Saban best ever… with another coaching great

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We are all prisoners of the moment. Knee jerk reactions aren’t silly, It’s just human nature. A player, or team has an accomplishment, it’s easy to throw out the best ever comparisons.

Monday night after Alabama’s 45-40 win over Clemson, I walked out to the field inside University of Phoenix Stadium (partly to stay awake) to think if Nick Saban is the greatest coach in College Football history. I think he’s the best coach in the college game right now (Urban Meyer, David Shaw the other two) and I think it goes without saying that Alabama is the best program in the game (Ohio St is number two).

But, is Nick Saban, THE greatest coach in the college game. He joins one coach atop the mountain (more on the other coach later). Here’s what’s made Saban’s accomplishments at Alabama all-time impressive:

 

1.Being able to adapt his game plan, and program

Alabama isn’t anywhere near the program they were when Saban came to Tuscaloosa. The game plan was even more of a run heavy, conservative, sound defense that wouldn’t make many mistakes. It worked the first few years in a big way (2009 National Title).

What’s made Saban great is being able to meticulously find every little detail before kickoff, and allowing his assistants to do the same. Case in point, the game changing onside kick Monday night.

You can go all the way back to Saban’s first National Title run  in 2009 and their win over Florida in the SEC Championship.

He can make adjustments, but he can also change as the college game changes. Would Saban have the success that he’s enjoying if he were staying true to his philosophy in 2008-09? Doubt it. He won games the last two season’s with Blake Sims and Jacob Coker, running a more up tempo attack.

 

2. Recruiting philosophy has changed

It’s one thing to stock pile elite recruiting  classes year after year in College Football. That means nothing if a coaching staff:

A) Can’t evaluate elite talent at the prep level that fit your needs schematically on offense or defense.

B) Can’t develop the talent you have once it arrives on campus.

How many programs have had top 10 classes, and can’t get 7 wins, much less a chance to win a conference or National title?

Now granted, EVERY college program will “miss” on talent over the years once on campus. That’s just the reality of  the game. Guys don’t pan out for one reason or another.

The biggest accomplishment for Saban is what he’s done to revamp his roster all while dealing with the “spread” or wide open scheme across the country and within the SEC. After the slow progression of a spread type scheme with Tim Tebow and Cam Newton at Florida and Auburn respectively to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, Nick Saban understood that he needed players on defense that were good enough to hold up in the trenches and in run support, all while being able to play in space.

The Dont’a Hightower’s, Rolando McClain’s, Trey Depriest’s of the world are a thing of the past. What Tide fans will see more of are body types like Rashaan Evans, Tim Williams, Reuben Foster, Shon-Dion Hamilton, Da’Shawn Hand, Mekhi Brown, or Adonis Thomas. Guys that can flat out run downhill, and able to make plays in open areas of the field when playing against spread attacks. Big fellas will always be needed (when dealing with more run heavy schemes),  along with rangy Safety’s in the secondary (one of, if not the most most important position on defense), it’s just that Saban understands he needs players for EVERY scheme he can or will face.

Like the other dual threat quarterbacks that Alabama has faced,  Deshaun Watson was magnificent Monday (478 yds, 4 passing TD’s). But even in the shootout, Some of those young Alabama defenders (Evans, Hand, Hamilton, Williams, Fitzpatrick) were called upon to help the veteran guys that needed a break going against such a tempo heavy scheme.

 

3. Being in the hunt every season an accomplishment in itself

Outside of Saban’s first season at Alabama (2007, a 6-6 record) he’s had the following records:

2008- 12-2

2009- 14-0*

2010- 10-3

2011-  12-1*

2012- 13-1*

2013- 11-2

2014- 12-2

2015- 14-1*

* National Championship season

 

Nick Saban has been in Tuscaloosa for nine seasons. Eight of those, Alabama has been in the hunt for a National Title, all while playing in the best conference in College Football. And if we all want to play the “if” game, “if” a handful of plays went Alabama’s way during these eight seasons, Saban  could have 5-7 National Titles total in nine seasons.

To be able to adapt his coaching philosophy, adjust his personnel, and have personnel on the field  to execute his coaching philosophy over the years, is what makes this run for Saban all time great.

Coaching record at Alabama:

100-18 overall

50-12 in SEC Play

4 National Championships

 

It makes him at this moment ONE of the two greatest coaches in College Football history. The other:

 

 

(Source: cnn.com, Getty images)

Florida State had zero. ZERO history. In comes Bobby Bowden in 1976. He had a losing season in his first season. He never had another in 34 years in Tallahassee.

From 1987 to 2000, Florida State won at least 10 games, and loss a combined 19  (along with one tie).

FSU finished in the top 5 from 1992-2000 (14 straight seasons).

Bowden “only” has two National Titles, but the reason I put him alongside Saban, is because he created a program that had no history, into one of the best programs in America, and a brand in College Football. Saban. Bowden. The very best in my opinion. There’s a coach in Columbus, Ohio that could make me revisit this a few years from now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And It’s Back!! College Football Talk and other quick Hitters

(Source:nydailynews.com)

Yep, We’ve waited and waited, and now It’s here… I feel like I should play this song before each season..

So now it’s on to tonight the start of the college football season, some great games to get us started before the full slate begins on Saturday… Here’s what we saw a ton of during the off season….

That video above never, NEVER gets old… What about this guy? He came out of nowhere, right?

And then it was Manziel mania…. Oh yeah, I forgot, Bama wins AGAIN.

So enough about last year.. time to talk this year and time to talk big games starting on Thursday night:

North Carolina Vs (6) South Carolina

The skinny:  The college football world has talked Jadaveon Clowney and that hit (and rightfully so) a ton, now the Gamecocks and Steve Spurrier have one of the most talented rosters in history, and hope to make a run to a BCS game or possibly more, North Carolina on the other hand wants to shock the football world early with a win tonight on the road.

What will happen: This game could go either way. Lost in all the Clowney talk, is that the Gamecocks lost some experienced play makers on defense, and will be breaking in some new linebackers tonight.. not a good recipe for the Tar Heels potent offense led by senior Brynn Renner. I think the Tar Heels will scare the Gamecocks throughout, and could play well late into this game, before the Gamecocks makes a play of two, on Defense to get the win at home.

North Carolina 17  South Carolina 28

Ole Miss Vs Vanderbilt

The Skinny: This game is HUGE for both teams moving forward. After tonight’s game, Ole Miss has a layup against South East Missouri and then  will play at Texas, Alabama, Auburn, and then at home against Texas A&M. Vandy on the other hand will have a layup against Austin Peay, but then a big one with South Carolina after that… meaning that either team could gain some serious momentum with a win tonight.

What will happen: Vanderbilt will have a new QB at the helm in Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels.  A Source that watched a ton of Fall Camp at Vandy  told me that he’s struggled and been inconsistent throughout fall camp, which could mean trouble for wideout Jordan Matthews tonight early on. I think Samuels has talent, but this is not the type of game you want to get your feet wet in. Hugh Freeze and the Rebels will score, in bunches and two step out of Nashville with a win.

OIe Miss 35   Vanderbilt 17

Saturday Games

1 Alabama Vs Virginia Tech

The Skinny: Alabama is number one, what else is new? The Tide come into their game in Atlanta a heavy favorite to blow out the Hokies. Heck, even longtime Hokies coach Frank Beamer has said this is the best Alabama team he has ever faced (cue the no one believes we can win inside the Tech locker room prior to the game talk). The Tide have to replace three parts to an all time great offensive line, but returns the best skill position talent in the history of the program.

What will happen: Three months ago, I would have said that this game would be close, and that Alabama would win a close one. But Tech has lost some key parts on defense including top corner back Antone Exumm, and a few other players on what would have been a salty and stingy D. So now that  means the Tide don’t win close, but big, as September 14th becomes more of a a reality.

Alabama 49  Virgina Tech 13

Washington State VS Auburn

The Skinny: It’s the Gus Malzahn era at Auburn, he brings his offense back to the Plains that was responsible for that 2010 BCS National Title.  Like Auburn, Washington State was terrible a year ago in Mike Leach’s first year. Two offenses that like to go fast, what defense will get the job done is the key.

What will happen: Mike Leach’s group will get hit early by Tigers newcomer Nick Marshall at QB who’s as athletic as they come under center (Marshall a former DB at Georgia… Bulldogs starter Aaron Murray said he’s the best athlete he’s ever seen), will make some highlight plays early on to excite the night crowd at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Cougars will show signs of improvement from a year ago, but the 4-2-5 of Ellis Johnson will get some pressure on the Cougars to force some turnovers.

Washington State 13  Auburn 31

5 Georgia Vs 8 Clemson

The Skinny: The game of the weekend. the Bulldogs head to Death Valley to face a Clemson team that’s thinking National Title.  Clemson is everyone’s “hot” team heading into the season, while Mark Richt’s group has questions on Defense, but his best offense ever in Athens.

What will happen: I’ve went back and forth.. and back again on this game. In the end, I have to stick to my first thoughts. Aaron Murray will shine on Saturday night with a really, really good offense, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will have success running the football. The problem is that it’s hard for me to think that a young and very talented Bulldogs D can withstand blow after blow by Clemson and their offense. Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and that hurry up implemented by offensive Coordinator Chad Morris is a lot to handle already. Add in National TV, at night, at Death Valley, and it becomes that much tougher. One things for certain. Clemson needs this game more than Georgia does. Clemson loses this game, It could spell disaster for the rest of the season. Georgia wins this game, they’re playing with house money with South Carolina coming between the hedges next week.

Georgia 17 Clemson 24

Quick Picks for Week 1:

USC over Hawaii

LSU over TCU

Utah St over Utah

Fresno St over Rutgers

Western KY over Kentucky

Oklahoma St over Mississippi St

Washington over Boise St

The other two Louisiana schools

Would it be a shock if three Louisiana programs go 3-0 after week 1? I picked LSU to beat TCU… But what about UL- Monroe over Oklahoma, and UL-Lafayette over Arkansas? I’m not sayin, but just sayin…. keep an eye out for those two games.

Quick Hitters:

–Did anyone really think Johnny Manziel would get “hammered” by the NCAA? I was shocked he got even a half game suspension.

–You want to see a really good QB and RB? tune in to Utah State against Utah and check out Chuckie Keeton and Joe Hill. the Aggies have a ton of starters returning from an 11-2 team a year ago. Auburn fans remember Keeton and Hill who almost pulled off the upset in 2011.

–Another QB you haven’t heard of? Fresno State’s Derrick Carr. He threw 37 TD passes a year ago, and is poised for an even bigger year through the air (4,104 yards in ’12) this season. Fresno State could be this year’s “BCS buster”.

–Im ready to see this guy. I miss you, good sir.

HAPPY COLLEGE FOOTBALL EVERYONE!!! ENJOY WEEK ONE!!!!!!

Football Friday Thoughts…

(Source:fsunews.com)

THOUGHTS FROM LAST WEEK, AND UPCOMING GAMES THIS WEEK:

–So, the game of the weekend will belong to Florida St. and Clemson. The winner with an  inside track toward an ACC Championship game berth and possibly much more. As explosive as Clemson is on offense, The Noles D will come to play. I think FSU’s D has the chance to be as good as Alabama and LSU’s.

–Speaking of LSU, they travel to Auburn for a night game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Bayou Bengals will win, but I’m VERY interested in seeing QB Zach Mettenberger play his first road League game as a starter. Idaho, Washington, etc are great to throw against at Tiger Stadium, It’s also another in your first hostile environment.

–With all that said, RB Kenny Hillard is a MAN. He was the back I liked the most last season and this year he has established himself as the guy or someone that will get a ton of minutes. And don’t forget about Spencer Ware,  and freshman Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue, the list goes on and on.

–What happens in Fayetteville if the Arkansas loses Saturday to 3-0 Rutgers? If it isn’t already a mess, the ol’ head coach of the Hogs had the college football world buzzing for…all the wrong reasons.. Still some funny stuff… Remember.. SMILE!!!!

–I know that Arizona and Rich Rodriguez have had some early season success (wins over Okla state included), but things change this week. Oregon is for real folks. Two words: WARP SPEED. They may score 65. And I’m not joking.

(Source:timwebbphotography.com)

–Yes, I have to show some love for my Alma Mater. Western Kentucky University got a nice win over Kentucky on the road in Overtime. Kinda surreal, with running back Antonio Andrews throwing the throw back pass to QB Kewaun Jakes for the go ahead two point conversion… I actually covered Antonio Andrews in High school during my first job out of college. He was named Mr Football in the state, and was electric. But because of his size, many larger schools were turned off… the rest is history, he will be a great player at WKU.

–Now. To UK. Wow. Joker Philips could be gone by the end of October. If I’m AD Mitch Barnhardt, I’m making calls to a few coaches that A) know the SEC, B) Have experience and knows what it takes to win in this league, and C) can bring credibility to the program….

— That short list for me would consist of Bobby Petrino, Bobby Petrino, Bobby Petrino. Yes he has had A HUGE scandal a year ago, but why wouldn’t you take a feeler for him? He’s coached in the state (Louisville) and could bring instant credibility to a program that has everything to win.

–If Notre Dame wins Saturday night against Michigan, the AP poll will put them in the top 7 in the country, especially if they look impressive doing so.

–But to me, Michigan’s is WAY overrated, and a year or two away from being a player nationally, Still Brady Hoke is a heck of a coach by the way.

—Dear Cory Henry,

Please be Careful what you wish for Saturday.. safe travels dude.

Signed,

A Concerned Sportscaster that is afraid of your team losing by 1,000,000,000 points.

Read below:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8403803/florida-atlantic-owls-cory-henry-tells-newspaper-alabama-crimson-tide-beat

–If you haven’t heard of Teddy Bridgewater, look him up. He’s a Star in the making.

— I love Colin Klein,Bill Synder, and Kansas State. That’s why I think the road trip to Norman to face Oklahoma will be a close one. If Oklahoma is a top 5-10 team and a legit BCS Title contender, you MUST win this game… if not.. We now understand the UTEP game to start the season. Oh, and the MASK is back, enjoy Below:

RANDOM COMMERCIAL THAT CRACKS ME UP:

So it’s Little Ceasers. And this guy is hilarious. I laughed aloud when I first saw it, and laugh every time I see it.

REALITY TV TIME!

A HUGE Shout out to Whitney M! My friend will join Andy Cohen in the WWHL Lounge:

Congrats to her! I just want a shout out on the show. Don’t judge.

That’s it for this Friday, enjoy the games and I’ll be back next week…

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK!

@CarlPratherWAFF

Facebook Fan Page:Carl Prather WAFF

KICKOFF 2012!!!

Source: walloffamesports.com

Happy college football kickoff!!! Yes, It’s been awhile since I have posted a new blog post, but after the Summer Olympics, I had to wait until we got to this week, because quite frankly I wanted to talk football and not the high beam or floor exercise (no offense USA gymnast).

So… without further ado….

Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy runs 33 yards for a touchdown against Northwestern during the fourth quarter in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010. Vanderbilt lost 21-23.

Source:tenessean.com

TONIGHT  6 PM CT

#9 South Carolina Vs Vanderbilt

The 411: It’s the first college football game of the season, on primetime for all the world to see.. James Franklin and the Commodores are in the  Music City where it will be standing room only for the Ol’ ball coach and the Gamecocks. The Dores have upgraded facilities, change uniforms, and hope that a mix of youth and experience can pull off the biggest upset arguably in Vandy history.

What to look for: It will be great to see running back Marcus Lattimore back on the football field after suffering that knee injury last season. He says he’s 100 percent… if that’s the case, LOOK OUT. The Gamecocks also have a pair of book ends on the defensive line that are nothing to play with in sophomore Jadaveon Clowney and senior Devin Taylor. Conner Shaw takes over full time at QB for South Carolina.

As for the Dores, Jordan Rodgers (little bro of that guy that plays QB in Green Bay) has a pair of book ends at Wide Receivers in Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews that can stretch the field. Look for the Dores to try a few deep throws early to try and get on the scoreboard. Running back Zac Stacy returns in the backfield to help the Dores, and longtime Defensive Tackle Rob Lohr will try to create some surge in the trenches.

What will happen: A TON of emotion for the Dores at home, South Carolina must take care of the football, and ride the early wave of emotion from the Vandy crowd. A close game, and… why not… Vandy with the upset.. 28- 25.

Source: saturdaydownsouth.com

FRIDAY 6:30

Tennessee Vs NC State (Georgia Dome)

The 411: Who needs this game more? The Vols and Head Coach Derek Dooley, or the Wolfpack coming off a ton of momentum from their bowl win in 2011? I’m going with Dooley, Rocky Top needs this one in a big way for their confidence heading to week two.

What to look for: Tyler Bray is back healthy for the Vols. Bray who may be the best QB in the SEC will face a stingy NC State D led by cornerback (and Future NFL first rounder) David Amerson. UT will have to play without Da’rick Rogers, who was dismissed from the program last week. the Vols are high on JUCO transfer Cordarrelle Patterson, and of course the man child Justin Hunter will also help at wide out.

What will happen: I like Tennessee. I really do. I think they play with an attitude, and those young freshman and sophomores from a year ago are more mature and will play well in the Georgia Dome.. Rocky Top will be happy Friday night… 24-10 Vols… If they don’t win… paging, Derek Dooley….

Source: usatoday.com

SATURDAY 6PM CT

#14 Clemson Vs Auburn (Georgia Dome)

The 411: Anyone that watched the Clemson defense in that Orange Bowl to end the 2011 season… well West Virgina may have just scored again… 70 points can’t cut it. In comes Brent Venebales from Oklahoma to add some teeth to the Tigers D. As for those Auburn Tigers, a new Offensive Coordinator (Scot Loeffler) and D-Coordinator (Brian Van Gorder). and a new QB in Sophmore Kiehl Frazier, question marks all the way around. The Good news for Clemson, the offense is back led by Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins, and Coordinator Chad Morris… There’s one guy they will miss just a little bit… you may have heard of him.. he’s out the first two games of the season…. enjoy below:

http://youtu.be/_Axf3iuYUnc?t=1s

What will Happen: Clemson will be pleasantly surprised, as will Auburn fans at how well Brian Van Gorder’s D will play. Expect some heavy pressure early on from Auburn, with a commitment to running the football… wouldn’t be surprised if fullback Jay Prosch makes a hole for Onterrio McCalebb or Mike Blakely and they scoot for a long TD..OR two. Clemson will rally late and have a chance to win the contest, but Auburn’s D will make a play late to hold on… Auburn wins…20-14.

Source: crimsonandcreammachine.com

SATURDAY 7 PM CT

#8 Michigan Vs #2 Alabama (Cowboys Classic)

The 411: The Marquee matchup of the first week of the season. The Wolverines led by “Shoelace” Denard Robinson against the reigning and defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.

What will Happen: You know how you try to find a way for a team to have a chance to win a ballgame? You do everything to try and say, well if Denard Robinson gets loose early, the Tide could have problems, or if they can create some turnovers, this could happen. Sorry. Can’t see it. Nope. Alabama could just run the football, run some more, and dare I say run some more. The battle will be won in the trenches. Alabama has one of the programs best offensive lines in history, led by Outland Trophy winner Barret Jones (who by the way may be the least talented on the line)… sprinkle in Eddie Lacy at running back, with true freshman TJ Yeldon making a splash (Dee Hart will make an appearance as well)… AJ McCarron will make throws, the wideouts will make plays (Amari Cooper, Christian Jones, etc), just can’t see the Tide losing in week one… the score will make it closer than what it was… Tide roll 28-14.

ACT OF RANDOMNESS:

SO… the good folks over at Bleacher Report caught some mascots cutting a RUG!

http://youtu.be/St0AR1xl9Fs?t=54s

Enjoy the games and I’ll be back on Tuesday to recap the week that was and a little more pop culture action (I.E. Real Housewives of New Jersey… Team Teresa!!! and New York.. When St Barts goes all the way wrong!!)

Happy football!!!!