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Oregon coaches took field trip to Alabama, Georgia

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The 2019 season is one that will see the bar raised for the Oregon Ducks. The second season under head coach Mario Cristobal could see the Ducks challenge for the Pac-12 title if things go according to plan in Eugene. With spring football in season, Cristobal took his entire coaching staff on a trip to see how some of the best coaching staffs in the SEC operate.

As reported by The Oregonian, Cristobal and the Oregon coaching staff paid a visit to Alabama and Georgia to meet up with the coaches of the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs. Cristobal is a former Alabama assistant under Nick Saban and worked under Kirby Smart, who is now the head coach at Georgia. It pays to have some good connections for Cristobal, it would seem.

A trip for a coaching staff like this is not at all uncommon in college football. But it is notable that Cristobal returned to the SEC to have his coaching staff take some notes from Saban’s and Smart’s. Alabama and Georgia are defending division champions in the SEC and met in the SEC Championship Game last season, a year after their national championship showdown in the College Football Playoff of the 2017 season. Of course, Alabama has been on the national championship level for a number of years now and Smart is looking to have Georgia in that same company on a regular basis.

It has been a few years since Oregon was considered a national title contender (their appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game is already fading in the memory bank), but things are starting to look as though they are turning around for the Ducks. And if Cristobal can run his coaching staff the way Saban has over the years, then Oregon will certainly be in good hands in the years to come.

SEC rolls out four-day summer media day schedule

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Once again, the SEC will be masters of media day coverage in the middle of the summer with a four-day media day extravaganza. This year, the SEC is returning to Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC distributed updated details about this year’s media day event including what schools and coaches will be speaking on what day.

The SEC will open up the 2019 media day fun on Monday, July 15 from the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – Wynfrey Hotel. Television coverage of the event will be available through the SEC Network as well as ESPN over the course of the four days.

The exact order of what coaches will be speaking at what times will be hashed out later on, but Florida’s Dan Mullen, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, and Missouri’s Barry Odom will be featured on Day 1 on Monday, July 15. Day 2 will feature Kirby Smart of Georgia, Matt Luke of Ole Miss, Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee, and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M. Alabama’s Nick Saban will highlight the festivities on Day 3, with Chad Morris of Arkansas, Joe Moorhead of Mississippi State and Will Muschamp of South Carolina also getting their time in front of the microphone. Day 4 will wrap things up with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, and Derek Mason of Vanderbilt.

Here is the full SEC Media Day schedule, for those planning ahead.

2019 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

MONDAY, July 15
Florida – Dan Mullen
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Missouri – Barry Odom

TUESDAY, July 16
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

WEDNESDAY, July 17
Alabama – Nick Saban
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
South Carolina – Will Muschamp

THURSDAY, July 18
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

While the SEC media days are going on, the ACC will also be holding their media day event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ACC media day runs from July 16 through July 18.

Legendary coaches Nick Saban, Bill Belichick have yet to overlap championship success

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Over the course of the past decade, there is little argument that Alabama head coach Nick Saban and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick have been the best in the business. Between them, the two coaches have a total of 11 outright championship rings to go along with a handful of more conference championships to their names. If a Mount Rushmore of football coaches were to be sculpted today, these two would certainly be the first two faces to go up on the side of the mountain. Yet, for all the championship success these two legendary football coaches have achieved, they have also somehow failed to experience the thrill of a championship victory in the same season even once.

Belichick’s latest Super Bowl victory on Sunday with the New England Patriots topping the Los Angeles Rams continued one of the more fascinating streaks in the football world. Since 2009, no football season has ended with both Belichick and Saban winning a championship in the same year.

Technically speaking, the streak goes back prior to 2009, but most recognize the start of the streak with Saban’s first BCS national championship in his second season with Alabama. Belichick won an AFC East division title with the Patriots that season but took an early exit in the wild card round against the Baltimore Ravens. The following year, Saban and Alabama failed to win the SEC thanks to a magical run by Cam Newton and Auburn that left the Crimson Tide resorting to play in the Capital One Bowl. Meanwhile, AFC East champion New England were upset in the AFC Divisional Round by the New York Jets. Saban struck back with back-to-back BCS national championships in 2011 and 2012. We came close to a Saban-Belichick combo in the 2011 season, but the New York Giants upset the Patriots in the Super Bowl and the Patriots were taken out by the Ravens once again the following season in the AFC Championship Game.

Auburn once again got in the way of a potential national championship run by Alabama in 2013, leading the Crimson Tide to lose in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma at the end of the year. The Patriots once again took a loss in the AFC Championship Game, this time on the road against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The following season, Belichick picked up his first Super Bowl championship since 2004 with a win against the Seattle Seahawks, but Saban and Alabama were taken out of the inaugural College Football Playoff by Ohio State in the first round.

Alabama picked up Saban’s first College Football Playoff national championship in 2015, but the Patriots were once again thwarted by Manning and the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game. Saban and Alabama lost a rematch with Clemson the following season, but Belichick saw his Patriots come back form a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to win the Super Bowl in the 2016 season. Last year, it was Saban getting the upper hand in the College Football Playoff championship with an overtime victory over Georgia in the national championship game in Atlanta. A few weeks later, Belichick and the Patriots fell victim to the Philly Special against the Philadelphia Eagles.

which brings us to this most recent season. The 2018 football season ended with Belichick winning yet another Super Bowl mere weeks after Saban suffered one of the worst postseason losses of his career against Clemson in the national championship game. And the streak continues.

For those keeping score in South Carolina, and I know some of you are, Belichick and Dabo Swinney have won a championship in the same season in two of the last three seasons. Could this turn into its own trend?

Alabama opens second half by getting stuffed on fake field goal and giving up long Clemson TD

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Down 31-16, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was not afraid to try doing something unorthodox to catch Clemson off guard on the opening drive of the second half. But Clemson was not fooled by Alabama’s attempt of a fake field goal.

After a 12-play drive stalled at the Clemson 22-yard line, Alabama tried a fake field goal with holder Mac Jones attempting to pick up the needed six yards to pick up a first down. But Clemson must have seen something, as did ESPN announcer Chris Fowler because the Tigers snuffed it out and made sure Jones lost two yards on the play.

Alabama kicker Joseph Bulovas missed an extra point in the first quarter, preventing Alabama from tying the game at 14-14 at the time and instead of keeping Alabama down by one point. Bulovas later added a field goal for the last points scored so far tonight by Alabama, but even that try wasn’t the most confident-looking kick. Down by 15 points at the time, Saban must have felt his team really needed more than a field goal to open the half. Instead, the worst-case scenario played out as Alabama came up empty on the drive and three plays later Trevor Lawrence dumped off a pass to a wide-open Justyn Ross. Ross took off for a 74-yard touchdown and gave Clemson a 38-16 lead midway through the third quarter.

As if that were not bad enough, Alabama cornerback Saivion Smith was injured on the play. He fell on the field while initially covering Ross on the play, and he was carted off the field with an injury.

Alabama is in some serious trouble right now, with Clemson leading 37-16.

Second INT by Tagovailoa leads to Clemson taking 12-point lead on shovel pass

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Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been intercepted twice in the first half of the College Football Playoff national championship game, and Clemson took advantage of his second turnover.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed four of five pass attempts on the drive after Tagovailoa was picked off by Trayvon Mullen, and Travis Etienne took care of some business on the ground with a few runs. On the final play of the quick 47-yard touchdown drive, Lawrence completed a shovel pass to Etienne up the middle for a touchdown, giving Clemson a 28-16 lead on the Crimson Tide with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter.

Earlier in the half, Alabama was stuffed by a Clemson defense that was not at all fooled by a shovel pass attempt near the end zone. A Tagovailoa shovel pass to Damien Harris was covered well for a loss of four yards, forcing Nick Saban to accept a field goal that gave Alabama a 16-14 lead at the time. Clemson responded with an impressive touchdown drive as the Tigers have shown an ability to move on Alabama like few teams have been capable of doing this season.