Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban

Saban responds to Spurrier’s spring jab


Way back in the spring, a feisty Steve Spurrier took a little jab — replete with a John Calipari dig — in the general direction of Nick Saban and how “easy” the head coach has it at Alabama.

“He’s got a nice little gig going, a little bit like Calipari,” the Ol’ Ball Coach told back in April. “He tells guys, ‘Hey, three years from now, you’re going to be a first-round pick and go.’ If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.”

Four months later, Saban has gotten around to responding in kind.

Speaking during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Saban tweaked his SEC rival a bit, pointing out the fact he has been elsewhere besides Alabama — and been successful as well.

“LSU wasn’t winning when I went there. Michigan State wasn’t winning when I went there. Toledo wasn’t winning when I went there. And Alabama really wasn’t winning when I came here. I guess I gotta go someplace else. I don’t know.

“I think it’s great, I love Steve. I’m always anxious to hear what he has to say – it’s always funny.”


Saban, though, actually has a point as well.  Here’s a look at how LSU, Michigan State and Toledo in the five years prior to Saban’s arrival and how they did during the three-time title-winning coach’s tenure at the school:

— From 1995-99, LSU went 33-24-1; under Saban from 2000-04, the Tigers went 48-16, including the 2003 BcS championship
— From 1990-94, Michigan State went 27-29-1; under Saban from 1995-99, the Spartans went 34-24-1.
— From 1985-89, Toledo went 26-28-1; in Saban’s lone season at the school in 1990, the Rockets finished 9-2 and claimed its first MAC title (co-champs alongside Central Michigan) since 1984.

So, yeah, I think Saban has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt he can coach regardless of the locale.  But, please, keep tweaking OBC; it’s good for the game.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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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.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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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