Nick Saban

Bama/LSU opens with largest spread of Saban/Miles era


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’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.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.