Happy Tuesday, everyone. We are less than a week away from the Rose Bowl, and previews are starting to ramp up.
Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell have terrorized quarterbacks all season coming off the edge for Alabama. Turner earned the SEC’s defensive player of the year award, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
It would behoove the Tide to keep JJ McCarthy under constant pressure, take a dimension away from the Michigan offense. However, the UM offensive line isn’t going to make that easy.
The Wolverines will be without All-American Zak Zinter, who suffered a leg injury vs. Ohio State in the regular season finale. However, the current group did just fine in his absence vs. Iowa in the Big Ten title game.
Michigan managed 3.3 yards per play against Iowa. If that’s the definition of “just fine” then I’d hate to see what poor looks like.
Michigan is just so motivated, y’all.
Michigan is yet to beat Alabama in the 21st century. The last time the Wolverines had the better of the Crimson Tide was in 1999, which makes the Rose Bowl very important.
Jim Harbaugh and Co. are looking to have revenge on the Crimson Tide for their defeat in the 2019 Citrus Bowl. This Michigan setup has shown what they can do when they are zealous about something and will look to create huge problems for the Tide.
Kirk McNair says that the stat geeks like Alabama in the Rose.
Jan 1 — Rose Bowl, Pasadena: No. 1 Michigan (13-0, 9-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 4 Alabama (12-1, 8-0), 2 p.m. PST (4 p.m. central time), ESPN, Michigan -1 ½, o-u 45. Remember the reaction in the Michigan celebration room when the CFP announced the Wolverines would be playing Alabama and not Florida State? The least celebratory of any of the teams covered. Some would say stunned or glum. And many would say Alabama as an underdog is both wrong and so much better for Nick Saban than rat poison. Of course, Michigan is very good, but an Alabama win is not an upset. One more time, Alabama 27, Michigan 24.
Christopher Walsh wrote about the 1927 Rose Bowl vs. Stanford.
Alabama was outplayed, but Stanford could never put the game away. In the closing minutes, the Crimson Tide scored a touchdown for a 7-7 standoff and 9-0-1 record. Pickhard was selected MVP of the Rose Bowl, and the game was the first transcontinental radio broadcast of a sporting event on NBC.
Because most services at the time held their final rankings at the conclusion of the regular season, both teams along with Lafayette and Navy had already been declared national champions by at least one organization prior to the game — Alabama’s second title.
Imagine that. Multiple teams recognized, so nobody is whining about getting snubbed and, should something like this be done in the modern era with votes coming after the bowls, many more bowl games would be relevant which would undoubtedly reduce opt-outs.
But y’all just have to have your games for all the marbles.
Speaking of whining about snubs and opt-outs:
Florida State quarterback Tate Rodemaker, who took over as the team’s starting QB after Jordan Travis’ season-ending injury, has informed the Seminoles’ staff that he plans to enter the transfer portal, a source close to the family tells 247Sports.
Rodemaker won’t be playing in FSU’s Orange Bowl matchup against Georgia.
The decision comes with the Seminoles in pursuit of adding a transfer quarterback. FSU recently hosted Washington State transfer Cam Ward and Oregon State transfer DJ Uiagalelei for visits.
If Rodemaker has chosen to forgo the bowl game for this reason, then his motivation is likely to find his new destination and enroll for spring semester. If this is the case, then it seems likely that he would have opted out of a playoff game as well. I’m not a betting man, but Georgia -14.5 seems like stealing.
Last, Tua Tagovailoa had a solid game to help the Miami Dolphins knock off Dallas, but for one Sunday the NFL belonged to Amari Cooper.
“Yeah, I mean every time I step on the field, I try to put forth my best effort, I do truly feel like I’m unguardable,” Cooper said in a post-game interview with NFL Network’s Stacey Dales. “You know it’s all about opportunities, and I had a lot of opportunities today, so I was able to take advantage of them.”
Cooper got to work from the get-go, opening up the afternoon with a 53-yard reception on the Browns’ first play from scrimmage. He added on two touchdown catches, one for 75 yards, and averaged just over 24 yards per catch by the end of the game.
“He’s a consummate pro. He’s one of the best I’ve ever been around,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said in his post-game conference, via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “What he knows about this game. The way he sees in this game. He’s like a savant out there, and combine that with the route running ability. He’s one of this team’s leaders. These guys love Amari, and the same come-through is awesome.”
Cooper’s 265 yards were a Browns franchise record and the 17th most in NFL history. Julio Jones holds the record for former Alabama players with 300 back in 2016, a game that I had the good fortune to attend. This was Amari’s best catch of the day, and it came on 4th and long.
Joe Flacco and Amari Cooper are playing on rookie mode— PFF (@PFF) December 24, 2023
Have a day, Coop.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.