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There will always be 'Bama fans willing to purchase tickets from those who don't want to see games against the likes of Fresno State or Mercer. There are many for whom these kinds of games where wealthier or better-connected fans are not interested in attending is the only chance they have to watch in person.
Since this article came out, Florida and Florida State have also decided to cancel their games.
If the media wants to make predictions about how teams will fare in the upcoming season, that's fine, but what is the point of having a preseason all-conference team? It's based either on what someone did last year and thinking they'll do the same or better this coming season, or on all kinds of hype that may not pan out. And can someone really call being on a preseason all-conference team a legitimate honor and accomplishment?While I am at it, I may be a Tide fan, but Jalen Hurts being selected first-team all-SEC really shows that the conference is down in proven QB talent. Sure, he had an overall-solid season last year in that he won a conference title and came within one second of a national title and 15-0 season, but his passing numbers dropped dramatically in the second half of the season (not all his fault, as we later found out about the infighting between Saban and Kiffin/Sarkesian was the main culprit) and he made a lot of rookie mistakes that his stellar defense was able to bail him out of. He'll do better this year with the experience now under his belt, but he really at this point does not stack up to other first-team all-SEC QBs from recent years...but neither does anyone else in the league. It will be interesting to see which signal-callers step up to put themselves in the race for post-season honors, and which ones falter.
What, no "Beat 'Bama" as one of the things Malzahn needs to do? Never thought I'd see the day when Auburn fans no longer require an Iron Bowl win to be happy with their coach....
How I see it:Saban: 0 Bielema: 3 Malzahn: 3 (4 if one isn't over Alabama) McElwain: 2 Smart: 1 (if they were that patient with Richt....) Stoops: 3 Orgeron: 3 Mullen: 1 Odom: 3 Freeze: 4 (gotta get something for what's going to put you on probation) Muschamp: 1 Jones: 4 (5 if one isn't over Alabama) Sumlin: 5 (pretty much needs to win the West) Mason: 3
LSU would have had the ball down by six and needing to drive 69 yards on the best defense in the country to win. May have been a game-changer...or not. Get over it.
Saban switched to the spread after losing to Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl and thinking that he would have to start using it if he was going to continue being successful. Ironically though, it was not his offense that needed upgrading but his defense, which was getting exposed as being too slow (especially at the corners) to handle spread offenses. His pro-set offense built on the idea of perfect balance between running and passing was actually working fine for his overall philosophy of controlling the ball (and with it the tempo), minimizing mistakes and turnovers, and keeping opposing defenses guessing while letting the defense have as much rest as possible. Saban appears to be going back to that, though unfortunately the three QBs he had to run it all transferred last year because it was apparent that the spread offense with Hurts running it was going to be the way things were done for at least the next few years. Regardless of who Saban hires, his new OC is going to either have to be able to get Hurts or the Tua kid coached up on running the pro-set, or finding another QB who can and rely on his running backs to pick up the slack until they do.
The real wild-card here is the Alabama offense under Sarkesian. The Tide has looked out of synch offensively since the bye week after A&M, and last Saturday was the worst. Hurts looked totally confused, the play-calling was highly questionable and at times down-right bizarre (Stewart in a conventional running play?) and were it not for the incredible play of the defense, the Tide would likely be watching this game from Tuscaloosa on Monday. There have been all kinds of suggestions that this was from distractions created by Kiffin, especially after he got the FAU job, and while we may not know the truth for some time yet (it will come out sooner or later) this change by Saban is the one to watch to see whether Sark can gel with his offense or if the struggles continue.
There is no "plan" for beating Alabama. The Tide has won and lost low-scoring games, and it has won and lost shootouts. The way you have a chance for beating Alabama is: play your game. Don't be intimidated. Don't think you have to put all your energy into getting off to a fast start, as the Tide lets teams do their thing for the first few series to see what they're plan is before hitting the "on" switch for its game. Understand it's a 60-minute game and pace yourself, because you have almost no hope of getting an early big lead and playing to hang on to it (ask Ole Miss this year). Clemson has the talent to hang with 'Bama into the fourth quarter and have a great chance to win if they play with confidence; if they try to burn all the fuel in the first quarter, they'll be sucking down the oxygen while watching the Tide pull away from them by the start of the fourth quarter.
Simmons is just another of those ex-ESPN guys who got his ass canned that's now desperately trying to get attention for himself. Let the little troll have his 15 seconds of fame before he goes back to his has-been career.
While Kiffin's reputation may have had a hand in it, the big reason why he didn't land the Houston job is because the Cougars have gotten tired of their good coaches getting snatched away by big-money, Power Five schools and wanted a long-term deal that guaranteed Kiffin would have been there for several years. Kiffin saw Houston as a stepping-stone back into a Power Five job and didn't want to be locked in when one opened up. If he does well at FAU, don't expect him to be there long before he's off for better pastures.
Yeah, beating a 'Bama team in Mike Shula's first year that wound up going 4-9 isn't exactly as resume builder. Still, a win's a win, so that can translate into confidence for Canada and LSU.
My question would be whether the stats loaded for Alabama were based on what they are relative to a college program while those for Cleveland were based on those relative to an NFL team. If so, then Alabama's numbers would have been skewed much higher than what they would be in reality playing on an NFL level.
As I said on a similar article earlier, it's not Alabama and Saban being so good that caused the rest of the league to be mediocre this year, it's the serendipity of most of the other teams seeing their internal problems and bad decisions all coming to roost in this one season. Some, like Gary Pinkel's retirement after being diagnosed with cancer, were not the school's fault; most, however, were self-inflicted from internal power struggles, bad coaching hires, and bad off-field decisions (Bobby Petrino's motorcycle ride and what it revealed). It's easy to blame Alabama rather than oneself for the problems that each SEC experienced this season.
The problem with that is, what we would be right back here with would no longer be whether Penn State, Michigan, and/or Wisconsin get in, it would be whether Oklahoma, USC, and/or Colorado get in and whether they got screwed by being left out. We see it all the time in college basketball how the field has expanded to 68 teams, how every year there is weeping and wailing about how the #8 team in a power conference got left out in favor of a third team from the Missouri Valley or Atlantic 10, and how the field should go to 96 or even 128 teams. There will always be controversy no matter the size of the field, just have to accept it.
So a two-loss Wisconsin team would get in ahead of a one-loss, non-conference-champ Alabama team, but a one-loss Ohio State team that didn't even win its division would still make it? Hmmmmmm....
The problem with this is that unless you eliminate a regular season game (and the income that goes with it) the two teams playing in the national final would play as many as 16 games on the season. That's physically demanding on NFL players who are fully-grown men and are paid to spend all their time pursuing football; it's murder on still-physically-developing 18-22 year-olds who by NCAA rule can spend no more than 20 hours a week in practice PLUS have a full-time job as students. And no matter how many teams you put in, someone is always going to argue there aren't enough. Numbers 5 and 6 are complaining now; grow it to eight teams and suddenly numbers 9 and 10 are screaming they deserve a chance while more and more people advocate for going to 16 teams. I think an 8-team playoff will inevitably happen for no other reason than what your last sentence indicated, but it won't solve anything any more than the current 4-team system does or the BCS did before it.
Ummm...you do realize that the Peach Bowl is now a New Years Six game, is hosting a national semifinal this year, and will 99.99% likely be Alabama's destination even if the Tide loses this weekend? Then again, I guess you *would* be more happy seeing Auburn playing in it. :D
While blaming Saban and Alabama might be fashionable, it is also lazy and wrong. A deeper look at the SEC reveals that each program's struggles have chiefly come from within, not from Tuscaloosa:* Auburn: Tommy Tuberville was fired from the Plains in 2008 as a result of a power struggle with the Board of Trustees that started when Saban was still at LSU. Made a horrible hire of a 5-19 head coach in Gene Chizik who did win a national title with a once-in-a-generation player in Cam Newton, but within two years was 3-9 (only one loss that season was to Alabama). Hired Gus Malzahn whose gimmicky offense was fantastic with Newton and then Nick Marshall under center, but no one else.* Arkansas: Need I remind everyone of Bobby Petrino's motorcycle ride and then the craziness that was John L. Smith's interim hire? Not something you can lay at Saban's feet. Bielema has brought the Hogs back somewhat, but their lack of defense is their undoing.* Florida: Maybe you can blame Saban for Urban Meyer leaving because he didn't think he could dominate the SEC anymore; personally I think it was because he couldn't deal with life after Tim Tebow and his recruiting stunk the last couple seasons. Will Muschamp was left to pick up the pieces, but he was an ill fit from the start. Jim McIlwain is the second Saban assistant to try to right the ship, so perhaps some of what the article says applies here, but I think it was more just a rare misfire from Jeremy Foley.*Georgia: Alabama rarely plays the Dawgs, and perhaps 'Bama's 38-10 beatdown of Georgia in Athens had a lot to do with Mark Richt's ultimate demise. But Georgia fans had been having a love-hate relationship with Richt for years as he won just enough to keep him job but never quite reached the top. It was more his lack of success against Florida that finally did him in.LSU: Perhaps Miles' lack of success since the "Game of the Century" in 2011 had something to do with his getting fired (though it was a loss to Auburn that triggered that) but more likely it was Miles' being unwilling to fire Cam Cameron as OC when he was clearly out of ideas on how to make the offense work along with Miles' legendarily horrible clock management that caused more of the ill will he felt. Again, keeping up with Saban may have played a role, but it was Miles' own shortcomings that eventually led to his downfall.Tennessee: Once again, this started before Saban even arrived in Tuscaloosa, as Phil Fulmer was in hot water with Vols faithful over his team's steady decline since just missing out on a BCS Championship Game slot in 2001 (loss to LSU in the SEC Champioship Game...coached by Saban) and the allegations regarding academic improprieties that were swirling around campus. He was fired before Saban even won his first national title at Alabama. Lane Kiffin was a horrible hire, as was Derek Dooley. Butch Jones has no connections to Saban, but he has lacked success against more than just 'Bama in his tenure. Jones just simply is not living up to expectations, especially with all the talent he has.Texas A&M: Just as Meyer couldn't adjust to life after Tebow, Kevin Sumlin can't adjust to life after Johnny Manziel (and Mike Evans). He's got tons of talent, but while he gets off to great starts, he can't finish them in the second half of the season. Again, that's on Sumlin, not on trying to match Saban.Ole Miss: Perhaps you can blame this on Saban, if you think Hugh Freeze decided to keep up with him by risking getting the Rebs busted by the NCAA. The distraction this caused (along with some injuries) has been their downfall this year.Mississippi State: Mediocre as always except when Dak Prescott was there. Nothing really unusual about State being where they are now.South Carolina: Spurrier turned 70 and decide he was ready for golf. 'Nuff said.Missouri: Gary Pinkel's cancer forced his retirement.Vandy: James Franklin left for Penn State. Derek Mason is slowly getting the 'Dores back to that level, but hey, it's still Vandy.Kentucky: Still struggling with life after Rich Brooks. Otherwise, it's Kentucky.
I think it's likely that Kiffin will leave even if he doesn't get a HC job. It's obvious there is friction between Saban and him; Kiffin likes a more pass-oriented offense, while Saban prefers balance in all phases of the offense. Bama fans are also torn on Kiffin; on one hand, he has worked wonders in putting in place a high-powered, exciting offense, but on the other he has a tendency to stick with passing even when his QB is clearly struggling and ignoring the running game even when it is shredding the opposing defense. It will be interesting both to see if Kiffin hangs around another year, and if he doesn't, whether Steve Sarkesian follows him to LSU or succeeds him as the Tide's new OC.
Michigan is Canada's Alabama? So the Wolverines are the greatest college football team up there?
Coming into this season, every year since 1984 when LSU beat Alabama, a Republican won the White House, and a Democrat won when Alabama was victorious. But didn't happen this year. In other words, it's a meaningless coincidence.
Losing season. How the hell did autocorrect come up with Los Nguyen???
Add to the list of screw-ups, mistakes, and failures for which Brian Kelly refuses to take responsibility during his increasingly-awful tenure at ND. Bet he blames the players and not his awful coaching for this Los Nguyen season that started with many projecting the Irish to be in the playoff (though to be fair, half the media always projects them to be a national title contender). If ND doesn't fire Kelly after this incident and terrible season, will it take him being found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy to finally do so? Though I'm sure some school priests could arrange the latter....
Actually, Vandy may have become bowl-eligible with its win yesterday, as it seems likely there won't be enough 6-win teams to fill all the bowl slots and the remaining ones would be filled with 5-win teams who have the highest APRs.
"Alabama takes on Chattanooga later. The Crimson Tide should have no trouble winning, which could push the line even further in their favor in the coming days."Ummm...no. No one is going to change which side of the line they bet on based on what happens tonight, even if it were competitive for a while since everyone would just chalk it up to 'Bama looking ahead to Auburn and not taking the Mocs seriously enough. What will move the line are the games next week, with the aforementioned Iron Bowl and the Florida-FSU tilt.