This season, Alabama will face six schools who will be coming off their bye weeks, a total that is far and away tops in the SEC.
The school’s been traveling down various avenues in an attempt to somewhat alleviate what is an inequitable scheduling situation, whether it be through the SEC itself or working with their opponents. Thus far, they have swung and missed at every attempt, leaving head coach Nick Saban resigned to the fact that half the schools on deck for the season will seemingly have the advantage of two weeks to prepare for the defending national champs.
“I don’t see any changes right now that are going to affect it in any way,” Saban told the Mobile Press-Register during a stop on the Crimson Caravan Tuesday. “It is what it is.”
While Saban was not ready to admit five of the schools would have an advantage — “nobody knows for sure if a bye week helps your team or not.” — he once again reiterated his desire to rectify the situation leading up to this year’s Iron Bowl.
The Tide will face Georgia State on a Saturday, then turn around and face the Tigers the following Thursday. Meanwhile, Auburn will have an open date the weekend before the bitter in-state tussle.
Some have viewed the Tide’s game with Georgia State — a Div. 1-AA program in their first year of existence — as nothing more than a glorified scrimmage. That may be the case to those on the outside, but Saban’s not looking at it through the same pair of glasses.
“We would definitely like to have a full week to prepare against every team that we play. Right now we have one team that we play on a short week (Auburn), and we’d like to get our schedule fixed around so that’s not an issue for us,” Saban said.
‘Bama officials have reportedly undertaken internal discussions in regard to moving their game with GSU but, as of a couple weeks ago, had not spoken to officials at the school about such a move.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah