Alabama opened the week an 11-point favorite over LSU, and that stands as the largest spread of any game between the Tide and Tigers since Nick Saban and Les Miles first squared off in 2007 (via AL.com’s Andrew Gribble).
Saban is 4-3 against LSU in his time at Alabama, though only one of the game has been decided by more than 10 points — that being the 2011 BCS Championship, which Alabama won 21-0.
Of course, because perspective is everything, the 11-point spread is the second-lowest for Bama this season (the Tide were eight-point favorites at Texas A&M). Gribble pointed out, too, that Alabama has been favored in all but one game against LSU since Saban took over — that being the first meeting in 2007, a year in which Alabama went 7-6.
Both Alabama and LSU are coming off bye weeks heading into Saturday’s showdown in Tuscaloosa. For Alabama, it’s their first game against a ranked opponent since stomping then-No. 21 Ole Miss, 25-0, on Sept. 28.
If LSU is able to pull off an upset, it would all but dash the SEC’s hopes of winning an eighth straight national title. The Toledo Blade’s Dave Briggs talked to BCS expert Jerry Palm, who told him there isn’t a realistic scenario in which a one-loss team leaps Ohio State in the BCS. So unless all hell broke loose and Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor all lost, the SEC would get shut out.
But with an 11-point spread and the game being in Tuscaloosa, the safe call would be on Alabama on Saturday.
Odds are pretty good Steve Spurrier has coached his final game as the Head Ball Coach, but Spurrier let it be known he is not going to go away quite as easily as you might think. Spurrier addressed the media today as South Carolina made its transition between coaches official. Spurrier noted he is resigning as head coach, but he is not necessarily retiring. As previously reported, Shawn Elliott will take on the role as interim head coach of the Gamecocks effective immediately.
The first thing Spurrier wants to remind everybody is he is not retiring. This is simply a resignation from his current position. Spurrier left the door open to possible options down the road for him in his post-coaching career. The idea of Spurrier walking away from the football world never to be heard from again is a startling one, so it is good to know he is not going to let that happen.
“College football is a game of recruiting, as well know,” Spurrier said when assessing why it was right for him to leave his job now. “That’s another reason I need to move on. I don’t know if coaching is completely over or not. It is fun being on a team. I might be a consultant for someone. I doubt if I’ll be a head coach again, but who knows?”
Spurrier said he realized Sunday the time to walk away was now and explained he always knew he would need to step aside the moment he saw himself holding the program back. That echoes the sentiment he has shared over the years, especially when asked about coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden as they each got up in the years. This season South Carolina is off to a 2-4 start, so the writing was on the wall for Spurrier, who also said it was in the best interests for all if an inevitable change was handled immediately.
“We’ve slipped. It’s my fault. I’m the head coach,” Spurrier said of South Carolina’s recent struggles.”We haven’t lost it. We’ve got a dang good team.”
“Our team is not in shambles despite what some might say,” Elliott said when he was given a chance to speak to the media. “We’re going to do everything we can to make the University of South Carolina proud of this football program.”
Elliott will now have the rest of the season to show what he can do as a head coach, and he knows this will be a bit of an open audition for the job as South Carolina starts searching for its next head coach.
Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.
He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.
“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network…
Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.