(Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Alabama had six players selected to the 2011 Associated Press All-America Team, including four on the first team, the wire service announced on Wednesday. The AP recognized senior safety Mark Barron, junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower, junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones and junior running back Trent Richardson on its first team, while senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw and junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were named to the second team. Crimson Tide players have now secured 18 first-team All-America honors - by 16 different players - over the past four years. The selection of Barron, Jones, Hightower and Richardson makes those four student-athletes consensus All-Americans in 2011. A player must be on the first team of three of the five All-America teams recognized by the NCAA (AP, AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp and Sporting News) to garner consensus recognition.
What about visiting UGA this weekend or in January? Lee has decided against it, according to his family: "Dillon is honored by the recent recruitment from Coach Olivadotti, and we believe that if his message had been delivered all along, he would be enrolling at UGA, due to his brother playing there and the long-standing family ties. However; he is anxious to get to Tuscaloosa and play for the Crimson Tide. He will begin class on Jan. 10."
Nick Saban could lose two staff members before the BCS national title game. Once again the name of 'Bama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri has emerged as a replacement at Pittsburgh. The abrupt departure of Todd Graham means the Pittsburgh administration will have to scramble. Sunseri, also Alabama’s associate head coach, interviewed with Pittsburgh last year. He is a former All-American linebacker with the Panthers. Saban has already lost offensive coordinator Jim McElwain who is headed for Colorado State. McElwain will stay through the bowl game. He has been with Tide almost four years.
OUT: Todd Graham, who accepted the Arizona State head coaching position Dec. 14, following one 6-6 season at the Panther helm.
CANDIDATES FOR IN: While still early, Penn State interim head coach/defensive coordinator Tom Bradley interviewed for the position last year and could be interested again if the PSU scandal hasn't made him untouchable. Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri -- also a Pitt alum and father of current Panther quarterback Tino Sunseri -- is another name worth watching. (12/14)
Adam Rittenberg speaks with Alabama OL Barrett Jones about the Tide’s season and rematch with LSU in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game at The Home Depot College Football awards.
1. Allstate BCS National Championship Game, No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama: Despite what most outside of SEC country would like you to believe, The Game was great, and this one will be, too. There is no question that these are the two best teams in the country and everyone will be watching. Those who don't are just being stubborn and trying to prove a silly point.
With University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Ohio State assistant coach Luke Fickell on hand to witness the Calvert Hall-Gilman basketball game Wednesday night, Greyhound senior Cyrus Jones showed that his superb athletic ability is hardly limited to the gridiron. The area's top football recruit is being wooed by those two powerhouses — and several other big-time programs — after leading the Greyhounds to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title last month.
Arkansas State athletic director Dean Lee thought little of it when his phone rang last week and Gus Malzahn was on the other end. Malzahn and Lee have a relationship that stretches back to 1989 when the two were at Henderson State as student and professor. From there they developed a friendship that included Lee calling Malzahn a year ago to get feedback on coaching candidates for an open spot at Arkansas State. When the Red Wolves job opened a year later, Malzahn was on Lee’s call list. Lee wanted to pick the renowned offensive mind’s, uh, mind about possible candidates. Lee just hadn’t gotten around to making the call yet. Malzahn made that call for Lee.
In 2012 and ’13, some conferences likely will have more bowl-eligible teams than bowl tie-ins. Others will have more tie-ins than eligible teams. The system should be flexible enough to make the changes to match eligible teams with bowls, but the 35 bowl organizers are feeling the uncertainty until more clarity comes with a plan for 2014 and beyond. "We’re kind of in that same mode as everyone else," says Tina Kunzer-Murphy, chairman of the Football Bowl Association and executive director of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. "We have to see how it shakes out."
After a fast start outside of the conference, Tennessee literally couldn't string together two touchdowns against SEC defenses: In eight league games, they were held to a single touchdown or less in six of them. During one midseason stretch, LSU, Alabama and South Carolina combined to keep UT out of the end zone for ten consecutive quarters. Altogether, the Vols came in 103rd nationally in total offense, 106th in scoring and 116th in rushing, dead last in the SEC on a miserable 2.8 yards per carry. They lost six conference games with 12 points or less on the board — including a 10-7 loss at Kentucky, snapping a 26-year winning streak against the Wildcats — and picked up their only conference win (at Vanderbilt) on a defensive touchdown in overtime. Their seven conference losses for the year are the most in school history.
The NCAA's plan to give athletes a $2,000 stipend may be in trouble. The legislation, passed in October, now faces an override challenge at January's annual NCAA convention, a decision that could create an unusual discrepancy between recruits who have already signed national letters-of-intent and those who have not. Berst said 97 schools have signed onto the override measure, more than the 75 needed for the NCAA board to reconsider the stipend. If that number hits 125 by Dec. 26, the legislation would be suspended.
Antwaine Wiggins matched his career high with 24 points and College of Charleston beat Tennessee for the second straight year, 71-65, on Wednesday night. The Cougars (8-1) were down 13 points in the opening half, but used a 13-0 run midway through the final period to take control and send the Volunteers (3-6) to their fourth consecutive loss and sixth in the past seven games.
The new president of the Amateur Athletic Union said Wednesday the organization will give complete access to two independent task forces established to review child safety protocols, policies and procedures in the wake of child sex abuse allegations against the AAU’s former president. The AAU announced the measures at its headquarters near Orlando, Fla. as Memphis police investigate decades-old child molestation allegations against ex-president Robert "Bobby" Dodd. ESPN reported Friday that two former basketball players have accused Dodd of molesting them as children in the 1980s. One of the players, 43-year-old Ralph West, told ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" he was assaulted in Memphis in 1984.
South Carolina told the NCAA it agrees that major violations took place in its football program and will eliminate six football scholarships over the next three years as part of several self-imposed penalties. The school released its response Wednesday, three months after the NCAA said the Gamecocks received $55,000 in improper benefits for staying at a Columbia hotel at a reduced rate. The NCAA also noted the university's improper involvement with a Delaware-based mentoring group whose president and treasurer are boosters and South Carolina graduates. "The university does not contest the allegations" by the NCAA, said the second sentence of South Carolina's 111-page response.