It's going to happen. At some point a conference other than the SEC will, for the first time since 2005, produce the BCS champion. It could be this year. First, of course, a non-SEC team will need to qualify for the game. Since last year's Alabama-LSU rematch required a rash of late-season upsets in other leagues, we're unlikely to see a repeat this season. But barring an unforeseen outbreak of SEC parity -- and even then, remember that a two-loss SEC team has finished No. 1 before -- it's safe to assume one of the teams that takes the field Jan. 7 in Miami Gardens will hail from Mike Slive's dynastic conference. The question is whether some other league's representative can actually win the big game.
Anyway, I found that overall, upsets happen about 5.2% of the time when a game is a mismatch (i.e. could possibly yield an upset). However, I found that upsets come far more often early in the day when kickoff fell in the 12:00-2:30 Eastern window. Then, when many of the games were on JP Sports or its successors, the rate of upsets jumped to 6.5% of mismatches. That rate dropped to 3.2% in the mid-afternoon (3:00-5:45 Eastern), and it dropped again to 2.4% at night. All told, upsets happen more than twice as often in the SEC early in the day, which includes the JP Sports broadcasts, than during the rest of the day (a combined 2.8% rate). I've done similar analysis on the Big 10, Pac-10, and Big 12 over the same time period, and none of them have a similar upset pattern.
The battle between Ed Stinson and Quinton Dial at defensive end continues. Dial, during one drill on the sled, was working with first-teamers Jesse Williams and Damion Square while Stinson was in the second group, which matched him with Jeoffrey Pagan and Brandon Ivory.
Alabama tight end Michael Williams smiled at the question: Are you comfortable catching more passes? "I don't think anyone would say they wouldn't want to catch more passes," Williams said, still smiling. After making 16 receptions in 13 games a year ago, Williams might see more passes thrown his way this season. Or he might not. After all, in the Alabama media guide bio for the 6-foot-6, 269-pounder, he is called a "tremendous blocking tight end on the edge of the Crimson Tide offense."
"The first scrimmage, I've never seen intensity like that," said Johnson, a senior inside linebacker. Like what? "Everybody was game mode," Johnson said. "Sometimes we go into scrimmage, most of the time, the first defense struggled. We give up a lot of big plays, miss a lot of tackles. That didn't happen this time. It's like everybody was focused in, intensity, flying around, hitting. ... It was just exciting to be out there."
"The first week, you kind of learn the whole defense," he said. "Really just a mental and physical thing as far as being out in the sun and learning every play. This next week coming up is like a hump day, everybody getting back in shape. We had our days off. It's just getting back into the grind and getting ready for the season." He was asked to elaborate on the "hump." "It's basically just going back over what we previously did," Mosley said. "We put in just a few more plays this week but overall, we are basically going over the whole defense. It's being mental and giving effort every day, day in and day out. Like coach said, just having important meetings, just got to be able to get over it. You'll have some bumps and bruises, but you just got to be able to play through it."
Senior tight end Michael Williams said the 6-foot-1, 241-pound Fowler has blended in nicely with the group as an option at H-back. "Fowler fits the mold of a tight end," Williams said. "He's big, he's strong, he has good blocking skills, he can catch the ball out of the backfield. "As good as he is, you don't want him coming off the field, so he can help us at H, too."
"This is kind of slow process, going through each play," McCarron said. "Our timing is getting a little bit better, but other than that I felt like guys played hard, which is probably the biggest thing I wanted to see as the leader of the offense. I felt like guys played hard the whole day, and gave full effort, and that's all you can ask for."
The Tide coaching staff might receive big news this month from a couple of top prospects from the Sunshine State. DeMarcus Walker, a four-star defensive end from Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, remains set on announcing his college decision Aug. 24. The Crimson Tide and Florida Gators are considered the frontrunners to land his signature in February. Derrick Henry, a four-star running back from Yulee High School, has changed his mind a couple of times as to when he will announce his decision. It's very possible Henry will make his pick before his senior season. Alabama remains the favorite for the 6-3, 245-pound former Georgia commitment's signature.
Williams wasn’t doing much more than teaching technique to Lake, who is from Sumter Central High in York. Williams would get in his stance, and Lake would do the same. Williams would go through the motions at half-speed, then Lake would imitate what he saw. It wasn’t a long lesson, but it seemed effective. Toward the end, redshirt freshman Wilson Love walked over and listened for a bit.
For once, Stoutland didn't seem to be riding Alphonse Taylor, but the extra attention the freshman guard has been getting is understandable. It looks as if he is being groomed as senior left guard Chance Warmack's backup.
Toussaint was scheduled to resume practicing with the Wolverines on Monday after being suspended for the first week of preseason camp. His status for U-M's season opener Sept. 1 against Alabama in Arlington, Texas, remains uncertain, coach Brady Hoke said Sunday.
Michigan probably isn't beating Alabama regardless of running back Fitz Toussaint's status. I've long maintained that this nationally televised prime-time spectacle Sept. 1 at Jerry World in Arlington, Texas, depends more on how badly Nick Saban wants to stick it to his former in-state nemesis when he coached Michigan State. Is his motivational preparation simply to get a season-opening victory against another top 10 team or does he desire a definitive statement that, regardless of the sizable NFL defections from last year, this Crimson Tide edition is a more than worthy national championship defender? That provides the perfect opportunity for Michigan coach Brady Hoke to make his own statement -- the integrity of the program is always more important than one game.
Penn State has been notified its accreditation is in jeopardy in the wake of the university-commissioned Freeh Report and consent decree with the NCAA, the school said Monday. Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits degree-granting colleges in the region, issues a warning when an institution is not in compliance with government policies and the university’s governing body responsibility for quality and integrity. It is requiring the university to submit a report on issues like governance and financial stability by Sept. 30.