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Jumbo Package: Media Focuses On Tide Defense & A Lot Of Weird News Nationally

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Yesterday was a bit weird.

They're f'n everywhere!
They're f'n everywhere!
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Let's start with the weird stuff first

Ohio State's Mass Exodus Has Concluded and the Buckeyes Are Left With More Questions Than Answers Following 2015 Season | Eleven Warriors

Now, as Ohio State officially closed the book on the 2015 season and the crazed fanbase in Columbus turns all of its focus toward 2016, quarterback is one of the few spots where the Buckeyes have a definitive answer. How quickly things have changed. Ohio State's mass exodus of talent ended late Tuesday night when All-American junior safety Vonn Bell became the ninth underclassman to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.

NINE undergrads gone. It is eerie how closely his tenure in Columbus resembles Florida: start hot, win a title, offseason distractions and arrests, a team with few leaders, then a mass exodus of talent once a national championship is out of reach. Will it end better at OSU than Florida? Who knows. The man can X and O, but he's failed to consistently master the locker room.

Les Miles bans LSU players from bars: You can get social interaction elsewhere

LSU coach Les Miles announced that his players will be banned from going to bars after tight end Dillon Gordon was stabbed earlier in the week, The Advocate reported. "I’m cutting it off," Miles said at his news conference Tuesday. "It’s just not worth it. The reason you go out is because you want social interaction. Social interaction can take place at home, at class, can take place at a number of places. You don’t have to go to a fight night club."

Gordon's knifing was more a flesh wound than a true medical peril, but that sucks to be sure. That said, banning Tiger players from bars is historically more likely to prevent assaults by LSU players than against them. (Shaaaaaade.)

The Big 12 wants to change conference championship rules, whether the Big Ten likes it or not -

A source close to the conference said the Big Ten did not make the proposal to be "obstructionist" or to specifically block the plans of either the Big 12 or the ACC, which would be in line with what Jim Delany has said earlier. The Big Ten is also not said to be looking to force the Big 12 into expanding. Rather, the conference was concerned that total deregulation might have unintended consequences.

This is just a weird story all the way around. Slive and others think the B12 can play a round robin schedule and then do a rematch B12CCG. This permits a 13th game and doesn't require expansion. Most are on-board too...until Jim Delany opened his pie hole to object, saying that his opposition isn't obstructionist (it is) and isn't calculated to force the B12 to expand (it does.) The NCAA meetings are in just a few weeks, and on Friday the B12 will decide on expansion. Keep an eye on this.

Tennessee Defensive Coordinator: Perfect is the Enemy of Good is the Enemy of Great - Rocky Top Talk

However, it's also important to note in each of those games it wasn't just the defense that cost the Vols. A hyper-conservative offense couldn't gain any yardage when a single first down could have made a difference against Oklahoma. We'll go to our graves remembering the full list of what could have been in Gainesville far beyond the 4th and 14: going for two, getting out of their shell offensively up 27-21, better clock management or a made 55 yard field goal. And Tennessee did get the ball back with a chance to beat Alabama before Josh Dobbs was sacked and fumbled.

Butch, what are you doing?

UCLA Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone to join Texas A&M Aggies

Mazzone, 58, replaces Jake Spavital, who "mutually parted ways" with A&M on Sunday. Spavital was with the Aggies the past three years, the last two as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Mazzone had been offensive coordinator at UCLA for the past four seasons and held the same position at Arizona State in 2010 and 2011. He also has been an assistant with the New York Jets, Ole Miss, NC State, Oregon State Beavers, Auburn, Minnesota, TCU and Colorado State.

This is the weirdest though; not that Spavital was fired (he needed to be,) but that an Air Raid coach would try and bring in a P12 pro-style offensive guy to run the program. Mazzone was always a mediocre signal-caller; there's a reason he's had 14 jobs in 23 years. The wheels are just falling off in College Station, and it looks like Sumlin actually wants to get fired. Worse, Mazzone has a guaranteed three-year deal that will keep him at Aggieland even if/when Sumlin departs.

Video time: Grab some snacks and watch these.

Alabama coaches more engaged in practices - ESPN Video

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi joins The Paul Finebaum Show to analyze Nick Saban's approach to practicing for the CFP.

Difference for Alabama is quick and athletic defense - ESPN Video

While at the Paul W. Bear Bryant Museum, ESPN's Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Mark May analyze the impact of No. 2 Alabama's front seven.

Crimson Tide looking for 'right formula' to win the CFP - ESPN Video

No. 2 Alabama's Nick Saban, A'Shawn Robinson, Cyrus Jones and Lane Kiffin preview their matchup against No. 1 Clemson in the CFP.


Lane Kiffin’s past might help Alabama keep an excellent OC for longer than usual -

Kiffin learned that he couldn't rely on his quarterback to be throwing the ball nearly 31 times per game — at least not yet. So in the last two months of the regular season, he had Coker throw the ball far less often. Only now, as Coker became more comfortable, has Kiffin opened up the playbook. In the past two games — both against good defenses in Florida and Michigan State — Coker has gone from a game manager to a terrifying combination of efficient and explosive. His completion percentage would pace the country by six percent if extrapolated over the course of the season, while his yards per attempt would rank in the top 15.

The Mothership makes a case that this season represents a growth and development year where Lane has learned a lot about his team and branched out somewhat. I'd tend to agree; and the development of Coker into more than a game manager has been one of Kiffin's better jobs as a coach.

ESPN 'Megacast' to show College Football Playoff National Championship game in 14 ways -

ESPNews — ESPN Voices This is just a bunch of people — some of whom pay attention to college football — watching a game together. Last year, it was just a lot of people eating food. It was more entertaining than most of this year's bowl games.

Do you want or need 14 ways to enjoy the game? Tough, ESPN is giving it to you anyway.

No. 2 Alabama's deep, diverse line pivotal to title game run | College Football

Run up the middle against Alabama and you're likely to be greeted by powerful big men like A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed. Drop back to pass, and there's a fair chance explosive pass rushers such as Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams will be in hot pursuit. The most impressive part of the second-ranked Crimson Tide's formidable defense has been a front line that is both deep and diverse, even by 'Bama standards.

At this point, any extra ink spilled on the defensive line is just piling on. Don't care. I'll still gump out to it, and so will you. For 120 years, Alabama has been about dominating the line of scrimmage: That will never change. We deify nose tackles and right guards, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

11 players most likely to determine who wins the CFB national title game | FOX Sports

When the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers meet for the 2015 national championship, these will be the players to keep an eye on.

Ryan Kelly is listed as No. 11, but as we know very well, if Kelly has a great game, this offense will have a great game. He is the glue that keeps it all together, and I would have ranked him much higher.

Alabama leaders tell team: 'Either you're with us or you're against us' |

"The way we feel is either you're with us or you're against us," Allen said. "If you're not helping this team out, you're against us, and if you're against us we have nothing to say to you. I hate to be like that, but it's a train you need to either get on or get off." Allen's stance might seem harsh but it's a reason this Alabama team is better than the 2014 version. Players are as active as ever at self-policing teammates and making sure everyone is on the same page.

A'Shawn is the most physically imposing dude on this team, but Jonathan Allen is the one who would scare the hell out of me.

Don't be surprised if Alabama has to come back to beat Clemson -

Alabama starts slowly. Our Clemson and Bama blogs talked about it. Of course, for the Tide that means holding a 10-3 lead while absorbing enough power from nearby stars to create 35-10 stuff. The defense streams, but the offense buffers. Can the Tigers start quickly enough to take advantage? The numbers suggest so, for a while. Compare the quarter-by-quarter S&P+ rankings for both Clemson and Alabama:

Interesting read here. I think the article overlooks Alabama's scoring defense in the first half, however, and particularly the first quarter. The Tide just don't give up many points early, nor do they score much. But. when you have the luxury of that defense, you can play punch/counter-punch and throw body shots that will matter much more in the fourth quarter. Again, it's an old trope, but it's what wins games: You play the first three quarters to win the fourth.