Archive for December, 2016

Who’s going to win Alabama vs Washington?

I sorted of jumped around in my seat when I saw that Vegas had narrowed the prediction of Alabama’s margin-of-victory to under two touchdowns before their College Football Play-Off game with Washington in Atlanta.

There are no doubts that Washington’s a good side. Their sole loss of the season – to a USC side that probably would be playing in its place if the Trojans had had any early season form (they were good for about a quarter against Alabama on Opening Saturday!) – wasn’t great, but otherwise, Chris Petersen’s side was effective.

All the odds stack up in Alabama’s favour. It’s defense – Nick Saban’s pride and joy – is the best in the country. Washington will give you a chance, but their secondary feasts on stupid decisions by quarterbacks. They had 19 interceptions in the regular (plus Pac-12 Championship Game) season. Alabama’s defense is downright FREAKY – its linebackers and secondary players seem to average a touchdown and a Pick-6 EVERY SINGLE GAME.

On  the offensive side, Alabama’s offensive line is – as we know – incredible, and everyone from Bo Scarborough – who’s going to battle it out for a Heisman in 2017 to Calvin Ridley to OJ Howard are frigteningly good. Washington has playmaker John Ross who can destoy a mistake-making secondary, but wouldn’t Nick Saban have focused on ways for him NOT TO GET THE BALL?

The question will be, then: Who is the quarterback to avoid those problems. Jake Browning, if we’re honest, hasn’t really been the same since he was torched against USC for two interceptions and safety, while Jalen Hurts has been convincing all season. Of course, there have been moments that he’s given up the odd stupid INT, but with the offensive line as it is, I sincerely doubt that Washington’s going to get the pressure.

PREDICTION: Alabama by 21 and the only reason why it’s that close is that Saban shows respect for Petersen.

And Ohio State vs Clemson is going to be a battle royale between two great teams. If it was on coaches alone, we’d take Urban Meyer every time, but Clemson  has a better quarterback, more talented receivers, and an attacking defense and more’s the case, has got a team that’s been there before. The problem with Clemson is that Dabo Swinney can see his team take a big lead, and then becomes far more conservative, which in fact ended up hurting him in the National Championship and several games this season. It would be wise of him not to do that against the Buckeyes.

PREDICTION: Clemson by 5 in AN INSTANT CLASSIC.

Georgia star RBs, LBs return for senior year

Georgia star running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will return for their senior years, giving second-year head coach Kirby Smart a massive boost going into the 2017 season.

Added to that is the news that Smart’s defense will be boosted by the announcement that offensive linebackers Lorenzo Smart and Davin Bellamy will also return.

Last year Chubb had 988 yards and 7 TDs on 207 carries, averaging at nearly 5 yards a carry. Michel had 753 yards on 137 carries with 3 TDs.

Carter had 37 total tackles including 17 solo tackles, while Bellamy had 49 tackles and 4 sacks and one pass defended.

Lane Kiffin to leave Alabama, reports say

Lane Kiffin is to leave his job of offensive coordinator at Alabama to become the new head coach of Florida Atlantic, multiple reports have said.

Florida Atlantic will apparently pay Kiffin $1 million-per-year – a near-30% drop – from the $1.4 million-per-year he’s being paid by Nick Saban.

Kiffin was praised by legendary Miami and Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger who told Fox Sports: “He was a great player, himself, and a fine coach. He’s got a good track record and he’s qualified.

Kiffin will continue to coach the school during the College Football Play-Off – in which Alabama is an overwhelming favorite to take home the title. Nick Saban was supportive of the move.

We think this is a wonderful opportunity for him,” Saban said. “He’s done a great job here.”

It’s weird and wonderful that this news comes just a day after the SEC Blog wrote the article: Why can’t Lane Kiffin get a head coaching job?

 

 

 

Why can’t Lane Kiffin get a head coaching job?

This year the rumors were hotter than ever that Lane Kiffin would get a prized coaching job. And even hotter that they would be in Houston, following Tom Herman’s decision to go to Texas to be the new head coach.

It looked a slam-dunk. The good people at USA Today reported so. And then suddenly, there was a U-Turn in the Houston ranks, who instead decided on former UH offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to be the head coach.

The school’s logic? Houston’s board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta (great name, by the way sir) called into a radio station and said: ‘”Lane Kiffin did not show me anything that Major Applewhite did not show me. Sure, he’s been a head coach, and he’s been an OK head coach. But I can tell you this: It was not a safe hire.”

OK, so what did he mean by safe hire?

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about really being an ‘OK head coach’?  At Tennessee he moved the Vols from a 5-7 record to a 7-6 record, but his mouthing-off about Alabama and Florida didn’t help him when lost to them. And there seemed to be a bunch of hope. So when he left for SC, Kiffin was actually better than most people believe at USC – particularly after the postseason bans and loss of scholarship players in the 2010 season that dropped his would-be 85 scholarship players to just 71….and he came with an 8-5 record. The next season – with another bowl ban – USC had a 10-2 record. In 2012, he showed a lot of self-confidence — even voting the Trojans to No.1 in a preseason poll….and finished with an 8-5 record. In 2013, the most famous move for him was being fired at LAX after starting the season with a 4-7 record. And as an offensive coordinator at Alabama, he’s seen nothing but success, helping Nick Saban to a National Championship in 2015 (and probably in 2016, since the Crimson Tide looks unstoppable under his offensive tutelage) and back-to-back-to-back SEC Championships. Oh, and there’s been a Heisman Trophy thrown in there for Derrick Henry, too. But there is this fact: In two out of three of his head coaching jobs, Kiffin has been fired. And both of them have been unceremonious. Houston probably couldn’t face a controversy like that again.

….But he’s proved to be excellent offensive coordinator… As an offensive coordinator at Alabama, he’s seen nothing but success, helping Nick Saban to a National Championship in 2015 (and probably in 2016, since the Crimson Tide looks unstoppable under his offensive tutelage) and back-to-back-to-back SEC Championships. Oh, and there’s been a Heisman Trophy thrown in there for Derrick Henry, too.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about loyalty? The University of Houston probably looked at Kiffin’s one-stop ‘drop’ of Tennessee (and the way he did it) and thought to themselves: ‘As soon as ‘bigger job’ comes up, he’ll walk. And we don’t want to be seen as a ‘feeder school’ to big-time programs.

But remember this… Kiffin was fired at the Oakland Raiders. And he was fired at the Trojans. He didn’t leave them.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about his mouth and actions? OK, so here’s the problem that Houston probably thought about Lane Kiffin. While every time you’ve seen Kiffin on the sidelines next to Nick Saban, Saban’s been the one giving out the abuse (Kiffin’s taken it…much to my admiration, if I’m honest). But that hasn’t always been the case. He was called a ‘flat-out liar’ by Oakland’s ownership in 2008 because the rumors were floating about his considering college football roles…and then he denied it. That probably didn’t score any points with the Houston guys. Then, there was his arrival in Tennessee, when not only did he say in an overly-confident arrival that he would beat Florida and Alabama (he didn’t), but a few weeks after said that Urban Meyer – then the Florida coach – of cheating and NCAA violations. That probably didn’t go down well. Then he was rude about other SEC competitors.

Was the term ‘safe hire’ about his actions? And speaking of actions, there have been a bunch of accusations  – that we won’t print – about Lane Kiffin’s off-the-field behavior that certain boards of regents might be unhappy with. But then again, Major Applewhite didn’t exactly do himself any favors in that department, either.

So how will it play out? We don’t know. Kiffin’s obviously an offensive genius but he’s got the hirers really, really worried about his mouth, his history with ownership, leadership, and SEC and NCAA administrators when a head coach. Nick Saban has openly supported Lane Kiffin finding a head coaching job, and has said that he’s ‘ready again’ to take the job. That’s an excellent reference if you ask us. Florida Atlantic are said to be going for Kiffin, but the talks have stalled. How does this blog think things will go? Kiffin will stay for another year as OC of Alabama. And God Help Us All. 

Who’s going to win the SEC Championship Game (and others)?

Hey guys, if you believe the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Florida’s going to be close, then you’re either a really, really overly-confident Florida fan, or a Florida fan who’s taken a lot of LSD.

Alabama will win, and Alabama will probably win big.

They won’t win so big – in the way that they destroyed Florida last year – and Missouri the year before – because Florida has some sort of defense that maybe will keep Hurts from putting on the hurt (see what we did there?) for the first quarter-and-a-half.

If there are Alabama fans who insist to you (because it’s ‘important to be humble’) that it could be close because of all the injuries the team has, I want to throw this out there:

How is it that every time there’s been a difficult injury to Alabama, they’ve generally managed to rebound in time for a big game, and then play the game of their lives? I can think of star safety Eddie Jackson. Bo Scarborough suffered an injury against Chatanooga that had people pretty scared, until he ran over people against Auburn. Guys, when Nick Saban’s warning the media that the team’s got some injuries and how’s it’s a modern miracle that the team has come this far, please don’t know he’s taking the media for a spin. Or he’s talking B.S., if you want to put it like that. He’s trying to seem humble, when he really knows that Alabama should beat the living crap out of this Florida team.

And we think they will do.

PREDICTION: Alabama 45, Florida 6. 

Here are some other games that might interest you:

  • Clemson vs Virginia Tech: We hate the fact that the game was moved to Orlando from Charlotte. Not because of the principles of the political matter, but because it was moved to frickin’ Charlotte. Why couldn’t have the game have been moved to Tennessee or Jacksonville or someone else? Orlando’s a shitty place for both sides to get to. Anyway, about the game. Virginia Tech has done well against teams it has no business doing well again, and it’s punished teams that have made mistakes (we see you, Notre Dame). The problem with Virginia Tech is that they turn over the ball too much – and this will be against a Clemson team who WILL punish teams for doing so. The offense is finding its mojo again, but the opposition will be far more superior to what they’ve faced the last two weeks. PREDICTION: Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 21.
  • Wisconsin vs Penn State: We were talking to a buddy of ours who writes for Penn State’s 24-7 website, and he says that the best battle of the day will be Penn State’s lightning receivers against Wisconsin’s DBs. My argument would be whether Penn State’s offensive line can give Saquon Barkley (check out the highlights, people – he’s awesome! (He was offered by Ohio State, Notre Dame and Missouri (amongst others)), and whether Barkley is fit. Also, whether Wisconsin’s offensive line can be troubled by Penn State’s defenses. Both defenses can brawl. This will be low-scoring. PREDICTION: Wisconsin 20, Penn State 10. 
  • Washington vs Colorado: We wish the game was played on January 2nd, because the smell in the parking lot would have been AWESOME. Joking apart, we expect Washington to win pretty comfortably  I know, I know, everybody would love to see the Buffs win (including ESPN’s Chris Fowler), but I just can’t see it. PREDICTION: Washington 45, Colorado 10. 
  • Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma: A de facto Big XII Championship Game between two sides who are pretty fun to watch. It’s called ‘Bedlam’, because it’s an awesome name for a rivalry. It’s been close over the last five years (OU leads 3-2), but Oklahoma has absolutely owned Oklahoma State, leading Bedlam in not particularly Bedlam-esque fashion, 85-18-7. What was pointed out by SB Nation’s ‘Shutdown Fullcast’ is that the reason why it should be a lot of fun is that both sides will be looking to win and impress the Play-Off Committee, so you can expect a high-scoring game. Although they also noted the Big XII’s chances of making it TO the play-off has gone by the wayside – particularly with the conference’s dismal OOC record. PREDICTION: Oklahoma 55, Oklahoma State 45.