Alabama won the national championship last college football season with an unbelievable second-half effort from freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leading a rally and eventually lifting the Crimson Tide to a dramatic victory over SEC champion Georgia in overtime. But ask anyone who sports the black and gold of UCF and they will tell you there was another national champion last season as well. How much legitimacy you want to place on UCF’s claim at a national title is up to you, but Tagovailoa and UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton apparently have not shied away from joking about the national championship debate this offseason.
In an interview with Orlando sportswriter and radio host Mike Bianchi, Milton said he is friends with the Alabama quarterback. Both were born in Hawaii and played on the same Pop Warner team in their younger days. And as friends do, they have some fun at each other’s expense.
“We’ll joke around about the national championship stuff, but it’s all in good fun,” Milton said. “He’s goodhearted and doesn’t take it personally. He’ll be the first one to give us praise about going unbeaten and he’ll say things like, ‘You guys were the only ones to go undefeated and beat the team that beat us.’ He’s such a humble guy. He doesn’t bash UCF like some of the other Alabama guys.”
UCF defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl to complete the only undefeated season in the FBS last season. Auburn defeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl to close out the regular season to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game as the SEC West champion. Alabama still was selected to play in the College Football Playoff and the rest is history.
Going into the 2018 season, both McKenzie and Tagovailoa are being discussed as potential Heisman Trophy candidates.
Maybe the two quarterbacks won’t face off on the field, but there could be a chance they sit side-by-side in New York City when the Heisman Trophy is awarded.
If Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was looking to build a case for taking the starting job for the Crimson Tide in 2018, he may have to rely on more than his performance in the spring game. Hurts turned in a sub-par performance in Alabama’s spring game on Saturday afternoon, leaving the door wide open for some speculation about his future as Alabama’s spring comes to a close.
Hurts completed 19 of his 37 pass attempts for 195 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He also was sacked seven times. With Tua Tagovailoa out of action due to injury, Hurts was outperformed by redshirt freshman Mac Jones, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jones was also intercepted once and was sacked six times. Of the two quarterbacks, Jones had the more inspiring performance.
Rumors speculating Hurts may end up looking to transfer will only continue to ignore following this spring, especially with Tagovailoa going into the offseason as the new hero in town after guiding Alabama back in the national championship game. It should be worth noting, however, a transfer for Hurts is not guaranteed to happen. That won’t stop fans and media from figuring out what will be next for Hurts.
Hurts’ dad recently suggested his son would be college football’s biggest free agent on the transfer market if he ended up losing the quarterback battle in Tuscaloosa. That may be a slight exaggeration, but there is no question Hurts would have plenty of potential and skill to offer any program he would potentially move to if he decides to leave Alabama. Alabama head coach Nick Saban tried to cool the tension by suggesting there is no reason to be concerned about the whole situation.
But this is Alabama we’re talking about. The Hurts watch is now in full force in Tuscaloosa, whether Saban likes it or not.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa may not be playing in the spring game due to an injury, but there is still plenty of Tagovailoa news coming out of Tuscaloosa today. Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of the national championship game hero, has reportedly committed to play for the Crimson Tide.
The newest commitment for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide is a four-star dual-threat quarterback and will be a part of Alabama’s Class of 2019. Alabama won the recruiting battle against schools like Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska, and Michigan among others. According to Al.com, Lane Kiffin made a push to lure Tagovailoa to FAU as well.
Tagovailoa will go down as an in-state recruit for Alabama because the Tagovailoa moved to Alabama after Tua Tagovailoa enrolled at Alabama. If Tua wins the starting job at Alabama, then it is possible Alabama’s offense could be run by a Tagovailoa for the next six years. A dynasty within a dynasty? That’s dynasty inception, not to put too much pressure on either Tagovailoa brother.
Remember yesterday when we shared the initial 2018 Heisman Trophy odds from Bovada? Well, scrap that already because the people have come in with enough bets to warrant some quick changes to the Heisman odds. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins soared up four spots to climb into the top spot on Bovada’s board after just 24 hours.
Dobbins was initially given 12/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and the bettors went scrambling for those odds. Bovada’s updated odds see Dobbins as the way-too-early favorite with 6/1 odds. Tied for the best odds with Dobbins is another Big Ten running back, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor didn’t move up quite as dramatically to 6/1 after having 8/1 odds a day ago. The short-lived preseason favorite from Bovada and 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Stanford running back Bryce Love, has slipped into third on the board with 7/1 odds. Alabama’s national championship hero, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tied Love with 7/1 odds.
Some other notable dramatic changes include the addition of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (25/1). Lock, the SEC’s top passer returning in 2018, was initially left completely off the board. He is the only newcomer to the updated odds from Bovada at this moment. The most notable drop in the odds was from Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who fell from 55/1 odds to 66/1. Most other drops were just by a few spots, including Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate falling from 9/1 to 14/1, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier falling from 12/1 to 16/1 and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley dropping from 18/1 to 20/1.
Here are the updated Heisman odds as relayed by Bovada:
J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 6/1
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 7/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 14/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 16/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 16/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 18/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 18/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 20/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 25/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 25/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) 25/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 25/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1
D'Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 66/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1
Alabama made a quick change at quarterback to start the second half, and after Tua Tagovailoa got his feet wet on his first series, he provided the much-needed offensive spark for Alabama on his second drive. Unfortunately for Alabama, Jake Fromm continued to thrive on third and long with a big answer.
Tagovailoa came up with a crazy run to pick up a first down that was soon followed by Alabama’s first score of the night.
The pass into the end zone was to Henry Ruggs III, his third catch of the night. Suddenly, Alabama had some life.
Feeding off the energy of Alabama’s first points of the game, the Crimson Tide were flying on Georgia’s ensuing possession and forced Georgia into a 3rd and 11. Fromm took a deep shot to a streaking Mecole Hardman, and Hardman did not disappoint on an 80-yard bomb for a touchdown to regain a 13-point advantage. The play was reviewed to make sure Hardman did not step out of bounds. Like Sony Michel’s big run in the first half, the review upheld the call on the field, and Georgia celebrated a 20-7 lead.
Tagovailoa was picked off on Alabama’s next possession, setting Georgia up to put a stranglehold on the Tide midway through the third quarter, but Fromm was just picked off on a tipped ball, giving the ball back to Tagovailoa and the Tide. Buckle up. Things are getting fun.