Bowden on Saban, Bama: ‘I don’t know if I see an end to it’

26 Comments

As we noted in the one-liners last night, Nick Saban received his third Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year award Sunday for the third time in four years. Not coincidentally, Saban has led Alabama to three BCS championships in four years.

“I’m mighty proud that Nick Saban has won this award again, and so deservedly,” Bowden said at the banquet’s press conference. “I don’t know if I see an end to it.”

It’s an interesting comment from a coach that knows greatness.

“I think it’s amazing what’s happened three of the last four years, but I tell you something, it’s easier to get to the top (than) stay there,” Bowden explained. “The amazing thing is so far — and I say so far because I know it and he knows it — it can end any minute.”

When Saban and the Tide knocked off Notre Dame earlier this year 42-14 to win back-to-back BCS championships, the word dynasty immediately came to mind. Probably because it was already planted there; media and fans alike were beginning to speculate before the game  what another championship would mean to Saban and his team in the discussion of greatest championship runs of all time.

One thing I always try to point out is how difficult it is to win one championship. So much has to go correctly: talent, chemistry — both players and coaching — schedule, and even a little bit of luck. Even “the process” can only go so far.

To win two titles in a coaching tenure is amazing. To win three in four years in this era of the 85-scholarship cap when talent is so dispersed is almost unheard of. Where does Saban rank among the greatest college football coaches of all time? Where does this Alabama program rank as the greatest of all time? It’s tough to place it without the help of time, but the fact that the two are already in the discussion should say something.

So when does it end for Alabama? Barring a major outside influence, such as Saban leaving the program or a major NCAA punishment, it doesn’t look like the train is slowing down, especially with the Tide hauling in a top-rated recruiting class this year.

Oh, sure, it’ll end eventually. All great runs and dynasties do. And Alabama won’t win a national championship every year, either. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. But it’ll be well-equipped to compete as long as Saban is coaching.

“He’ll have his hands full next year, people don’t understand that. When he loses a lot of people, and the chemistry and everything is so important, you know? Can he get the chemistry again of ‘let’s go after the boys?” Bowden said. “It’s a task, and I’m being honest with you, if I was an Alabama man I’d rather have it in his hands than anybody else I can think of.”

Starting USC DT Josh Fatu in concussion protocol after car wreck

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is one you don’t see very often.

USC’s Josh Fatu was involved in a multi-car accident and is currently in concussion protocol because of a head injury he received in the incident, head coach Clay Helton confirmed Tuesday.  The coach added that the accident in which Fatu sustained the injury was not the defensive tackle’s fault.

Fatu has not been ruled out for Saturday’s game against USC, and is officially listed as day-to-day for the annual rivalry clash.

Heading into Week 8, Fatu had started every game along the defensive line this season for the Trojans.  His seven tackles for loss are currently second on the Trojans behind Christian Rector‘s eight, while his five sacks are behind just Rector’s 6.5.

If Fatu is unable to go against the Irish, Brandon Pili will likely take over as the starter.

Given Scott-Frost-Nebraska chatter, UCF announces funding initiative

Associated Press
2 Comments

If a Power Five program truly wants a Group of Five head coach, there’s little the latter can do.  That, though, isn’t stopping UCF from at least trying to stave off the inevitable.

Mike Riley could very well be on the hot seat at Nebraska, leading to speculation, especially with a new athletic director, that he could be three-and-done in Lincoln.  While some chatter on any potential replacement has involved a pirate, a favorite son has significant support amongst the fan base if a change is made.

Not only is Scott Frost a former Nebraska quarterback, but, as the head coach at UCF, he has the Knights ranked 20th nationally with a 5-0 start.  And that’s coming off a six-win first season for Frost with a program that was winless the year before he arrived.

The pedigree as both a player and young head coach would make him a natural fit at a place like Nebraska, which explains why Frost’s current employer announced Tuesday an initiative to “secure commitments of over $1.5 million annually for the next five years” for the football program.  Specifically, any money raised would largely be used to enhance coaching salaries, both for the head coach and his assistants.

Called the UCF Football Excellence Fund, the program is “pursuing gift commitments ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 annually to further enhance the program’s operating resources.”  Frost himself has already committed his own money to the fund.

“I’m very excited about the success we’ve had in our time here and I’m committed to helping this program continue growing,” Frost said. “I’m happy to be part of the UCF Football Excellence Fund. We need more resources to keep taking this program where we want it to go. I’m hopeful my support will be a catalyst for others to jump on board and take part.”

According to the USA Today‘s salary database, Frost’s $1.7 million salary in 2016 was sixth among AAC head coaches, although the top two, Houston’s Tom Herman and Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville, are no longer with those programs.  With built-in raises, Frost will likely make in the neighborhood of $2 million for this season.

That said, we go back to what was written as the opening sentence: If a Power Five program truly wants a Group of Five head coach, there’s little the latter can do — even if it’s not the 42-year-old Frost’s alma mater that comes calling.

Three-star 2015 BYU signee added to Utah roster, immediately eligible

Utah athletics
1 Comment

Mika Tafua will begin his collegiate playing career in the state of Utah, but not at his original school.

In February of 2015, Tafua signed his Letter of Intent with BYU on National Signing Day.  The linebacker then left on a two-year LDS mission in Tacoma, Washington, with the plan initially being to head to Provo when that church work was completed.

With the church mission completed, Tafua has decided, instead of BYU, he’ll start his career with Holy War rival Utah.  The football program announced the development Tuesday.

Tafua will also be eligible to play immediately for the Utes, who have six games remaining in the 2017 season. And, apparently, the true freshman could see action sooner rather than later.

“He’s already in the mix,” defensive line coach Lewis Powell said according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “He’s lifting and running around with the fellas. We’re excited about him.”

A three-star 2015 recruit, Tafua was rated as the No. 17 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Hawaii on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.

Western Michigan’s three-pronged rushing attack down one for foreseeable future

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The top-ranked rushing attack in the MAC will have one less weapon in its running-game arsenal for the foreseeable future.

LeVante Bellamy sustained an injury to his right leg in the Week 7 game against Akron that required an air cast prior to being carted off the field.  While there’s no official word on the extent of the injury, it doesn’t appear that the running back will be on the field anytime soon.

“He’s booted up right now,” head coach Tim Lester said by way of mlive.com. “He’s not going to put weight on his leg for at least a week, and we’re going to revisit it. I don’t know if it’s a season-ending injury yet, but he’s not putting weight on it right now.”

Bellamy, who played in three games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, has 394 yards rushing this season, third on the team behind Jarvion Franklin (538) and Jamauri Bogan (462).  His eight yards per carry leads the Broncos, while he’s second with three rushing touchdowns.

Through seven games, WMU is 20th nationally and first in the MAC averaging 237.9 yards per game on the ground.