While not flagged for the high cheap-shot on Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the SEC championship game, many thought — even assumed — that Alabama’s Quinton Dial would be suspended for the BCS title game against Notre Dame after the hit was reviewed by the league office.
Upon further review? “Move on. Nothing to see here. Please, disperse.”
In a statement released Friday morning that did not specifically address the defensive end’s hit, the SEC announced that there would be no suspensions arising from several title-game plays that were reviewed by conference officials.
“The Southeastern Conference has completed its review of video from the 2012 SEC Football Championship Game. Several plays involving both teams were reviewed. After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two institutions and the conference office is satisfied with their actions.”
View the video and judge for yourself:
Appearing on the Smashmouth Radio Network shortly after the announcement, the SEC’s supervisor of football officials, Steve Shaw, acknowledged that the Dial’s hit should’ve been flagged — “We missed the call” — but it was “different from hits that resulted in suspension.” In back-to-back weeks earlier this year, the SEC suspended players from Ole Miss and South Carolina for “a flagrant and dangerous act… to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet.“
How Dial’s hit on Murray was different from the other two is head-scratching to say the least. Arguably the biggest difference? The Tide will play the Irish in the BCS championship game looking to extend the SEC’s streak of titles to seven and Dial has played in all 13 games as part of the defensive line rotation.
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.
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