Nick Saban, Derek Dooley

Saban says Dooley doing a ‘fantastic job’ at Tennessee


Yeah, it’s coachspeak, but it’s Nick Saban coachspeak. About Derek Dooley. Who may not have a job at the end of this season.

Tennessee has done squat on the field since Dooley arrived in Knoxville in 2010. The Vols haven’t defeated Alabama, Florida, Georgia or South Carolina and have zero wins against ranked teams. Still, Saban said after last night’s 44-13 beating of the Vols that Dooley was doing a “fantastic job” at Tennessee.

“I think Tennessee’s team really played hard,” Saban said in his opening remarks. “I think that Derek is doing a fantastic job. They have been better and better every year that we’ve played them. We were fortunate today that our defense played well enough to keep their high-powered offense to just 13 points.”

Saban’s comments can’t come as too much of a surprise even though frustration is mounting in Knoxville. Dooley was an assistant under Saban at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, so there’s some history between the two — that, and coaching fraternity tends to stick together — -but it’s tough to say Dooley’s done a fantastic job when the on-the-field results are what they are. Now, I would say Dooley was handed a challenging job and that coaches usually deserve the five-year treatment, but that’s not a luxury when you combine the amount of money  that goes into supporting the Tennessee program and the high expectations that go along with it.

(Hat tip: 

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.