It’s a long way from the abject poverty of a shoeshine boy to the winningest coach in Texas A&M history. And it’s a long way from Orange County, Texas to the kind of man R.C. Slocum has become. He left Texas once, only to return and stay, an Aggie for life.
Cam Robinson is a decorated All-American coming out of America's most decorated program: Alabama. But he still had questions to answer at the Scouting Combine. Saturday Down South went to Indianapolis to tell his NFL Draft story.
Billy Brewer is so much more than a former SEC coach who once drew the NCAA's ire. His efforts to improve race relations changed Ole Miss and the conference forever. That will always be his greatest and most important victory. And it's a victory worth celebrating.
Joshua Dobbs isn't Dak Prescott 2.0, but he showed in Mobile why he's good enough to get chance in NFL
The 'Dak Prescott Effect' is a real thing. Here at the Senior Bowl, practically every team in the NFL is looking for the next Dak Prescott. Could it be Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs? We went to Mobile to find out.
It's fair to wonder if Bret Bielema has already taken Arkansas as far as it can go. Radical change isn't in his DNA. Being squeeky clean is great and all, but he isn't in the Big Ten anymore. This is the SEC. It just means more.
As we turn the page and look ahead to the 2017 campaign, here's a snapshot for each of the SEC's 14 member institutions in a hundred words or so.
There will be no dancing on the Crimson Tide's grave. They're not dead yet. So long as Nick Saban is in charge, the road to the title goes through Tuscaloosa.
With a victory tonight over Clemson, Nick Saban will earn his sixth national championship, matching Bear Bryant as the only two coaches, in any era, to accomplish that feat. Alabama would also become just the third wire-to-wire No. 1 team. What's at stake tonight? History.
After imitating Deshaun Watson, Alabama's Jalen Hurts now trying to beat him in biggest game of his life
After one of the best campaigns ever assembled by a freshman passer in the SEC, Jalen Hurts is no longer imitating Deshaun Watson. He's facing him in the biggest game of his life with a national title at stake.
Mal Moore had seen enough. He had seen enough to know he had to fire Mike Shula, and he had seen enough to know he had to hire Nick Saban. How? For 38 days, that question drove his every move. This is the inside story of how a determined Alabama athletic director didn't quit until he landed his man -- and created a football dynasty for the ages in the process.
The Big Championship Preview: Clemson has the higher ceiling, but will Alabama's D give Deshaun Watson time to reach it?
By now we’ve all seen the script unfold enough times in the biggest games to know exactly what a thorough, convincing Alabama victory looks like. Contrary to the way we’re used to thinking and talking about Alabama, though, it might actually be Clemson that comes in with the higher ceiling. The key question in Monday's national title game is will Alabama's vaunted defense give Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson enough time to reach it.
Alabama is back on the cusp of another national championship and in a rematch with Clemson, no less. It’s a game with more historical implications, but for the Crimson Tide, it provides the opportunity to complete a perfect journey. This is the story of a season that started with questions at quarterback and could end with a fifth national title during Nick Saban's decade of dominance.
The top 10 is pretty set, right? Here's a look at our way-too-early top 25 college football rankings for 2017.
Everybody is talking about the rematch, but that's only one storyline worth following. Here are the five most interesting as we begin the countdown to next Monday's national championship game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson.
Let's start with this: Washington isn't Michigan State. The Huskies are a far superior team in every facet than the one Alabama destroyed in last year's semifinal. Are they good enough to upset Alabama? Maybe not. But they're good enough to make the Peach Bowl a four-quarter fight.
Let's pick the bowl games, shall we?
Washington, Ohio State and Clemson each have a dominant defense. Yet each dominates in different ways. All three pose a specific problem for Alabama's offense to solve.
Alabama not only is unbeaten, the Crimson Tide have looked unbeatable. Yet as the College Football Playoff nears, there are three other worthy participants, each capable of posing a serious threat to the Tide's bid to repeat as national champion. We take a look at each team and explain what makes them so dangerous.
Under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have enjoyed a decade of dominance in an age of parity. But it all began with the help of one of college football’s greatest recruiting classes, a 2008 haul led by Julio Jones and Courtney Upshaw.
The SEC pioneered the concept of divisions in 1992. Not long after, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 added them as well. The intended goal was to pit the two division winners in a championship game. The reality is the divisions aren't equal -- and haven't been for a while. There's a better way to crown a champion, and eliminating divisions is the first step.
If you want to know what history looks like, check out the college football program in Tuscaloosa. It's being made as we live and breathe.
As Florida's quarterback search continues, it leads to South Florida, where a former Gators signal-caller had a big hand in developing prized recruit Jake Allen. Will Allen be the answer in 2017 and beyond? He certainly believes he's capable.
The Playoff field is set. But before we look ahead at whether Alabama can win its fifth national title during Nick Saban's decade of dominance, let's look back. This edition of Monday Down South's weekly review of the SEC honors the best plays, players, and moments of 2016.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Championship Weekend notebook.
No true freshman quarterback has won an SEC Championship Game. That very likely will change Saturday, when Jalen Hurts leads No. 1 Alabama against Florida. Hurts has been spectacular as a true freshman, but his biggest victory was convincing Nick Saban he was ready to go.
It's time to wonder if this is the best defense coach Nick Saban has ever had during his decade of dominance at Alabama. This group seems to be unleashing a special blend of hell. The only thing that's missing, for now, is another national crown. And the Tide are working on addressing that, one punishing stop at a time.
We make our predictions for this weekend's conference championship games.
I enjoy the back-and-forth on Twitter, the exchange of opinions, the sharing of thoughts in real time. Some turn out better than others. Here are 25 tweets about the 2016 college football season that I'd like to delete ... and 10 I should pin.
In the preseason, we ranked the SEC's Top 50 players based on a value ranking. How did they do? We review their season and offer a grade.
The ultimate holiday gift guide for Alabama fans.
Alabama's defense is doing things that almost no defense has done. Ever. As in the history of college football. How great is Nick Saban's latest edition? Historically great. Monday Down South explains how before taking its weekly spin through the SEC.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 13 notebook.
The only common denominator in Alabama's occasional losses is the randomness in how it happened, and who delivered it. Still, Film Study shows that there are areas Auburn can try to exploit in Saturday's Iron Bowl. As with everything Auburn does, the plan starts with the running game. But the Tigers not only need a healthy Kamryn Pettway to do his thing, they need the threat of him doing his thing to set up Sean White in the passing game.
Nick Saban lost his first Iron Bowl, 17-10 in 2007. It was Auburn's sixth consecutive victory in the rivalry. Before winning a national title, Saban had to reclaim the state. This is the story of how he did just that during a decade of dominance.
We pick this week's games.
It's Rivalry Week, but .... With everything settled, the only drama in Week 13 is which of five SEC teams will improve its chances of making the Sugar Bowl. That topic leads Monday Down South's weekly spin through the SEC.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 12 notebook.
Shea Patterson was the most highly-coveted quarterback recruit in years. More touted than Jacob Eason or Jalen Hurts. Somehow, the Ole Miss signal-caller exceeded the hype with his debut performance at Texas A&M. The truly scary part for the rest of the SEC? What showed up on film was resounding evidence that he's just getting started.
Nick Saban decided that these guys were ready to play. Here is Saturday Down South's All-Freshman Team for Alabama during his decade of dominance in Tuscaloosa. He has another great one in Jalen Hurts, who is leading Saban's most prolific offensive attack yet.
Let's predict the week 12 games.
Alabama is not simply winning. The undefeated Tide are winning with such convincing authority that they've widened the gap against their SEC West colleagues to a frightening, historic level. And they're not done yet. Bama's dominance is merely one aspect of Monday Down South's weekly tour through the SEC.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 11 notebook.
Florida's offense lacks a lot of things, most of all explosiveness. While there are multiple factors and offenders, sometimes it really is as simple as not having a quarterback capable of making plays.
Nick Saban's decade of dominance at Alabama has included an SEC-record eight consecutive 10-win seasons. Saturday he's expected to stretch that streak to nine. The only thing stopping Saban from breaking Bobby Bowden's record of 14 consecutive is himself. He'd have to keep it up through the 2022 campaign.
We make our picks for this weekend's games.
Leonard Fournette was seeing double. Sometimes triple. Sometimes more. Alabama swarmed the LSU star running back, leaving him nowhere to run. It's what Bama does and it's just part of Monday Down South's weekly spin through the SEC.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 10 notebook.
Here are the updated results on the season along with our Week 10 picks.
Let's just say Alabama loses, what happens next? November almost always brings football surprises, and whatever the landscape looks like on the first Saturday of December, it will almost certainly be bearing the scars of storms that have yet to form over the next few Saturdays, in the SEC and elsewhere.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 9 notebook.
In a little more than a month, Auburn has surged from also-rans with an embattled head coach to become the fastest-rising team in the nation behind the best major-conference running game around.
We make our predictions for the Week 9 slate of SEC games.
Coming up with an All-Nick Saban team that best represents his tenure with Alabama was a tall task. Some All-Americans and first-rounders -- even a Heisman Trophy winner -- ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Leonard Fournette steamrolled any doubts like he did that poor Ole Miss defensive back. He's back. My goodness, is he back. Alabama? The Tide never went anywhere. Buckle up as Monday Down South takes its weekly spin through the SEC.
There were only three matchups between Top 25 teams Saturday, and all three of them were in college football's best division: the SEC West. Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 8 notebook.
Trevor Knight leads one of the most explosive offenses in college football. On film, the thing that stands out is that most of the Aggies' big runs have come on the same play: A basic zone read staple that exploits Knight’s athleticism and decision-making. Knight's decision-making will be the key to the Aggies' level of success Saturday at No. 1 Alabama.
We predict the Week 8 games.
In alphabetical order, here are my Top 10 players in the conference halfway through the schedule. Debate as you see fit.
Every team is beatable. Even No. 1-ranked Alabama, which is crushing opponents at a frightening rate. The question is, how? How in the world do you beat a team this good in every phase? Monday Down South explore that topic and dozens of others.
It might be time to think about breaking up the divisions differently. My suggestion? 'Bama in one, then the remaining 13 teams in the other. Welcome to The Hangover, a collection of news, notes and quotes from around the league.
For years, Nick Saban's defensive mission was to build a wall along the line of scrimmage. Now, through purposeful and schematic adjustments, his Crimson Tide defenders are crashing through it. They're not only shutting down opponents but scoring on them, too. The defense is performing just the way it was designed to operate.
We make our picks for Week 7.
Trevor Knight has Texas A&M rolling, right toward an Oct. 22 showdown with Alabama, the team he beat to launch his college career. That and much more is in this week's edition of Monday Down South, the most comprehensive look at what mattered most in the SEC.
Program by program, here are some of the more memorable nuggets and tidbits that I scribbled into my Week 6 notebook.
Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart square off Saturday for the first time as head coaches. Neither envisioned such a scenario back at Valdosta State.
LSU's domination of Missouri was so thorough that it seemed like more of a sign of things to come, rather than a one-week blip. So what was the big difference between Les Miles' stalled offenses and the one Ed Orgeron cut loose last Saturday? Film study dived in to find the answers.
Predictions for what we expect to happen in Week 6.
Tennessee has been remarkable ... even without doing anything remarkably well thus far. But the Vols are 5-0 and ranked No. 9 after their latest and most unbelievable comeback win yet. That's just one of many things we're discussing in this week's edition of Monday Down South.
With Louisville, Stanford and Wisconsin losing over the course of the weekend, unbeatens Alabama, Tennessee and Texas A&M will all be comfortably in the Top 10. As a result, Vols-Aggies next week takes on added significance.
Far too often this season, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have found themselves dodging traffic almost as soon as the ball is in their hands and doing all they can just to avoid a loss. Film study shows how and why it's happening, and offers solutions on how to fix it against Tennessee.
We make our Week 5 picks.
Say this much for Les Miles’ tenure at LSU: It died as it lived, amid a fit of last-second chaos and confusion that nearly defied description. It was as perfect as it was flawed, just like his final few years.
Perhaps proving that the West is still vastly superior to the East, a 1-2 Ole Miss team destroyed a 3-0 Georgia squad in Oxford. Despite their two losses already, the Rebels proved that they're not dead and buried yet.
Auburn's quarterback issues have been front and center, but the Tigers' offense has many more problems than that. Opponents seem to have figured out Gus Malzahn's tricks and are sniffing out plays before the snap. The result? Auburn has more negative plays than anybody in the country. Film study takes a look at how it's happening and determines whether Malzahn can fix it.
Now with four national championships to his credit at Alabama and perhaps on his way to a fifth, Nick Saban's infamous seven-point defeat to Louisiana-Monroe is all the more unexplainable. We can certainly try, though.
We make our picks for the week 4 slate.
Alabama is evolving -- and that's a scary thing for anybody trying to keep up with the win machine Nick Saban has created in Tuscaloosa.
Among the four intra-division matchups, the most highly anticipated was Alabama at Ole Miss. Challenged for the first time this season, the Crimson Tide came back from a 21-point deficit to break their losing streak to the Rebels.
Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly can’t defy the odds again without taking his shots, and hitting on at least a few of them Saturday against Alabama. Film study shows the potential -- and potential risks -- in how the Rebels' plan to attack Nick Saban and the Tide.
This week, we begin getting more into conference play, and some spreads are pretty interesting.
Nick Saban is angry, and Kentucky fans should be. Monday Down South takes its weekly spin through the SEC, touching on every corner and weird play that happened.
Most SEC teams have brought out the black jerseys at one time or another, like South Carolina did in its season-opening victory over Vanderbilt. But some schools have never worn black and at other places like Vandy and Missouri black is a permanent part of the uniform color scheme.
The Wildcats haven't beaten the Gators since 1986. That's 29 straight losses in arguably the most lopsided annual series showcased by the conference. If UK falls to UF on Saturday, we're talking three full decades. Two players who helped beat the Gators in 1986 still can't believe it's gone on this long.
Josh Dobbs is not a transcendent, improvisational athlete who can consistently salvage positive plays from breakdowns up front. He’s a stay-within-the-offense quarterback whose success will come as part of the whole, not in spite of it. That means his line, which was dominated in the opener, must play better for the Vols to reach their lofty goals.
We make our predictions for the big SEC games in Week 2.
The best Monday morning SEC recap each week.
Dave Aranda built one of the nation's best defenses at Wisconsin despite not having access to the nation's best recruits. He'll have that at LSU, however. Film study explains why the combination of his schemes and their skill has many thinking Aranda is the missing piece of the Tigers' championship puzzle.
Here are our picks and predictions for each Week 1 game.
At the college level, when the demands are so much more both on and off the field, it's fair to wonder if trying to be good at two sports might prevent Brandon McIlwain from being truly great at one.
Alabama football was reeling. From 1997-2006, the Crimson Tide endured more losing seasons than 10-win seasons. One hire -- one man -- changed everything. This is how Nick Saban saved Alabama.
Each Monday during the season, we’ll put the previous weekend’s games into context in our weekly wrap-up. For the first installment, though, we’ll begin by looking forward, not back, toward opening weekend.
The AP ranked the top 100 college football programs of all time.
Kirby Smart is bringing Nick Saban's defensive pattern-match system to Georgia. But players make the scheme. The key questions are: Does Smart have them already in place in Athens, or will he need a couple of years to fully get it going?
Leonard Fournette is the best offensive player in college football, but teammate Brandon Harris holds the key to the Tigers' playoff hopes. The junior quarterback has to be better -- significantly better -- than what his tape showed last season.
Derek Mason is so widely regarded as a defensive mastermind that NFL and college coaches are borrowing his concepts. Film study examines how he's making his flexible two-gap system work at Vanderbilt.
Be it for just one season or perhaps a full four-year run, these are the players that every program in the SEC would love to include on its roster. Each is a potential All-American. Some are locks for NFL stardom.
Tim Williams' monster year in 2015 didn't happen by accident. Alabama's coaches took advantage of their depth and his explosiveness to create the nation's best pass-rushing specialist.
From true freshmen poised to make a bigger impact down the road to senior leaders looking to get one last shot at glory before realizing NFL dreams, real "value" in the SEC can be difficult to decipher at times.
What if you were building a new football program from scratch? What if you had to consider not only what a player can do for you this season, but perhaps another season or two -- maybe even three -- down the road? Saturday Down South reveals its first Player Value Rankings, starting with players No. 50-31.