SEC’s title streak falls along with the Tide?

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This is by no means meant to belittle or downplay what Texas A&M did in impressive fashion in Tuscaloosa, beating the No. 1 team in the country 29-24, but there are much bigger issues in play here than the No. 15 Aggies securing their biggest victory during their short time in the SEC.

Mainly, did the new kids on the block succeed in doing what no other team in the country from any other conference has been able to do the past six seasons: knock the SEC off its BcS title perch?

At first blush, it very much appears to be that way. With the loss, Alabama falls — or will fall in the latter case — from both the ranks of the unbeaten and their season-long spot atop the polls. It also leaves the SEC without an unbeaten team this late in the season for the first time since 2007.

The loss also means that the SEC as a whole will find itself in a position Sunday night that it hasn’t been in but a couple of times during their six-year crystal run: needing help from the outside to push them into a seventh consecutive BcS title game. Based on the two individuals who I’ve spoken to who know the BcS formula as well as anyone in the country, it would be virtually impossible for Alabama — or one-loss Georgia for that matter if it were to run the table — to leapfrog Oregon, Kansas State and/or Notre Dame if all three remain undefeated.

“After A&M jumped out [to a 20-0 first-quarter lead], I started running scenarios where a one-loss Alabama could make the title game [if the other three remain unbeaten],” the BcS guru, who asked not to be named, told CFT. “I simply couldn’t find one.

“That doesn’t mean there’s not one, but it does mean it would take something unprecedented.”

In not so many words, that “something unprecedented” would be for the voters to place a one-loss SEC — whether that’s Alabama or Georgia — above Oregon, Kansas State or Notre Dame should that trio navigate the remainder of the season unscathed.  Simply put, the Tide or Bulldogs will need at least two of the three unbeatens to lose in order to keep the SEC’s streak alive.

And, in a fit of irony that won’t be lost on many an individual, Texas A&M, added in large part to help the SEC’s financial bottom line, likely cost the conference something that matters more than dollars to the football-mad league: its streak of BcS titles.

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts uses photo of Clemson celebrating title win as motivational phone background

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Nick Saban said last week that the loss to Clemson in the the national championship game earlier this year is one that he’ll never get over, although he didn’t go so far as to compare it to a death in the family. One playing member of Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide team is taking to steps to ensure that he never forgets, either.

Jalen Hurts was the Tide’s talented true freshman starting quarterback who helped lead ‘Bama into the title game and, with a 30-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left, gave his team a 31-28 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as Deshaun Watson led his Tigers on an epic 88-yard drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown pass with just one tick left on the clock for the 35-31 win.

The stunning last-second loss is something that Hurts makes a conscious effort to remind himself of daily as the rising sophomore, as the background on his smartphone, has a picture of Clemson players celebrating their win.

“We’re obviously all on our phones all the time,” Hurts said according to al.com after this past weekend’s spring game. “Every time I unlock it, it’s kind of a reminder. It kind of humbles me and keeps me motivated. …

“It’s not a grudge at all. It’s just something that keeps it on the back of your shoulder like, yeah, it’s still there. Remember why you’re doing it because at the end of the day, the goal for this team is to win the national championship.

Father of former Florida State WR Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

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The father of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph was killed Friday in an accidental shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Darryl Rudolph was working on repairs inside a West Palm Beach, Fla., when a gun accidentally fired in an adjacent room, hitting him in the back/neck area. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 55 years old.

The younger Rudolph was Florida State’s leading receiver over the past two seasons before becoming an early-entrant into this week’s NFL Draft. He gained viral notoriety after a photo snapped of him sitting at lunch with an autistic elementary school student hit Facebook.

“When I used to coach and help other kids with football, basketball and sports, Travis was small but he used to pay attention to what I was doing,” the elder Rudolph said in an interview with ESPN last year. “I told them get your education. You can be the best athlete in the world, but without an education, you’re not going very far. That’s what Travis followed through on.”

LSU QB Danny Etling undergoes back surgery

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LSU quarterback Danny Etling has undergone surgery to relieve back pain, the program announced Monday.

“Danny had a minor back procedure this morning and everything went alright,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement (and not in an Arrested Development way).

Etling has played through back pain for months, according to Ross Dellenger from The Advocate, and this procedure should remove that pain.

In a possibly related story, Etling went 4-of-11 for 53 yards in LSU’s spring game.

A transfer from Purdue, Etling appeared in 11 games for the Tigers last season, completing 160-of-269 passes (59.5 percent) for 2,123 yards (7.9 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Etling’s recovery from Monday’s procedure is expected to be a short one.

Willie Taggart defends Oregon’s offseason workouts in interview

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Things got off to a rocky start for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart. Among the issues Taggart was forced to deal with soon after accepting the job of head coach at Oregon was players falling ill during and after offseason workouts.

Three Ducks were hospitalized in January to treat symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, a product of overworking leading to soft tissue and possible kidney damage. Oregon suspended strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde following the hospital treatments to players, and questions about his certification were thrust under a microscope. Despite the unfortunate situation in Eugene, Taggart has defended his program’s workout routine in an interview with Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com.

“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart explained in the interview. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”

It seems Taggart has been trying to raise the bar at Oregon and find a way to make his new players tougher overall. That is a common strategy for a new coach in a new program, so Taggart’s mission is not unique in that sense.

Maybe it was just a tough physical transition in the approach to workouts after years of Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich running the show. Will this all pay off in the end? Taggart sure hopes so.