I Came, I Saw, I Iron Bowled. Thoughts from The best game in History

Source: Auburntigers.com

What The Hell Did I Watch?

I thought that this game would be a classic, I thought that Alabama would win the game. That didn’t happen. This did instead:

To be able to watch that first hand, and seeing Chris Davis run toward yours truly to win the game. Epic. It’s not only the best iron Bowl in history, It’s the greatest ending in the history of college football. Incredible. Just incredible.

So without further ado,  my take on the game that I was honored to be at:

Auburn ran the football when they wanted to early and often.

296 yards on the ground. Tre Mason, 164 yards. Nick Marshall 99 yards. Many believed Alabama would stop what many said prior to the game that was a basic read option. Prior to the game, Auburn players said that they believed they would have success on The Tide front seven. Did they ever. The Tigers literally ran it when they wanted to, and dominated the lines of scrimmage.

Nick Saban believed his offense could get 1 yard on 4th and 1.

You have the right to believe that Alabama should have attempted a field goal up 7 on 4th and 1 late in fourth quarter. They didn’t. Why? because he felt that his team., his Alabama team, with his offensive line, his running backs could get one yard and ice the game. Auburn stuffed it. Could Alabama kicked the field goal and ultimately ended the game? Sure. But Nick Saban believed that his team could get one yard. Auburn had other plans.

Ellis Johnson should get a TON of credit.

Is The Tigers 4-2-5 scheme ready from a personnel standpoint for first year coordinator Ellis Johnson moving forward?. No. But he has 9-10 guys on the defensive line that are as good as anyone in the SEC. Give credit to the likes of Gabe Wright, Nosa Eugae, Dee Ford, Eljah Daniel, Carl Lawson, etc for not sacking AJ McCarron, but getting him off his “spot” making his night very uncomfortable. Alabama could go deep, (was looking more from the Tide going vertical) but for one reason or another that didn’t happen.

Alabama didn’t control the lines of scrimmage.

Many thought that the Tide offensive and defensive lines had improved over the course of the season. They have. They just played a better Offensive and Defensive line on Saturday. The Tide were good enough to win no question (T.J. Yeldon  141 yards, 1 TD), but for four quarters, Auburn controlled the lines of scrimmage.

Amari Cooper is unstoppable

When Healthy, I’m taking #9 over any wide out in the country. He’s a beast. Elite speed, and an elite route runner. He couldn’t be covered all night, that 99 yarder tells you everything. 6 rec, 178 yards, 1 TD. Pretty darn good.

I have even more respect for AJ McCarron

36-3 as a starter. 3 National Championships. 90 plus percent winning percentage. McCarron has been special at Alabama, and over the years he has continued to gain more respect from me. Well done #10 on a great career.

Missed opportunities for Alabama

If Cade Foster makes a field goal or two, the game is over. End of story. But give credit to Auburn, and the Jordan-Hare Stadium electric crowd as well. They influenced a kicker that has been spot on all season.

The Final Play

Adam Griffith kicked that 57 yarder as good as anyone could have kicked it. With wind behind him. It looked good. What did Auburn do? put Chris Davis who three weeks earlier returned a punt against Tennessee in the back of the end zone just in case. Not only did he get a running start when the kick was short, but he got GREAT blocking by his teammates initially on the return,  with Gus Malzahn and his staff understanding that  Alabama had there field goal blockers or as they say “big guys” on the field. They took advantage, and the rest is history.

Quick Hitters:

—If Florida State and Ohio State win their conference title games, They play for the BCS National Title. End of Story. Never in the history of the BCS has  two remaining teams in power conferences NOT played for the National Championship, with everyone else having one loss. Yes Auburn’s resume is better than Florida State and Ohio State, but they do have one loss. If both the Noles and Buckeyes win, the SEC streak of title appearances will be over.

—Who in the world will win the Heisman?

—A special job well done to former Alabama A&M Head Coach Anthony Jones. The University fired Jones Sunday after just his  third losing season in 12 years. Jones won at A&M with sub par resources and graduated his players. It’s safe to say he won’t be out of a head coaching job anytime soon, wouldn’t be surprised if he lands another coaching gig right in the SWAC if he wants it. A good man, that deserves to be recognized for what he did on “The Hill” considering some terrible circumstances during his tenure.

A conference championship preview later this week…

And I leave you with something pretty cool and fun on the Iron Bowl….

Have a great week everyone!

The Stars of Tommorrow, with a side of Cool Ranch Tacos, topped with Don Johnson

(Source:espn.com)

Signing Day 2013

The stars of tomorrow are signed, sealed and delivered to college football programs around the country. And guess who took home that big fella pictured above (Derrick Henry), and an abundance of other talent? ALABAMA. surprise, surprise. Look, They are the creme de la creme of the college game right now, and players have taken  notice. For those that think that prospects pick universities for universities are sadly mistaken. It’s who’s winning, and winning at a high level, and what coaching staff can get them to the next level the fastest. Check, Check, Check for Nick Saban and his staff. Here are my Top 5 recruiting classes in the SEC:

1. Alabama- Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Altee Tenpenny, Robert Foster, A’Shawn Robinson, the list goes on and on. Kudos to Saban’s coaching staff (Mike Groh, Lance Thompson, etc)  on landing some of these huge gets across the country. Every recruiting service out there has tabbed this class as numero uno.

2. Ole Miss– Had Alabama missed out on one or two players late on signing day, Ole Miss would have grabbed the top spot. What Hugh Freeze and his staff did is nothing short of unbelievable. Not only did they grab the nation’s number one player, DE Robert Nkemdiche, but then the nation’s top lineman in Laremy Tunsil, and then the possible next great SEC  WR in Laquon Treadwell, along with a slew of other instant talent, the Rebels could have laid a foundation to be special down the road.

3. Auburn- I’m putting the Tigers here because the way Gus Malzahn and his new staff hustles and close the deal on a number of talented prospects, that include DE Carl Lawson, and DT Montravious Adams. Getting Jonathan Ford to flip his commitment from Vanderbilt to Auburn was also huge, he could be a sleeper for the Tigers in the future. Overall from top to bottom a very solid class that fits the need of what Malzahn wants to do in his offense and what defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wants to establish in his 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

4. Florida- Will Muschamp established  a toughness and physical nature during his tenure in Gainesville. He has restocked his cupboard with some top end talent. Vernon Hargreaves II could be the next great DB, with Alex Anzalone becoming a versatile LB that can run sideline to sideline.

5. Texas A&M– Kevin Sumlin has recruited some new weapons for Johnny Football to throw to, and it starts with Sealy, TX native Ricky Seals-Jones. a huge target that can stretch the field, he along with teammate Jaquay Williams could be much-needed infusion of talent for the Aggies passing game. Sumlin and the Aggies are as hot as any program in the country.. and they have that QB for the next two seasons

(Source:nydailynews.com)

College Hoops quick hitters

–Hated to see Nerlens Noel go down with a apparent knee injury Tuesday night against Florida. It was revealed Wednesday that he has a torn ACL is out for the season. Even as Duke fan that was born and raised in the great state of Kentucky, It stunk seeing this guy get hurt. He works so hard and does so much for a team that is average at best. Here’s to a speedy recovery Nerlens, the NBA is waiting.

–there are about 10 teams I think that can win a National Title. yes we’ve had a ton of upsets during the regular season, and yes there are no all time great teams (i.e Kentucky 2012), but there are still a handful of teams that are very, very good. I’ll talk about those teams next week.

— Victor Oladipo is sick.

–The Louisville Cardinals will be fine.

–Even though Miami beat the brakes off Duke, I still need to see more. this is the same team that loss to Florida Gulf Coast this season. It’s one thing to be the hunter, but when you are the hunted, things change, they will find that out heading into March.

–Ben McElmore is sick.

–Speaking of Kansas and other teams that have had losing streaks of late, does anyone expect teams to just go undefeated? Teams will have lulls in seasons, not a huge deal in the grand schemes of things. Now if you start losing late heading into Conference Tourney play…

(Source: huffington post.com)

ITS ON THE WAY! YES!

I ate seven Los Doritos Tacos last week… in one sitting. On March 7th, my favorite flavored Doritos will now come to the Taco Bell. I will eat 10, and wont blink.  I am so excited to destroy as many of these as I can in about a 2 week period. Thank you Taco Bell for blessing us with this pure goodness.

FINALLY.. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

Here’s my Love day song to you by the greatest musician ever. Enjoy below.

That’s it! Enjoy the weekend!

SEC Title Time…And as the Coaches Turn…

(Source:13wmaz.com)

SEC Championship Game: (2) Alabama 11-1 Vs (3) Georgia 11-1

What’s at stake: It’s simple for both programs. Win Saturday night inside the Georgia Dome, and you head to the National Title game in Miami to face Notre Dame. The loser most likely playing on New Year’s Day in a bowl that will leave fans and players within the programs looking back at would could have been.

T Town Notes: What seemed like a forgone conclusion in September turned into no shot in October, to everything on  the line Saturday. Alabama fans and media types thought this team was unstoppable until their matchup with LSU in Baton Rouge. Tide fans remember how that turned out…

But then, that guy they call Johnny Football went nuts at Bryant-Denny Stadium…

and single handily beat the Tide, putting their hopes of a National Title berth in serious jeopardy. We all know the rest, Kansas St and Oregon fall, putting the Tide 60 minutes away from playing for another title.

Between The Hedges: They were favorite to win the SEC East preseason, and with an outside shot of winning a National title, but after a beat down against South Carolina, all seemed lost for Mark Richt and company. But Georgia kept chipping away and are now playing as good as anyone in the country. And now the program has a chance to do something they haven’t done since 1980. Reach a National Championship game. I wasn’t even born yet… but how classic is this?

What will happen Saturday:

The dome will be electric, both the Tide and Bulldogs will be amped from the start. I think this will be a really close game, both teams having their moments of making big plays. I will be honest. I picked Alabama to win this game, in a runaway, but the more I look at Georgia and the way they are playing on defense with Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Baccari Rambo, John Jenkins and company, I’m making a slight lean to the Dawgs. The key to the game is one player. Aaron Murray. He has not showed up in any big games this season, and in his career. He hasn’t talked to the media this week regarding the game, hoping to focus in more. The Tide defense could give him fits, but for Alabama, they have not generated any sort of pass rush at all this season on the defensive line. I think that Murray should have plenty of time to make plays, while the defense should give AJ McCarron trouble throughout.

If Alabama is dominating the line of scrimmage and running the football with ease, Georgia will get run out of the stadium, period. And if wideouts not named Amari Cooper can step up and make plays (Chris Black, Marvin Shinn, DeAndrew White, tight end Michael Williams), it could really be a problem for the Dawgs.

In the end I want to pick Alabama, just because I have to see Georgia win a big game other than Florida this year. BUT, my gut is telling me the Bulldogs are due, and may play their finest game in the biggest game in 30 plus years for the program.

Alabama 21  Georgia 24.

(Source:bleacherreport.com)

Another Episode of AS The Coaches Turn:

I thought that if Gene Chizik would have a decent showing in the Iron Bowl there was hope that he could save his job. A 49-0 beatdown later, he’s out the door. Was it the right decision? Yes. Could he have maybe stayed another season? in my opinion I would warrant that. But in the end, the losing, and the losing in a big way to quality opponents, coupled with the off the field troubles, just proved to be too much.

I voiced my displeasure when they hired Gene after a 5-19 record at Iowa State. He then went on to go 8-5 in year one, with a Outback Bowl win, that magical 14-0 season with Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and company to win Auburn’s first National Title in 50 years.  He came back and went 8-5 a season later, before the wheels came off on a 3-9 season, 0-8 in the SEC.

Inside those numbers, Chizik never had a winning record in the SEC outside the National Championship season. Inside the program, people with knowledge of the program saying that he became too lenient, allowing players to have more control than what was needed. The Birmingham News Kevin Scarbinsky later made me more of a believer.

http://www.al.com/auburnfootball/index.ssf/2012/11/scarbinsky_gene_chizik_set_the.html

Add those up plus the lack of  developing talent after a three seasons  of top 5-10 recruiting classes, and you have a recipe for what transpired this season.  And as Bill Parcels says, “You are what your record says you are.” And 5-19 prior to Auburn tells the story.

My Two Cents on the new coach at Auburn:

Either Bobby Petrino, Gary Patterson, or Gus Malzhan, in that order. we shall see in the coming days if that is indeed the case.

That is all for this Friday, enjoy the weekend and the game. Next week I’ll talk about the new head man at Auburn, plus the rest of the coaching carousel across the country. BUT  in lieu of Les Miles staying with LSU (and getting a raise I might add)  I will leave you with Les Miles and Les being, well Les, and the rant of the year.. SO far.

ENJOY THE GAMES!!!!!!