The marriage between the management styles of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin always seemed to be one of the shotgun variety, even if Saban himself had his hand on the trigger. Saban knew he needed to move on from traditional offensive methods – without getting so far away from them that his teams drifted into gimmick territory – and Kiffin was both attractive and available.
The Predictions Dept. would like to petition the SEC to remove Missouri from the conference for the remainder of the season. Three of our eight losses this year have come as a result of trying to accurately peg the Tigers one way or another. Missouri now finds itself atop of the SEC East heap as a result of its win over South Carolina, a win that, for all practical purposes, eliminates South Carolina from the divisional race – unless Missouri itself decides to let the Gamecocks back in it, of course, which would be fitting. This week's top game involves Alabama, so in this space we'll look at some of the SEC's other offerings, topped by Florida-Tennessee in the East and Auburn-LSU in the West.
With several teams still left undefeated in major college football this late in November, the subject of “style points” is sure to come up in any discussion of which team or teams should be ranked atop the standings. The only style points Alabama put up against Mississippi State on Saturday was in showing how stylishly a team could dismiss the fallout of turnovers. Alabama's 20-7 win over the Bulldogs will probably be enough to keep Alabama atop the BCS standings. The effort behind that victory won't be enough to beat Auburn in two weeks.
If the only way Alabama could beat Florida State was to do it with flash, with style, or with statistics, Saturday’s season opener could have turned into a rather unpleasant experience for the Crimson Tide.
One of the most beloved moments in Alabama’s pregame video montage is a set of highlights strung together over a symphonic score, while one-word phrases are superimposed over the images. “Grit,” “Toughness” and “Comebacks” are some of the selections, the video eventually fading out over an image of the late Paul “Bear” Bryant” being carried off the field by his players, with the word “Class” chosen for that final remembrance. Alabama’s 2014 win over Auburn could give rise to an entire video based around a single word – “Resilience.”
In his first season as Alabama’s basketball coach, Avery Johnson did a lot of heavy lifting off the court to revive interest in a program gone stale and on the court to paper over a thin roster with glaring weaknesses and somehow pull out a respectable record and NIT berth. By the time he begins his third season next November, Johnson could be well on his way to coaching a team that is an NCAA tournament regular, with veteran players experienced in doing things his way mixed with an elite freshman class.
Disclaimer: This is not an official University of Alabama document. The depth chart is taken from...
Where to watch: Alabama (9-3) at Ole Miss (10-3, 0-1 SEC) - Today 8 p.m. Central, The Pavilion at Ole Miss, ESPNU Who to watch:...
Unlike fellow SEC newbie Texas A&M, Missouri wasn't up to the challenge of conference competition in 2012. The Tigers battled injury issues all season long, but more so than injuries was the issue of softness. This was a team that wasn't particularly athletic, dangerous or well organized. For 2013, Missouri returns plenty of experience, but that calls into question the age-old dilemma of whether experienced middle-of-the-road players are a good thing or not. This could be Gary Pinkel's last year in charge of the program, and he didn't help his long-term prospects much when he signed the most disappointing recruiting class in the SEC in February, at least relative to expectations.
For a period of time about 15 years ago or so, the SEC football world revolved around Florida and Tennessee. Phil Fulmer had built the Volunteers into a powerhouse, putting out NFL players left and right and – at least in years he could get by Steve Spurrier's Florida team – annually threatening the top of the AP and Coaches' polls. In addition, Tennessee enjoyed a cozy relationship with the SEC office, and there was little hiding the fact that Tennessee wanted to consign Alabama to the SEC's second tier, or worse. Funny what a difference a decade makes.