Tag:Alabama
Posted on: November 15, 2010 12:11 pm
 

Auburn awaits word on its pugilists

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Auburn was able to bounce back from an early deficit and overcome all the distractions of the previous week against Georgia on Saturday, things did get a bit chippy at the end of the game.  It all started with what many felt was a cheap shot by Auburn defensive tackle/eater of souls Nick Fairley on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.   A hit that now has Murray's status this weekend in question.   In the closing minutes, with the game already decided, there was plenty of pushing and shoving by both teams, but only two players threw punches.

Auburn's Mike Blanc and Michael Goggans were ejected on consecutive plays for throwing a punch, and the SEC rules are pretty clear about what happens when you do that.  Not only are you ejected from the current game, but you're forced to sit out the first half of your team's next game.  In Auburn's case, that would be the Iron Bowl against Alabama in two weeks, which is a pretty important one for the Tigers seeing as how they'd like to stay undefeated.

Well, it seems that Gene Chizik is holding out hope that he might have both of his players available, though he'll have to talk to the SEC about it first.

"I'm not going to really comment on that," Chizik said on Sunday. "We're going to talk to the SEC [Monday] and we're going to figure exactly what their status is at that point.

"The SEC reviews every situation, penalty-wise, that is reviewable or brought to their attention. We haven't talked with anybody. We know what happened [Saturday]. We're just going to reserve all comment until we really get some clarification on exactly what the status of those guys will be. I haven't had that opportunity yet."

Now it's possible that the Tigers could appeal the ruling, and have the punishment delayed, but I don't see how having either player suspended for the first half of the SEC Championship is any better.  Besides, I'm not sure what there is to appeal.  The rules are pretty clear, and there's video evidence of both players throwing the punches.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 11:06 pm
 

What I learned from the SEC (Nov. 13)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. South Carolina and Auburn will battle for the SEC title in Atlanta. It's official, even though the game is three weeks away, we know that no matter what happens from here on out, South Carolina and Auburn are headed to Atlanta to square off for the SEC Championship.  It'll be the first time since 2004 that the game didn't feature Florida, Alabama or LSU.   Coincidentally, that's also the last time Auburn played in the game, beating Tennessee 38-28.

2. Sources tell me Cam Newton is still awesome.   Distractions?  What the hell is a distraction?  Cam Newton sure didn't play like a kid who spent the last week dealing with the media circus surrounding his NCAA investigation.  Newton finished the day with 299 total yards and four touchdowns during Auburn's 49-31 win over Georgia.

3. I worry about Marcus Lattimore's future. Listen, I totally understand why Steve Spurrier and South Carolina choose to ride Lattimore's back.  The kid is a beast, and he completely changes the Gamecocks offense.  Still, when I see him get 41 carries on Saturday night -- along with 38 against Georgia earlier this season -- I do worry that he'll be worn out by the end of his college career.  We've all seen in the past at places like Wisconsin what happens to running backs who carry the ball hundreds of times in their college career when they get to the NFL.  I just hope Lattimore doesn't suffer the same fate.

4. The Cam Newton Saga seemed to have a bigger effect on Mississippi State.
  Newton played like Cam Newton against Georgia, but Mississippi State played like a team that should have coughed up the dough on Saturday night.  Sure, Alabama -- a ticked off Alabama team at that -- had a lot to do with it, but the Bulldogs didn't look very good in their 30-10 loss.

5. Tennessee has its quarterback. Who would have thought back in September or early October that Tennessee would have a chance to go bowling this season?  I certainly didn't, but thanks to the continued rise of Tyler Bray and his back tattoo, the Vols have played incredibly well the last few weeks.  Bray threw for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns as Tennessee destroyed Ole Miss 52-14.  Now, if the Vols can manage to win their last two games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky -- which isn't all that crazy -- they'll finish the season 6-6 and be bowl eligible.

6. Florida's offense is still terrible.
  Listen, you may have been fooled by seeing Florida score 41 points against Vanderbilt last week, and some pollsters might have been as well, but I wasn't.  An offense that has struggled all season did so again on Saturday night, managing a paltry 226 yards and 14 points against a Gamecocks defense that gave up 24 points to Tennessee, and 31 to Kentucky.  If Steve Addazzio survives this season, then somebody is going to burn Gainesville to the ground.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:22 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 11

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's definitely fall these days, and the wind will be whipping across the heartland. All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

No. 13 Iowa at Northwestern , 12:00, Evanston, IL: Mid 50s, scattered showers

Indiana at No. 6 Wisconsin , 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, scattered showers

Kansas State at No. 20 Missouri , 12:30, Columbia, MO: Mid 40s, cloudy, windy

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 15 Utah at Notre Dame, 2:30 , South Bend, IN: Low 60s, scattered thunderstorms

No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina , 3:30, Chapel Hill, NC: Mid 60s, clear

Penn State at No. 8 Ohio State , 3:30, Columbus, OH: Upper 60s, partly cloudy

Georgia at No. 2 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear

Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma , 3:30, Norman, OK: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

San Diego State at No. 3 TCU , 4:00, Ft. Worth, TX: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy

Evening kickoffs

No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor , 7:00, Waco, TX: Upper 40s, clear, breezy

No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida , 7:15, Gainesville, FL: Upper 50s, clear

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama , 7:15, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 50s, scattered showers

USC at No. 18 Arizona , 8:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

No. 21 Nevada at Fresno State , 10:15, Fresno, CA: Mid 50s, clear, breezy

Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:47 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 11

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

I know you couldn't tell if you have been following the news in college football this week, but there are actually games to be played on Saturday.  I know, I didn't believe it either, but it's true.  There's more to college football than just off the field issues concerning agents, players asking for money, and the NCAA possibly punishing those players because the only people allowed to make money from this sport are the NCAA, not those punk kids who make it for them.

But I promise you, there are games ON the field as well.  Here are some of the best ones for you to watch on Saturday in between updates on what Cam Newton may or may not have done.

Breakfast

Main Course - Northwestern vs. #13 Iowa - Noon - ESPN

Looking at this game on the surface, it doesn't seem all the impressive.  Northwestern is currently in eighth place in the Big Ten, and has lost three of its last four games.  What's the big deal?

Well, Iowa isn't out of the Big Ten title hunt.  This game means a lot to the Hawkeyes for both their BCS aspirations and it provides therapeutic value.  You see, Northwestern has been a thorn in Iowa's side for years now, as Northwestern has won four of the last five meetings.  That includes last season when the Wildcats knocked Ricky Stanzi out for the last three games of the regular season, and handed Iowa its first loss.  Which eventually led to Stanzi missing the Ohio State game and a chance to win the Big Ten.

Side Orders: Not a lot of great choices this morning, but not as terrible as it has been in recent weeks.  There's Missouri and Kansas State who both have a remote chance to win the Big 12 North, but a loss in this game would kill either's chance.  There's also Miami taking on Georgia Tech, and the 'Canes can't afford to lose if they want a chance to play for the ACC title.  If those don't do it for you, I guess you could watch West Virginia and Cincinnati in the latest installment of "The Big East Presents: Something That Is Supposed to Resemble Football."

Lunch

Main Course - #2 Auburn vs. Georgia - 3:30pm - CBS

Listen, you've spent all week hearing about Cam Newton anyway, so why wouldn't you want to actually watch him play this week against Georgia?  I mean, when you think about it, you can't really be sure how many more chances you'll get to see Newton play at Auburn, so you should probably take advantage while you still can.

Oh, and there's also the fact that Auburn is still alive for a national championship, and with a win against Georgia, the Tigers would wrap up the SEC West and a trip to Atlanta.

As for Georgia, hard as it is to believe given the way it started the season, is only one win shy of being bowl eligible.  What a better way to do it than by knocking off the top team in the conference and destroying any chance they have to play for a national title?

Side Orders: There are some other quality non-Cam Newton related games going on during the afternoon as well.  Ohio State hosts Penn State, looking to keep hopes alive for a Big Ten title and trip to the Rose Bowl.  Oklahoma looks to right the ship at home against Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech can just about wrap up the ACC Coastal with a win at North Carolina.

Dinner

Main Course - #24 Florida vs. #22 South Carolina - 7:15pm - ESPN

The SEC East has been wide open all season long, but finally, it all comes down to one game on Saturday night in Gainesville. 

Even though it's been a down season for Florida compared to recent standards, the Gators still have a chance to get to Atlanta and win another SEC title should they get past the Gamecocks. On the flip side, Steve Spurrier still has a chance to win the SEC East and the SEC for the first time as head coach at South Carolina.

South Carolina hasn't played well since knocking off Alabama last month, but it still has a chance to salvage the season if it can knock off the Gators.

Side Orders: Plenty of other good games going on Saturday night if you prefer to look elsewhere.  Alabama can shake off the disappointment of last week's loss against LSU by knocking Mississippi State down a peg, and speaking of disappointment, Texas can boost its morale with a win over Oklahoma State as well.  There's also Oregon looking to stay undefeated at Cal, Arizona hosting USC and Stanford rolling in to Arizona State in the Pac-10.

Late Night Snack

Listen, I've developed a slight infatuation with Colin Kaepernick this season.  It's just every time I see him running down the field I can't help but think of an ostrich, and this amuses me to no end.  Why?  I don't know, it just does.  Tune in to see Kaepernick and Nevada take on Fresno State on Saturday night and find out if you see it too.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:09 pm
 

Tide's Richardson questionable for MSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It may sound hard to believe, but SEC teams that don't feature Cam Newton are still planning on playing their scheduled games this weekend, despite the fact that no one will be paying any attention. In fact, a few of those games are downright critical, including Alabama trying to stay alive in the SEC West race with a home win over a Mississippi State program that's made a lot of headlins recently for things that don't have much to do with their preparatiosn for the Tide.

Unfortunately for Alabama, they may have to make do without injured running back Trent Richardson :

Richardson increased his practice participation Tuesday, but the sophomore is not certain to play with knee soreness Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts Mississippi State.

“Trent did some running today, did some work today. But if he’s not better tomorrow, then I don’t know that he’ll be ready to play in the game,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “We’ll just have to wait and see on that one" ...

“If Trent can’t go, Mark [Ingram] is in good shape and Mark is doing fine, and Mark will do a great job for us in the game."

At a glance, you wouldn't think any program in the country could be less affected by a running back injury, since the Tide do have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to turn to. But the Tide are a stunning sixth in the SEC in rushing in conference games, Richardson is averaging more than half-yard more than Ingram per-carry and leads the team in all-purpose yardage, and Ingram hasn't gone over the 100-yard mark rushing in his past five games. The Tide have used Ingram and Richardson as a one-two punch for the better part of the past two seasons, but now that even the one-two punch isn't any more than adequate, how well will the one-one punch work out?

We're not sure of Ingram's thoughts on the subject. But we ca n tell you how he feels about ... well ...

Ingram, as last year's Heis­man Trophy winner, has a vote for this year's award. Newton is the front-runner, despite allega­tions leveled against him over the past week ... Ingram said, if his vote were due today, Newton would likely get his vote.

Allegations or not.

"I know they're undefeated and Cam Newton is playing bet­ter football that most everybody in the country right now."
It's that kind of week.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 3:44 pm
 

Utes: TCU better than '09 Frogs, '08 Tide

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's safe to say Utah came away impressed with TCU after the Horned Frogs' emphatic dissolution of what had been the nation's longest home winning streak last Saturday, but how impressed? This impressed :
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn't pull any punches when it comes to TCU. "Hands down, the best football team we've played since I've been at Utah," said Whittingham ...

Starting center Zane Taylor also has high praise for the Frogs.

"They are the best team I've ever gone against."
It's true that you might not expect the Utes to say anything different after their 47-7 humiliation, but it's still worth noting that both Whittingham and Taylor have faced some truly outstanding teams during their Utah tenures. Like, for instance, the 2009 edition of the Horned Frogs, who rolled the Utes 55-28 on their way to what looks very likely to only be the first of back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.

But for the Mountain West skeptics out there, it's also worth pointing out that those teams include the Alabama squad which went 12-0 in the SEC West in 2008 before narrowly losing out to eventual national champion Florida in the SEC championship game and facing the Utes in the Sugar Bowl . The Utes won that game 31-17, and Taylor made a point of mentioning that Tide team as an inferior to this year's version of the Frogs.

Whittingham added that he feels that this TCU team deserves its shot at the national championship. If he's correct that they're even better than two other teams that put together undefeated seasons that landed BCS berths, it'll be awfully hard to say he's not right.

Posted on: November 9, 2010 12:01 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 12:13 am
 

An uncomfortable truth: TCU is better than Auburn

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The latest BCS rankings are out, and there's not much to be surprised about; Auburn is No. 1, Oregon is No. 2, and TCU is No. 3. In the human polls, Oregon's easily the top-ranked team. and anyone who actually watches the games can see why: the Ducks play football at an undeniably higher level than anybody else in college football. It's that simple.

Ah, but this column is not to argue that Oregon deserves the top spot in the BCS rankings over Auburn; not only is that argument obvious, it's immaterial, because it wouldn't alter the BCS Championship Game in any way. No, the real issue here is that as of right now, Auburn doesn't belong in the national title game; TCU does.

Here's the deal. First off, there is no single-game performance Auburn has under its belt this season that is as impressive as TCU's 47-7 dismantling of Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Yes, Auburn beat LSU by a whole touchdown after rushing for 440 yards. Auburn also played every single non-conference game at home, against Chattanooga, UL-Monroe, Arkansas State, and Clemson (who, not surprisingly, took Auburn to overtime and likely would have won at Clemson). Auburn's best road win? 17-14 over Mississippi State. The fact that Auburn has gotten away with such scaredy-cat scheduling is a testament to the water carried by SEC apologists more than any serious examination of the Tigers' schedule. Auburn's strength of schedule is 40th in the Sagarin ratings. Granted, TCU's is 62nd, but that's not exactly the chasm of competition that any college football fan south of the Mason-Dixon would have you believe.

Second, and more to the point of deserving the No. 2 ranking: TCU would beat Auburn, and maybe by double-digits. Sure, TCU has never seen an offense like Auburn's or a quarterback like Cam Newton. By the same token, the Auburn offense has never seen a defense like TCU's, which is head-and-shoulders above everybody else's -- even LSU's.

In fact, between the two teams' offensive and defensive units, there's only one spot of mediocrity, and that's Auburn's defense. The Tigers gave up 43 points to Arkansas at Auburn -- and most of those points were to the Razorbacks' backup quarterback. The Auburn starters gave up two first-half touchdowns to Chattanooga, 16 first-half points to Arkansas State, 34 points to Kentucky, and 31 to Ole Miss. What's more likely: TCU puts up 30 on the Auburn defense, or Auburn scores 30 on TCU's? There's no way Auburn's the right answer there.

Look again at the Sagarin ratings linked above. TCU is ranked second. Auburn is fourth. In terms of the predictor (which uses point differential, which is strictly verboten in the BCS), TCU is still second. Auburn? 11th. On a neutral field -- like, say, a bowl game -- TCU would be favored in this matchup. Why? Because right now, TCU is better than Auburn.

Of course, this is all academic; as Dennis Dodd has correctly pointed out, if Auburn wins at Alabama two weeks from now then dispatches its SEC East opponent for the conference crown, the Tigers will likely have proven that they deserve the BCS Championship Game berth. Those are both big ifs; Auburn hasn't proven itself as a serious title contender away from Jordan-Hare yet. The Tigers win both of those, and they've earned a top spot. Until then, though, the TCU Horned Frogs deserve the title shot -- not Auburn -- and it would thus be erroneous to act disappointed if the Tigers stumble and "let" TCU into the BCS Championship spot they've earned so far.

Also, it's obviously worth mentioning that the fact that this debate even needs to take place at all is ludicrous; there should be a four-team playoff. A plus-one, if you will. TCU and Auburn deserve to settle this score on the field, and Auburn fans deserve to watch the real title contender through 10 weeks prove its mettle.


Posted on: November 8, 2010 6:54 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2010 7:55 pm
 

Greg McElroy's, Dayne Crist's worlds collapsing

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's hard out there for a quarterback these days. You just don't understand. Calamity befalls these poor kids at every turn, and society just turns a blind eye to their struggles.

Don't believe us? Here's Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy, talking about living in a world that would leave the average American waking up in a cold sweat nightly:

McElroy awoke Sunday morning with a sickening feeling. The 11th-ranked Crimson Tide had just lost for the second time to fall to a disappointing 7-2 on the season.

"It feels like the end of the world, it really does," McElroy said Monday.

The endtimes are here in Alabama, people. The world had a good run, but it's done. World: Big Bang - 2010 A.D. It will be missed.

There's no word yet from the 109 FBS starting quarterbacks who are still ranked under McElroy, but simple logic would dictate that their worlds have all ended as well; otherwise, McElroy would be a reckless exaggerator who's completely out of touch with reality.

Need more evidence that life is indescribably difficult for D-I quarterbacks? Think about the hell Dayne Crist must live in. Notre Dame is 4-5, suffering through crises on and off the field, and Crist is just beginning rehab for a ruptured patellar tendon... and that's not even the worst part, as he told Twitter this weekend:

although chipotle normally does a pretty decent job, there is nothing worse than a poorly wrapped chipotle burrito

Considering all that must make a Notre Dame quarterback's life suck, for a poorly wrapped burrito to top the list must mean that the foodstuff is unfathomably bad to deal with. Do glass shards grow in it? Does it burst into flames in direct sunlight? Does it convince your head coach not to prepare correctly for a simple triple option attack? Inquiring minds want to know!

 
 
 
 
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