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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: 01.27.15

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

SPRING FOOTBALL!

A few more SEC schools have announced dates of their spring games but alas, not the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas Sat., April 5
Georgia Sat., Apr. 11
Ole Miss Sat., Apr. 11
South Carolina Sat., April 11
LSU Sat., April 18
Missouri Sat., April 18
Auburn Sat., April 18
Mississippi State Sat., April 18
Tennessee Sat., April 25

AlabamaFlorida, Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt have yet to announce. Expect most, if not all spring games to air on the SEC Network.

THE BEAR

Paul William "Bear" Bryant died 32 years ago on January 26, 1983. He passed away a mere four weeks after coaching his last game, a 21–15 win over Illinois in the Liberty Bowl. Thousands came out to say their final farewell to Bryant as his funeral procession rolled through Tuscaloosa east to Birmingham. Thousands more lined up along the interstate and on overpasses with traffic coming to a complete stop as Alabamians paid their final respects.

A month after his death, Bryant was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Ronald Reagan. A moment of silence was held prior to Super Bowl XVII, played four days after Bryant's passing.

Bryant finished his coaching career 323–85–17 with six national championships. He was 69 years old.

NEW YEAR'S EVE 2015

Bill Hancock and the officials from the College Football Playoff seem to think they will be able to repeat their blockbuster ratings by scheduling the next installment of the first round playoffs on Thursday, December 31, 2015.

ESPN has been begging and pleading for them to change the date to January 2, 2016 which is a Saturday. But Hancock seems pretty bullheaded on the point.

"The fact is that we have started a new tradition of back-to-back tripleheaders on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We're not interested in changing for one year, then returning for the next 10, " Hancock told reporters.

It is interesting to note that the biggest ratings came from cities near college football fan bases. Despite not having a horse in the race, Knoxville, Tennessee for instance, drew big numbers. One has to wonder if given the chance to go out and party on New Year's Eve or stay home and watch teams play that are not their own, which will fans choose? Clearly Hancock has not pondered this question.

HELP WANTED

  • As most  of you have likely heard, Lane Kiffin will return to Alabama next season to head up the offense again. The first year Bama offensive coordinator was somehow linked to the same job with the San Fransisco 49ers despite the absence of any evidence of a conversation ever taking place. It is amusing how every news outlet used the exact phrase "leading candidate". Now that monicker is being hung on former UGA and current Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
  • Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has moved from the secondary to inside linebackers. Taking his place will be former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. He has spent the last seven years as a defensive coordinator at Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Chicago. Before that, he was defensive backs coach at Miami (Ohio), LSU, and Ohio State.
  • Former Bama "intern" and Washington Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi will be taking over the outside linebackers coaching duties. Last spring, Saban impatiently told reporters of Lupolo, "the guy's an intern," whatever that meant. These two openings came about after the departures of assistants Kevin Steele and Lance Thompson
  • The Crimson Tide also has an opening for the administrative position as Director of Player Personnel as Tyler Siskey took the job as the new receivers coach at South Alabama. Former UAB assistant head coach/running backs coach Jody Wright looks to be the man.
  • Speaking of Kevin Steele, his deal at LSU is reportedly for $1 million per year! That is a lot of money for any assistant much less a guy whose team gave up 70 in his last time serving as a defensive coordinator.
  • Mark Richt has agreed to a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Athens through the 2019 season. The extension includes an $800,000 raise to $4 million per year. There is celebrating in the streets of Columbia, SC.
  • In a somewhat unusual move, Dan Enos resigned as head coach of Central Michigan to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Arkansas. He had been given a one-year contract extension and pay raise at CMU in January 2013, extending his deal through the 2016 season. It is not totally unheard of for a head coach to quit to take a coordinator position.
  • In another odd move, Fox Sports had reported that Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian was leaving Knoxville to "pursue other coaching opportunities." Since that time, he has taken the quarterbacks coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vols offense ranked #90 nationally in total offense and #62 in scoring offense. However, the team seemed to have found their way after sophomore Josh Dobbs was inserted at quarterback and led the team to four wins in the last five games. It is unclear as to whether this was a firing or a difference of opinion or what. This leaves Tennessee with out an OC and the clock ticking towards National Signing Day (NSD) on Feb 4.

Black and White TV

The Senior Bowl was the last college football game connected to the 2014 season. Austin Shepherd, Blake Sims, Jalston Fowler, and Arie Kouandjio all participated in the event. Sims threw 4 of 11 for 50 yards passing with 0 TD and 0 INT. He also had 3 rushes for 23 yards. Fowler did not get a touch.

Coming up:

  • One week until National Signing Day #NSD2015 - Feb 4, 2015
  • NFL Combines - Feb. 20-23, 2015
  • Alabama Pro Day - March 2015 (Actual dates TBA)
  • Spring football practice - March 2015 (TBA likely sandwiched around Alabama Spring Break, March 13-20, 2015)

ROLL TIDE!