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UPDATED: College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Back On Top

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The Alabama Crimson Tide is King Again

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Another great campaign in the books. Well done everyone!

The Crimson Tide put a nice bow on the season with a National Championship Game for the ages. @It seems like it has been so long since the Tide won a NC. Let’s not wait so long for the next one.@ #BamaProblems

Here is a recap of Alabama’s 26-23 win over Georgia in emojis:

This Alabama team went 53-5 over the last four seasons. That is an AVERAGE of 13.25 wins per year. It is Nick Saban’s fifth National title in the last nine seasons. Just soak that in for a moment. This is an unheard of run that Saban is on, especially in this day and age when many of the top players are gone after three (or two) years and scholarships are limited to 85. Truly enjoy this time we are in. You are experiencing an era in sports history that will be talked about for eons. Believe it or not, as a fan, you are a big part of this thing.

So let’s wrap this thing up with a heaping teaspoon of snark, shall we?

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

All three of the FBS OOC teams Bama played made it to a bowl:

  • FSU (7-6) somehow, someway the Seminoles finally got their heads back above water with a 42-16 mismatch win over Southern Miss in the Independence Bowl. FSU is at a major crossroads. With a stacked roster and new head coach, how will they respond in 2018 and beyond? How long before they are no longer looking up at Clemson.
  • Colorado State (7-6) The Rams fell to Marshall 31-28 in the Cure Bowl for their fourth straight bowl game defeat. It was a disappointing end to the season for CSU with four losses in their last five games after starting 6-2.
  • Fresno (10-4) - The Bulldogs upset Houston 33-27 in the Hawaii Bowl. Jeff Tedford made great strides in his first season at Fresno, turning around a team that was 1-11 a season ago.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

  • San Diego State (10-3) fell to the upstart Army Black Knights 42-35 in the Armed Forces Bowl. There is no blaming running back Rashaad Penny for the loss. The Aztecs senior rushed for over 200 yards for the fifth straight game. He finishes the season with 2,248 rushing yards (tops in FBS) plus 23 touchdowns on the ground, two through the air, and three returning kicks.
  • Memphis (10-3) lost to Iowa State 21-20 in Liberty Bowl. The Tigers will need to find a way to replace their dynamic duo of QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller who graduate.

COUSINS

  • Troy (11-2) outscored North Texas 50-30 in the New Orleans Bowl. The Trojans wrap arguably the greatest season in program history. Had they not had a letdown loss to South Alabama the week after beating LSU, it could have propelled them into a higher-profile bowl.
  • South Alabama (4-7) hired Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell to lead its football program. He was 33-15 (29-6) in four seasons at UCA, winning 10 games in both of the last two seasons.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (8-5) was force-fed a big ol’ slice of humble pie from the Ohio Bobcats in the form of a 41-6 beatdown in the Bahamas Bowl. The Blazers succeeded by playing the underdog card all season but got a little cocky at the end.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Army (10-3) beat San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Black Knights tied a school record for wins set by the 1996 team.
  • Navy (7-6) destroyed Virginia 49-7 in the Military Bowl. The Midshipmen outgained the Wahoos 452 to 175.
  • Air Force (5-7) - The Falcons did not make a bowl.
boxers

ELIMINATED

EVERBODY BUT ALABAMA!

THE CONTENDERS FOR NEXT SEASON

A way WAY WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

  • ACC - Clemson should be back in the mix. Miami will fall off. FSU will be rebuilding. Virginia Tech could be a pest but they are not getting the croots a team needs to make it to the Final 4.
  • Big Ten - It will be the usual suspects: Wisky and Ohio State will be the division favorites again. PSU, Michy and Sparty will be hanging around.
  • Big 12 - Oklahoma loses Baker Mayfield but are still pretty stacked. TCU should be good again. Is Texas ready to make that next step?
  • PAC-12 - With an abundance of rebuilding projects in the conference, it’s Southern Cal’s world again. Stanford always seems to be up near the top of the PAC. Will Jake Browning return to Washington for his senior season (he needs to)?
  • SEC - Alabama, Georgia will be the division favorites. Which directions will LSU and Auburn go?
  • Indies - Somehow Notre Dame keeps getting good recruits and stays somewhat relevant. However, they will continue to get shutout of the CFP until they join a conference or blow every opponent out.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

It is way too soon to know anything for sure but here is my half-assed blind dart-throwing NYD6 for next season:

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Clemson
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Georgia
  6. Wisconsin

In case you are wondering which four a-holes voted UCF #1, here they are. Troll away:

  • Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald. Trying to kiss Scott Frost’s ass before he arrives at Nebraska. @swmckewonOWH
  • Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman. Another Scott Frost ass-kisser. @ryaber
  • Safid Deen, Florida State beat writer for the Orlando Sentinel. Bitter, agenda-driven. @Safid_Deen
  • Ed Daigneault of the Republican-American in Waterbury, CT. How did this guy get a vote? @EdDaigneault

LET’S GO BOWLING

The SEC went a disappointing 4-5 in bowls but won the big ones. SC beating Harbaugh was gravy. Seeing Aubie humiliated by a mid-major was some sweet karma.

TEXAS BOWL
Texas 33 Missouri 16

MUSIC CITY BOWL
Northwestern 24 Kentucky 23

BELK BOWL
Wake Forest 55 Texas A&M 52

TAXSLAYER BOWL
Mississippi State 31 Louisville 27

PEACH BOWL
UCF 34 Auburn 27

CITRUS BOWL
Notre Dame 21 LSU 17

OUTBACK BOWL
South Carolina 26 Michigan 19

ROSE BOWL - CFP SEMIFINAL
Georgia 54 Oklahoma 48 (2OT)

SUGAR BOWL - CFP SEMIFINAL
Alabama 24 Clemson 6

HAWT TAEKS OF THE WEEK

Leading up to the Sugar Bowl, all the talk was about how Dabo Swinney was the next Nick Saban. This past week, the comparisons were all thrown Kirby Smart’s way. I know these writers are just trying to get clicks but they need to accept the fact that Nick Saban is the one and only and Greatest College Football Coach of all time. There are no next Nick Sabans out there.

COACHING CAROUSEL

Now that most of the head coaching changes have been solidified, the mad scramble for coordinators and assistants amps up and the money is a-flying. Additoinally, six NFL teams will be looking to fill out new staffs.

  • Texas A&M has hired Notre Dame’s Mike Elko as new defensive coordinator for $1.8 million annually. They are also on the hook to the Irish for the payout of a 3-year deal he signed.
  • The Aggies made a run at LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. That came to an end when Aranda received a hefty raise from LSU - a whopping four-year, $10 million contract extension.
  • LSU OC Matt Canada did not come out as well and the two parties have parted ways. Ed Orgeron is expected to promote tight ends coach Steve Ensminger to OC, which is LOL.
  • Alex Grinch has left Washington State to become Urban Meyer’s co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He will make $800K/year.
  • Alabama is looking to replace defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley who has moved to Colorado State as defensive coordinator.
Kristi Malzahn

Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to UCF and Scott Frost. Just stop.

Double-K thinks it would be awesome that if someday soon Nebraska has a great season but has one bad loss and misses out on the Playoff to an undefeated mid-major team.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE

A quick update on the winner and his runner-ups:

  • Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) There are several NFL Draft analyses out that put the Heisman winner behind Southern Cal’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. It is a bit baffling since Darnold is a turnover machine which a big wind-up, Rosen is a whiny little baby, and Allen is such an unknown. Outside the white chalk lines, Mayfield is a nut case but that can be fixed. On the field, he is a take charge talent. As of now, he is planning to play in the Senior Bowl which should be a treat. I hope he doesn't back out.
  • Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State) Some are projecting this junior as high as the #1 overall player selected in this spring’s draft.
  • Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville) Another junior going pro, he is projected to be a first-round pick, which puzzles me. I just don’t think he has the mechanics to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback. However, I have no doubt he could have a ten year career at wide-out.
  • Bryce Love has yet to declare.

Who Will Win 2018?

If Love returns for his senior season, he will be the favorite. If not, it’s gonna be a tie between Najee and Tua! (EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote that gem before the CFPCG was played!)

MOAR BAMA FOOTBALL!

Speaking of the Senior Bowl (Jan 27), the Crimson Tide will have six seven participants:

  • Anthony Averett
  • Rashaan Evans
  • Da’Shawn Hand
  • JK Scott
  • Levi Wallace
  • Shaun Dion Hamilton will only participate in the bowl’s off-field activities and interview with any NFL scouts that attend the three-day event.
  • UPDATE: Bradley Bozeman has been added.

UNDERCLASSMEN DECLARING FOR THE NFL DRAFT

As of post time, 81 juniors and RS-sophs have declared (UPDATES BELOW). Some of the highlights:

  • Sam Darnold QB R-Soph Southern Cal
  • Josh Rosen QB Jr UCLA
  • Josh Allen QB R-Jr Wyoming - There’s nothing left for him in Laramie.
  • Lamar Jackson QB Jr Louisville
  • Saquon Barkley RB Jr Penn State - Possible #1 pick.
  • Jeff Holland OLB Jr Auburn
  • Kamryn Pettway RB Jr Auburn - Huh??? He might not even get picked.
  • Kerryon Johnson RB Jr Auburn - Nothing left to prove; risk of injury.
  • Carlton Davis CB Jr Auburn
  • John Kelly RB Jr Tennessee - Faded down the stretch and had a marijuana possession arrest. Probably could've used another year.
  • Kahlil McKenzie DT Jr Tennessee
  • Rashaan Gaulden CB R-Jr Tennessee - Could’ve profited from a season under Jeremy Pruitt.
  • Arden Key OLB Jr LSU - Dude checked out months ago.
  • Kevin Tolliver CB Jr LSU - Former 5-star never really stood out in Red Stick; part-time starter over the past three seasons.
  • Toby Weathersby OT Jr LSU - mistake.
  • Christian Kirk WR Jr Texas A&M - Has not lived up to sensational frosh year, but there’s nothing left to prove.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud WR Jr Clemson - Fast but he has not shown he is NFL ready.
  • Taylor Hearn OG R-Jr Clemson
  • Breeland Speaks DE R-Jr Ole Miss - This guy caught my eye as the season wound down. I was hoping he’d transfer to Bama!
  • Antonio Callaway WR Jr Florida - Suspended for credit card fraud and also has some pot arrests. He is talented but needs to get his head straight.
  • Eddy Pineiro K R-Jr Florida - I’m kinda glad this bozo didn’t sign with Bama.
  • Taven Bryan DT R-Jr Florida
  • Royce Freeman RB Oregon - This guy chose to sit out the Ducks bowl game but then tried to give his team a sideline pep talk when they were losing to Boise. I’d be all “Put on your pads or GTFOH!
  • Derwin James S Jr Florida State - Remember that time he was going to win the Heisman?
  • Ryan Izzo TE R-Jr Florida State
  • Tarvarus McFadden CB Jr Florida State
  • Jalen Wilkerson, DE, Florida State - This guy is not getting drafted.
  • Auden Tate WR Jr Florida State
  • Denzel Ward CB Jr Ohio State
  • Jerome Baker Jr Ohio State - Buckeyes leading tackler.
  • Sam Hubbard DE R-Jr Ohio State
  • Mark Andrews TE R-Jr Oklahoma
  • Mark Walton RB Jr Miami - Had a breakout season.
  • Equanimeous St Brown WR Jr Notre Dame
  • Josh Adams RB Jr Notre Dame - Had a breakout season.
  • Tanner Lee QB R-Jr Nebraska - Seriously, bro?
  • Hayden Hurst TE Jr South Carolina - Might be first TE taken.
  • Ronald Jones RB Jr Southern Cal
  • Tim Settle DT R-Soph Virginia Tech

UPDATED DECLARATIONS 1/11/17:

  • Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
  • Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
  • Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
  • Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  • Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
  • Tremaine Edmunds, OLB, Virginia Tech - probably a good choice.
  • Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech - not as good as his brother (see above).
  • Deon Cain, WR, Clemson - could’ve used another year in college.
  • Justin Reid, S, Stanford
  • Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford

SECOND UPDATE 1/11/17, 1:40pm CT:

  • Ronnie Harrison, DB, Alabama
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
  • Kyle Allen, QB, Houston - WHAT THE...? You may recall Allen was a former five-star recruit who lost the starting job at Texas A&M and transferred to Houston. This season he was benched after three games and did not step on the field the rest of the year.

Several Alabama and Georgia players are expected to announce soon. Among them are Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley, and Da’Ron Payne, who are all projected to be around the Top 10 picks. Other possible early departures include Ronnie Harrison, Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough.

THIRD UPDATE 1/16/17:

  • Roquan Smith, LB Georgia - First rounder.
  • Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia - Former #1 overall recruit had a good, not great, college career.
  • J.J. Dallas, CB, UL-Monroe - Probably the biggest head-scratcher of them all, this juco transfer played one season at ULM and tallied only 12 solo tackles, 4 assists, 0 INT. Good luck... at Walmart!

THE SICK REPORT

  • Just when we thought all the coaching firings had stopped came news of Rich Rodriguez ouster at Arizona. The real surprise was that he wasn’t fired for his lousy record (43–35, PAC 24–30). Instead it took a $$$$ sexual harassment/hostile workplace lawsuit to dislodge his lousy bum out of Tucson. Take a moment to think of Mrs. Rodriguez and thank her snootiness for not wanting to move to Tuscaloosa, causing hubby to turn down Alabama for the head coaching job.
  • Former starting UGA quarterback Jacob Eason is expected to transfer to Washington.
Black and White TV

This is amazing but it should not be surprising. You knew Birmingham would turn out big numbers for the Sugar Bowl. But to outdraw Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Atlanta for the Rose Bowl is astounding and a credit to this fan base.

As for Monday night’s Alabama vs Georgia college football championship, ESPN raked in an 8.7 national rating in adults 18-49 and 28.4 million viewers, which was the second most-watched cable event ever (although I am sure there was a massive dip during that wretched smug halftime show). These ratings came despite having two SEC teams in what was labeled by some as having “regional interest”.

Birmingham had the highest local rating (57.6), and the game’s host city, Atlanta, was close behind with a 47.8 rating, a high for an ESPN-aired college football game in the same market.

WHAT NOW?

  • Jan 15: Deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft.
  • Jan 20: Championship celebration and parade 2pm - it is also a BIG recruiting weekend.
  • Jan 27: Senior Bowl, Mobile, AL
  • Feb 7: National Signing Day
  • Feb 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine
  • March TBA: Alabama Pro Day
  • April 26-28: NFL Draft
  • 233 days until Alabama kicks off with Louisville in Orlando, FL (Sept 1).

#ALABAMA

Peace and blessings to you all!

#RollTide!

Poll

What was the best unit for Alabama this season?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    D-line
    (401 votes)
  • 6%
    LBs
    (87 votes)
  • 26%
    Secondary
    (358 votes)
  • 25%
    Punter
    (334 votes)
  • 1%
    O-Line
    (25 votes)
  • 2%
    WRs
    (29 votes)
  • 5%
    RBs
    (68 votes)
  • 2%
    QBs
    (28 votes)
1330 votes total Vote Now