Recruiting is over and college football down time has begun…unless you are Nick Saban. He gets to spend the next couple of weeks going over police reports and seeing if he can still keep these players on the Alabama payroll for another season. I hope he takes a stand and kicks them off the team…he does oversign…so it’s not like he doesn’t have players to fill the vacated spots. Get ready for more news like that since we do not have anything else going on at the time. Unless you’re a huge basketball fan, then there’s plenty to look forward to. It seems every night we are treated to a great overtime game and an upset of a top-ranked team. Let’s hope that magic carries over into next football season. Now onto some news and thoughts from this past week’s action.
1. I still can not get over what those Alabama players did. I can understand the players doing something dumb like “partying” incidents, but this is crazy. I know Saban is under a lot of pressure to win, but he should just give those guys the boot. Those players represent Alabama football and all of it’s history and tradition, and should not drag Alabama through the mud with their offseason actions. More coaches need to do the right thing and let players get booted when they are out of line. Playing college football is a privilege, not a right. Coaches can even look to former Oregon Coach Chip Kelly who booted his starting quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, and still made the title game the following year with a new quarterback. More coaches should follow Kelly’s lead, because one person does not a great program make.
2. I know player safety is a big issue right now…but come on, NCAA — what’s with this new rule on targeting? Refs will now have the ability to eject any players who lead with their helmet. I have so many mixed thoughts and feelings on this one, so give me some feedback. Let’s teach players to learn how to tackle better and not propel themselves like missiles with their helmets into defenseless offensive players. Then again, have any of us ever tried to play defense at the college level? Just imagine how fast a play happens and what is going through their mind. I am sure the thought of “don’t catch the ball” or “put them on the ground” is first and foremost, and “I will do whatever means necessary to prevent it”….not “let me lead with my helmet to hurt them. Imagine how fans will react when a HUGE HIT in a USC vs. Oregon game happens by Oregon’s defense, followed by the crowd finding out their player is thrown out of the game. Imagine what will happen to the refs when they do that for a LSU vs. Alabama game. Good luck with that one, I know I do not want to be the ref to make that call. On a lighter note, I am sure Boise State is going to have something to say about their other rule changes regarding uniforms.
3. Does this hiring down in Baton Rouge make sense? Les Miles has hired former Offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, Cam Cameron, to the same position at LSU. The guy was fired by the Ravens during the 14th week of the season, and then the Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl. Obviously, the guy could potentially be a coaching liability that could affect your team. LSU’s offense has been the main problem the last few years, so I guess Les Miles is desperate and doesn’t want to use any of his voodoo magic right now. Time will tell if this is a good move, but with the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, and Joe Flacco having a great run after they fired the guy….it shows their might have been better options out there.
4. When former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron was recruiting Joe McKnight during his days down in Oxford, he was close to signing him. He then told his staff that if Ole Miss gets McKnight away from LSU and USC at the time, then everyone will think they cheated to get him and the NCAA will come sniffing. New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze can relate, and is starting to feel a little heat from the rest of the SEC country after hauling in that great recruiting class. He got not only the top player in the nation, but another two players who were ranked #1 at their position. I imagine some hurt fans and coaches who missed out on those players will do anything they can to find fault at Ole Miss, and drag their name down to the NCAA office for punishment. LSU and Alabama are surely mad that they somehow got “outbid” when it came to signing those players. How about if we just let the man coach and get over it?
5. Up in Big Ten country, they are mulling the thought of playing anywhere from 9-10 conference games per season. They’re also discussing avoiding playing any more FCS opponents. I guess that means the SEC will have more FCS opponents to chose from when kicking off their season. I would like to see no more FCS games (I am sure Michigan would be glad to be on board with that, following the Appalachian State game). With so many conferences expanding their teams, it means schools are more likely to play fewer teams from the other division as often. In a way, I am a fan of adding more conference games, but then that means schools won’t have as many out of conference games to schedule big-time opponents. Games like Alabama vs. Clemson, LSU vs. Oregon, Florida vs. Florida State could become rarities if schools are asked to play ten conference games. Schools can make a lot of cash from those home games, so I am sure some will still keep scheduling FCS opponents to secure the easy win, get the home revenue, and not have to give up a home-and-home series with bigger name opponents. The Big Ten should be better for all this, and hopefully more schools will take note. Do fans really want to see Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech or Alabama vs. Georgia Southern? It’s another bold move for the Big Ten, along with their conference expansion news.
With how things went last week, I am sure Alabama players can keep our news feed alive and well. If you’re really bored you can still follow that mess at Penn State that will just not go away. Forgive and forget…move on. While other parts of the country can shift to basketball, football, or hockey…here in the South there are only two sports we focus on: “football and spring ball”. Let’s hope Saban can keep the rest of his players busy until spring ball gets here.
1. South Carolina gets a boost
2. College football mailbag
3. Tennessee rebuilding Rocky Top
4. Coach’s Valentine’s Day cards
5. Oregon making stadium changes