave up football, as did Undra Billingsley. But both did so having graduated and neither has slammed the door on the way out. Yes, Duron Carter and Michael Bowman remain somewhere floating in limbo, still awaiting reinstatement, but no one is throwing the "player processing" threat Nick Saban's way.

With 85 days until kickoff, we'll wait and see how long the calm waters last. The target on Saban's back is bigger than ever, as is the microscope on his every move. But so far, the race to 85 has been a relatively quiet process.