Happy Monday, all. Plenty of good links for you today as the Tide football team looks forward to next week's SEC Championship Game while the Tide basketball team celebrates a win over #17 Notre Dame, an early signature win for Coach Avery Johnson. Let's get to it:
Iron Bowl Aftermath:
Henry broke three school records Saturday — single-game carries, and he became Alabama's record-holder for single-season rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. Henry leads the nation with 1,797 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns.
Leads the nation in rushing yards and rushing TDs, and is the best offensive player on the best team. Sounds like a Heisman to me.
"He did an excellent job," said Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson in reference to Griffith. "That does put a little more pressure on me because I want to be one-upping that almost, but I'm just out there to do my job. At the end of the day he had a great day and I missed one." Griffith made kicks of 26, 40, 26, 50 and 47 yards in the game. Carlson added to a his school record with his 15th and 16th consecutive field goals on kicks of 24 and 44 yards in the first half before missing a 48-yarder in the second.
Classy comments from Adam Griffith's Iron Bowl counterpart. It's fair to say that Adam has now overcome whatever was ailing him. The past several games he has kicked the ball like the confident, elite kicker we heard about coming out of high school.
On Saturday, No. 2 Alabama won its second straight Iron Bowl, 29-13, clinched the SEC West and secured a spot in the conference title game. The Tide will play No. 10 Florida in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 5. That idea seemed far-fetched 10 weeks ago, when the reigning conference champs were reeling from an unexpected loss to Ole Miss. That setback seemed to shake the very foundation of Alabama’s program.
It only seemed to shake the foundation because guys like you said it did, Zac. The team stayed true to the process and focused on the next game.
In this era of concern over player safety it’s amazing few are questioning Saban over his use of Henry. The sporting public explicitly understands the dangers of blows to the head, but can’t seem to grasp the concept of body blows. The hits that running backs take often aren’t the extraordinary car crashes we see with defenseless wide receivers over the middle, but their cumulative effect is obvious. Running backs are taking repeated jabs where wide receivers receive the occasional upper cut.
While this is a bit harsh, I was also concerned about some of the fourth quarter carries. Derrick is a physical specimen, but nobody needs to be toting the ball 46 times in one game. Damien Harris clearly wasn't as ready as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and T.J. Yeldon were in their freshman campaigns. Hopefully he and Bo Scarbrough take the necessary steps to reach their vast potential going forward.
Jeremy Johnson was long billed as Auburn's future but after a tumultuous season as the Tigers' full-time starting quarterback his plans beyond the upcoming bowl game are unclear. The junior signal caller did not offer a response to what he planned to do in 2016 following Saturday's Iron Bowl, during which Johnson went 10 for 23 for 169 yards with a touchdown in Auburn's 29-13 loss. "No," Johnson said in response to if he's thought about what he'll do next season. "No comment."
Have to feel at least a little sad for a young man who just couldn't live up to the hype. Auburn has a commitment from John Franklin III, the top juco dual-threat QB per 247 who started his career at FSU and has been compared to Nick Marshall (I know you're all thrilled to hear that), so the writing is likely on the wall for Jeremy. After being lauded as a Heisman candidate, he probably finishes his career at the FCS level.
On to Florida:
Urban Meyer and Florida started the SEC's seven-year reign over college football with a national championship in 2006, adding another two years later. Alabama won three of four from 2009-12. Back then, the SEC champion was a virtually automatic entry in the title game. But the SEC hasn't won since then with the Tide losing to eventual champion Ohio State in last season's semifinals. If Alabama loses, that mini-drought will stretch to three seasons. The Tide is trying to become the first team to win back to back SEC titles since Tennessee in 1997 and 1998.
Hard to believe that no one has back to back conference titles in 17 seasons. Hopefully the Tide is able to break that trend.
This one figures to be a defensive battle. The Gators (10-2) have struggled mightily on offense in November. Only a safety prevented a shutout in the 27-2 loss to Florida State on Saturday. That's enough to make Alabama (11-1) an overwhelming favorite to win the 3 p.m. CT Saturday meeting in the Georgia Dome. At the same time, Jim McElwain's defense ranks in the top 10 nationally in most major statistical categories.
Cook finished with 183 yards, his fourth consecutive game with at least 100 yards on the ground. If there is any consolation for the Gators defense, it would be the fact that most of those yards came in the fourth quarter. Through the first three quarters, Cook managed just 13 carries — five of those went for zero or negative yards. Compare that to his 13 carries in the final period, during which he rushed for 150 yards and failed to generate positive yardage just twice.
On Senior Night in the Swamp and with College Football Playoff semifinal implications in play, the Gators turned in their worst performance of the fledgling Jim McElwain era. To be run off their home field by their in-state rivals in such a high-stakes game was bad enough. But McGee felt he and the offense were personally responsible for Saturday night's 27-2 loss. Florida's defense kept the Gators in the game for three quarters before collapsing from carrying the entire load.
Pretty common theme here. Florida has a salty defense but an absolutely atrocious offense. They have managed a total of 49 points in regulation in the past four games, with 24 of those coming against the same South Carolina defense that allowed 23 to The Citadel in a losing effort. The past two weeks they have been taken to overtime by the vaunted Florida Atlantic Owls and shut out by the Florida State Seminoles. Barring any more crazy bounces, this should be another game featuring a low-scoring first half with the Tide pulling away against a worn down defense late.
-- On Alabama's bounce-back from losses: McElwain said it's a testament to how Saban coaches and the mental side of his craft.
-- McElwain remembers a little about recruiting Jake Coker after he committed to FSU. "Obviously, I screwed it up."
-- "I think it's the front 30," he said about Alabama front seven. Pretty much said he hopes his o-line doesn't get scared. -- Job security issues in coaching "comes with the territory."
-- "I want to make (Saban) proud too," McElwain said.
Coach Mac has quite the personality and knows full well what his team is up against. Love the comment about screwing up Jake Coker's recruitment.
Kirby as good as gone:
Kirby Smart: The Alabama defensive coordinator is an obvious candidate given his connections, and there is considerable sentiment among those close to McGarity to pursue Smart. He’s a former Georgia safety, he was an assistant under Richt in the mid-2000s, and he’s served under the tutelage of Nick Saban at Alabama the past eight years. The question is whether Georgia will take a gamble on someone who not only has no head coaching experience, but has also been running Saban’s defense.
The Georgia Bulldogs finally came to terms with the fact that Mark Richt was never going to win them a national title, and now Kirby Smart is the leading candidate to succeed him. This is going to be a tough situation, as a large section of the fan base is upset about Richt's firing, particularly those who share his beliefs and value them over wins and losses. Some are already comparing Kirby to Will Muschamp and predicting failure. I would assume that he would jump at the opportunity if offered, but he is headed somewhere regardless.
Johnson's Alabama basketball program knocked off its second top 20 opponent this weekend in a 74-73 win against No. 17 Notre Dame. On Friday, Alabama beat No. 20 Wichita State, 64-60, its first top 20 win in two seasons. The win landed Alabama fifth-place in the Advocare Invitational, but big picture it's far more significant. Johnson has already shown his recruiting prowess landing a commitment from five-star guard Terrence Ferguson, but his ability to win two marquee games with his current roster is encouraging for the future.
Great tournament for the team under Coach Avery Johnson, who is off to an outstanding start. The roster probably won't hold up for any kind of real run this season, but you have to be encouraged by what we are seeing on the court and on the recruiting trail. He has already created a buzz around the program that hasn't been present in years.
That should be enough for today. Have a great week, everyone.