The No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the only eligible unbeaten left standing, versus the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the one-loss defending champion, in a winner-takes-all matchup for this year’s BCS championship Jan. 7 in Miami.
Both programs will bring storied traditions into what will be one of the most anticipated title games in the BCS era, armed with a record eight Associated Press titles apiece. The Irish will be playing for its first national championship since 1988, the Tide gunning for its third BCS title in four years.
Notre Dame will be looking to become not only the first non-SEC team to win a BCS title since the 2005 season, they will be looking to become the first non-conference team to beat an SEC team in the title game — seven appearances, seven wins. Meanwhile, Alabama will be charged with extending its league’s unprecedented streak of BCS titles to seven in a row.
North vs. South. Catholics vs. Christians. Whatever trite tag gets slapped on it, this game is shaping up to be a true Game of The Century. Not because of the massive hype that will surely spiral out of control over the next five weeks, either; rather, it will pit a pair of evenly-matched teams whose strengths — and weaknesses — are eerily similar once you strip the invincible SEC veneer off the Tide and remove the Irish-colored glasses.
So, there you have it. Notre Dame vs. Alabama for all the crystal.
Now, who ya got? A back-to-[blank]-to-back-to-back extension of the SEC’s dominance over the college football world, or a program dripping with tradition returning to what they believe is their rightful place in the heirarchy of the sport?
Vote below and, God help us all, let your feelings be known in the comments section below that.
ECU won’t be hiring ex-Purdue interim HC charged with drunk driving
After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.
According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.
Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).
Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.
Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.
Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams pled no contest to charges from a DUI incident last August. On Wednesday, he received his sentence from a county judge and learned he would be sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.
According to The Lincoln Journal-Star, Williams was also fined $1,000 for his latest DUI charge. Williams has until March 3 to apply for house arrest, although prosecutors made a push for Williams to serve his time behind bars after not being locked up for two prior DUI charges.
Nebraska opens spring football practices on March 4. If he is ruled eligible for house arrest, that would allow Williams to continue coaching in the spring. Otherwise, he could have to miss at least some of Nebraska’s spring practices depending on when his jail sentence would begin.
Former Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa has landed in Ann arbor with a new job. Michigan announced Lempa has joined the staff as a senior defensive analyst under Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.
“Kevin is a great addition to our football program and defensive staff,” said Harbaugh in a released statement. “He adds a wealth of experience and knowledge on the defensive side of the ball, and Kevin’s working relationship with Coach (Don) Brown will be a big asset for our team.”
“I am very excited and honored to become part of Coach Harbaugh’s staff,” Lempa said in his released statement. “I am also fired up to be working with Coach Brown again.”
Lempa resigned from his position with the Hawaii program following the 2016 season. He previously served as a defensive backs coach at Boston College from 2013 through 2015, when Brown was the defensive coordinator of the Eagles.
As a defensive analyst, Lempa will not have any hands-on instruction with the Michigan roster but will assist in film breakdown and other orders of business in preparing Michigan’s game plan.