Nick Saban on Bob Stoops’ SEC comments: ‘I’ve got more important things to do’

75 Comments

Earlier this week, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops cause a bit of an offseason stir* when he challenged the perception that the SEC was widening the gap between itself and the rest of college football.

(*Meaning it’s actually not that big of a deal)

Here’s part of what Stoops said, via the Tulsa World:

“It depends on who you want to listen to,” Stoops said. “Listen, they’ve had the best team in college football, meaning they’ve won the national championship. That doesn’t mean everything else is always the best.”

“So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you,” he said. “You’re more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?

“What’d we (the Big 12) have, eight of 10 teams in bowl games this year? Again, you figure it all out.”

Naturally, the press had to know Nick Saban‘s reaction to Stoops’ comments. When asked about them, Saban went on a lengthy retort spanning somewhere in the vicinity of five whole seconds:

“I’ve got more important things to do than sit around and read what Bob Stoops has to say about anything.”

Like win three BCS championships in four years? Yeah, he can be dismissive about it. Us? We have more time on our hands. So…

To Stoops’ credit, he has a point. The Big 12 has been especially deep the last couple of years. Conversely, parity wasn’t exactly present in the SEC last season. No SEC team who finished in the bottom seven of the final conference standings beat a team who finished in the top seven of the league. Of course, that’s a little misleading as not everyone in the SEC plays each other whereas the Big 12 plays a round robin schedule, but the point remains. The SEC’s been top-heavy and won the past seven BCS championships. It’s perception is going to be based on what the top half does, not the bottom half.

Then there are the NFL draft numbers by conference, but has John Hoover explains in his aforementioned column from the Tulsa World,  “it’s much the same way: 46 of the 63 came from the top half of the league. The other seven schools produced just 17 draft picks.”

Again, top-heavy. And, in fairness, you could put an asterisk next to the draft picks from Texas A&M and Missouri, both of which had first-round picks this past draft and are only one year removed from the Big 12. That lends itself to another point from Saban:

Well, A&M didn’t seem to have a problem in its first season — and in a year when few people actually thought the Aggies would do well in any conference, no less. There’s plenty of good football being played outside the SEC, but until someone actually knocks the SEC off the top of the college football mountain — preseason publications are looking at you, Ohio State — the perception Stoops chimed in on likely won’t change.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

Associated Press
1 Comment

Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

Getty Images
11 Comments

Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

Getty Images
5 Comments

Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger, C Zach Shackelford in concussion protocol

Getty Images
2 Comments

Texas has lost two straight upset bids in strikingly similar fashion: true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads a potential-game winning drive, scrambles, hits his head on the turf and ends the possession in a puzzling throw.

The first came in last week’s loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Trailing 29-24 late in the fourth quarter, scrambled for two yards to the Texas-48 yard line but hit his head on the Cotton Bowl turf and was forced to leave the game for five plays. Shane Buechele pushed the Longhorns to the Oklahoma 31, but he was replaced after a sack and Ehlinger ended up throwing the ball away on 4th-and-13 from the OU 34 with two minutes to play. That, as they say, was that.

Fast forward to Saturday and Texas was trailing No. 11 Oklahoma State 13-10 in overtime when Ehlinger opened the possession with a scramble that again saw the back of his head bang against the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf. He stayed in the game this time, but ended the game on a puzzling (to say the least) interception to absolutely no one on 3rd-and-4 from the OSU 6.

While Ehlinger was not evaluated for a concussion during the game, he did not practice Sunday and head coach Tom Herman said Monday that Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford are in concussion protocol.

Complicating matters for Texas is that sophomore back-up Shane Buechele is playing on a gimpy ankle that kept him out against San Jose State and Kansas State that Herman said will not improve as the season goes on.

No matter, Texas will face a hungry Baylor team on Saturday (noon ET, ESPNU) that nearly completed a comeback against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday night.