NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during a press conference at The New York Marriott Marquis on December 10, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Unless he shocks the world, Richardson will play his final college football game Jan. 9 in New Orleans in the BCS Championship Game. He'll walk away with one or two national championship rings and a distinction that's not marked by a piece of jewelry or a trophy. Has an Alabama football player ever been more unstoppable and more unselfish?
Five members of the No. 2 Alabama football team have been named first-team All-Americans by the Football Writers Association of America. Senior safety Mark Barron is one of five players who are repeats from the 2010 FWAA All-America team. Barron is joined this year by four Crimson Tide teammates: cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, running back Trent Richardson and offensive lineman Barrett Jones.
This is the hardest team to analyze on the list, and receives a "falling" grade mostly because a flat grading isn’t possible. The issue here is the fact Alabama could lose as many as eight starters on defense. The last time that happened, Alabama went from 14-0 in 2009 to 10-3 in 2010. Although a tough out in 2010, Alabama was vulnerable on defense thanks to sheer immaturity. Alabama’s complex defense takes time to learn. Presuming Dre Kirkpatrick leaves and FS Robert Lester elects to stay, Alabama will have to replace seven starters, including three defensive backs, three linebackers and a nosetackle. Alabama ought to be able to replace the linebackers with little trouble, and depth is better in the secondary than two years ago, but nosetackle could be an issue. Alabama will also have to replace its starting wideout trio of Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks and Brandon Gibson, but presuming Duron Carter is ready to go, Alabama’s younger receivers have shown great promise. A potential problem spot overlooked by many will be the replacement of Brad Smelley at H-back. Alabama’s roster is stocked with tight ends more suited to the Y position on the line rather than the flexible H-back. Even with a slight downward trend in its future, Alabama is expected to compete for the conference title.
Will Alabama LB commit Dillon Lee make a surprise official visit to UGA this weekend? While at the games, Dillon has had the chance to build a relationship with UGA’s coaches, including Mark Richt. For the record, Dillon says he’s committed to Alabama.
Auburn has suspended All-SEC running back and 1,000-yard rusher Mike Dyer for its Chick-fil-A Bowl game with Virginia for a violation of an undisclosed team rule. Multiple sources have confirmed Dyer won't play in the game.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and coach Mark Richt have started talks to extend Richt's contract. Richt released a statement Saturday in which he said he wants to remain at Georgia "as long as Georgia will have me." Referring to the contract talks which began Friday, he said "It's gratifying to know Georgia wants me."
Larry Fedora says he's excited to help North Carolina's football program move forward. Fedora was introduced as the Tar Heels' coach Friday, a few hours after the terms of his seven-year contract were approved during a meeting of the school's board of trustees.
The former N.F.L. coach Jim Mora Jr. agreed to a five-year, $12 million contract with U.C.L.A. on Saturday and will replace the fired coach Rick Neuheisel.
Kevin Sumlin has accepted an offer to become the next head coach at Texas A&M, a source confirmed Saturday to CBS Sports. The 47-year-old Sumlin, a former Aggies offensive coordinator a decade ago, led Houston to a 12-1 record this season. He replaces Mike Sherman, who was fired after coaching the Aggies, ranked preseason No. 8 in the AP poll, to a 6-6 record this year. Sherman was 25-25 in four seasons at A&M and just 15-18 in Big 12 play. The Birmingham, Ala. native is also regarded as a great closer with recruits and their parents, according to colleagues.
As the clock expired on the Navy football team’s 27-21 victory over Army on Saturday afternoon, the brigade of Midshipmen chanted in unison: "Ten more years, ten more years!" The revelry reflected Navy’s decade of supremacy in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries and closed a season of excruciating near misses in the most satisfying way possible.
Mike McQueary, the Penn State assistant coach who described visual details to a grand jury and police of Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in a locker-room shower in 2002, told a different version of the event to a family friend shortly afterward, The Patriot-News has reported.