As I feverishly attempt to edit my prediction for the BCS championship game, Alabama is looking to put this game away for good before halftime.
The No. 2 Tide had about as dominating a first quarter as it’s had all season against No. 1 Notre Dame. To put it another way, about the only thing that went the Irish’s way was time running out as Alabama bulldozed its way to within a few feet of the goal line.
Eddie Lacy already has 72 yards and a touchdown. A.J. McCarron has another score — a short completion to Michael Williams. The Tide have been able to what it wants when it wants because of fantastic offensive line play combined with superb play-calling and execution. Everything is working for Alabama. Nothing is working for Notre Dame.
The Tide are even getting some calls to go their way too. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert had what looked like a sideline catch ruled incomplete and official review upheld the call. Eifert looked like he had the ball, but it wiggled just enough as he pulled it in out-of-bounds that the call wasn’t able to be overturned. On the next play, a Notre Dame punt, Christion Jones bobbled the ball and the Irish recovered. However, Notre Dame was hit with a kick catching interference call that was… interesting.
The good news for Notre Dame? At least it crossed midfield. It’s going to need a lot more than that to get back in this game, though. The Irish looked stunned.
Alabama leads 21-0 in the second.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury