Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

Alabama Gov. on Saban’s late-game play calling: ‘I would… have run the ball’


Now that previously top-ranked Alabama has fallen to Texas A&M and out of the BCS championship picture — barring losses from two of the three undefeated teams ahead in the BCS standings, of course — there’s only one thing left to do: dissect every little thing that went wrong.

Nick Saban‘s play calling near the A&M goal line in the final minutes of the game has been getting the most criticism. Positioned at the 6-yard line, Alabama attempted three passes to one run, the final pass being intercepted and all but officially sealing the 29-24 loss. A touchdown would have given the Tide the lead with under two minutes to play.

Many Alabama fans “expressed” on the Paul Finebaum Show this week that Saban should have elected to run the ball more in that series of downs. When asked this week, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley agreed.

I would actually have run the ball for four straight times,” Bentley said.

The Tide had a decent ground game going against the Aggies, but Alabama was also playing from behind the entire time.

Not that Bentley probably cares too much about Saban’s play calling — he was asked a question and he answered it — but it’s worth noting that the Aggies were giving up nearly 250 passing yards a game and A.J. McCarron had already thrown for over 300 yards.

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.