Happy Thursday, everyone. Only a couple of days left until most of the SEC disappoints their mothers by filling up on tasty cupcakes before Thanksgiving dinner. On Saturday, look for talking heads everywhere to be whining about how other conferences are beating themselves up down the stretch while the SEC coasts. Of course, the necessity of these games also comes up every year:
"We understand that it does help their schools and it certainly helps our team to be able to go play a game and try to improve and get better and have the proper respect for the team that we play," Saban said Wednesday morning. "Through the years, I’ve been an advocate of playing all Power 5 conference schools, playing more conference games. I know it’s a more difficult schedule but I think it would be better for the fans. In the playoffs right now, if you want to talk about that, that system is if you lose a game you’re on thin ice. If you lose two, it’s almost impossible.
"If you didn't really need the guarantee, would you do this?" Huesman asked rhetorically. "I haven't really thought real hard about it. But I would say, 'Probably not,' even though it is a great deal for our players. It's really good in recruiting. I would probably opt out of it just because of how good these teams are."
Great! Let's play a game that neither coach wants to play.
Besides the money issue, there are certainly positives: Chattanooga's players get to play at Bryant-Denny and the guys on the end of Alabama's bench get to play, in many cases for the only time in their careers. Something still feels wrong about a team of this caliber playing a team of that caliber, though.
We've got nothing else to do. Might as well ask: should these games be played? Vote and tell us in the comments.
Speaking of cupcakes, one of them is a little salty:
"The reason I’m disappointed, No. 1, he’s the highest-paid public employee that exists in the United States, but it’s far greater than that for me ... I don’t think ever before in the history of mankind has the world needed the economic and military leadership of the United States. "… In a democracy we get a chance to pick those leaders. So to pick the leader of the free world last Tuesday was the most important thing going on in the world that day, and to not realize that and not to be aware of that frankly is disrespectful to his team, to his school, to his state, to the country. There’s still a piece of me that can’t believe he even said that."
Which piece of you would that be, coach?
That point is underscored by our CFP prediction model. Alabama remained relatively steady, and now has a 90 percent probability of making the playoff; at this point, the Tide would likely get in even if they lost a game (whether to Auburn in the season finale, or perhaps even the SEC championship). But the weekend also took identical 20-percentage-point tolls on Michigan and Washington’s CFP probabilities, and lopped 9 points off of Clemson’s as well.
Loving those odds, Mr. Silver. Roll Tide! [insert clever election prediction joke here]
Alabama players have a great shot at some hardware this season:
Alabama seniors Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster were named two of five finalists for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Charlotte Touchdown Club announced on Thursday morning.
Alabama junior left tackle Cam Robinson was selected as one of five semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, the Greater Omaha Sports Commission announced on Wednesday evening. Robinson, who has started every game at left tackle since stepping foot on campus three years ago, anchors the Crimson Tide offensive line. His play has helped the Alabama offense rank 14th nationally and first in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense at 41.2 points per game.
Cam has had another stellar season, false starts aside. Foster and Allen are no-brainers.
Here's our first in-season crack at a 2017 mock draft:
Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Allen, DI, Alabama
The Browns need help all over the roster and this could be a toss up between either Allen or Myles Garrett. Allen is the choice this time around as his destructive presence will pair with emerging DT Danny Shelton to build a strong defensive line for the Browns. Allen has been unblockable this season, leading all interior defensive linemen with a 93.7 pass rush grade while playing strong against the run in his first extended action on early downs. Allen can disrupt from multiple spots along the defensive front, giving Cleveland a 3-down foundational piece for the defense.
First-overall hype? I'd say Mr. Allen made a great decision coming back to school. Hopefully Da'Shawn Hand follows suit.
The decision to not visit any other schools stems from Tagovailoa's decision to leave his family and friends more than 4,000 miles away from home.
"We're going to stay there for a couple of days, maybe even a week," Tagovailoa told SEC Country. "From there, (my family) wanted to go on trips elsewhere. I didn't want to do that because I want to enjoy the time I have here with my family and friends. After we go to Alabama, we're going to come back here and spend as much time together as possible before they don't see me for a while because of football."
Sounds like Tua is locked up, folks. Great news.
"I have no knowledge of the situation,’’ Petrino responded by email, when asked to comment about the report. "We take a lot of pride in the way we operate our program. As I’ve stated already this season, my coaching philosophy has always been to play the game with sportsmanship. "Right now our focus is on our game (Friday) at Houston and finishing the 2016 season strong.’’
Well, Coach Bobby sure knows a thing or two about cheating. Wonder if any of the basketball team's hookers have been on the back of his motorcycle?
I don't know if this has any legs, but you can bet that the committee will give it some scrutiny. They won't want a cheating scandal anywhere near the playoff.
Lastly, the pundits are talking about the coaching carousel this week:
"Jimbo was Joe's guy from the beginning, and I just don't see him passing on hiring him," a source close to the situation said, referencing the AD's pursuit of Fisher last fall when Miles was first under fire. Fisher was the offense coordinator for the Tigers' national title team in 2003 under Nick Saban. He has been FSU's head coach since 2010, winning a national championship in 2013.
The fall of Notre Dame. Seriously, how can the Irish, who play a total of three true road games this season and have their own TV network, ever be 4-6? What kind of odds could you have gotten on a preseason parlay of Notre Dame losing to Navy and Duke? (Apparently, Mike Krzyzewski, who has lost five of six to Notre Dame, is taking a crash course from Duke football Coach David Cutcliffe on how to take down Mike Brey). Brian Kelly will likely keep his job because his overall record is too good to fire him after one bad season, but his athletic director’s pledge that Kelly will "lead his team out of the tunnel" on opening day next fall should probably make him a little bit nervous.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: The Bulldogs' slump to 4-6 after Dak Prescott almost reinforces Mullen's chances. Look what Mississippi State is without Prescott. Look what the Cowboys are with him. Mullen deserves some credit for developing a top candidate for NFL rookie of the year.
To summarize: the Cajuns are feuding internally over Fisher vs. Orgeron, and a 4-6 record will get you on the hot seat at Notre Dame but earn you a promotion at Mississippi State.
Sounds about right.
That should just about do you for today. Have a fabulous work day.