Getty Images

HBO confirms Penn State, Wazzu — but no Alabama — for ’24/7 College Football’ series

8 Comments

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

Back in mid-August, it was reported that HBO had lined up four Power Five programs as part of a Hard Knocks-style series that is set to air this coming college football season, including Alabama along with Arizona State, Penn State and Washington State.  Wednesday, HBO confirmed that the latter three schools will indeed be involved, although it’ll be Florida, not Alabama, representing the SEC in what is being called a Docu-Reality series by the channel.

No Nick Saban?  Bummer.  All-access to Mike Leach? Yes, please!  With the added bonus of Herm Edwards?  A thousand times, yes!!!

From HBO’s release:

Narrated by Liev Schreiber, the voice of HBO Sports’ Emmy® award-winning documentaries and the 24/7 and HARD KNOCKS franchises, this four-part, limited college football series will document the lives of head coaches Dan Mullen (Florida), James Franklin (Penn State), Herm Edwards (Arizona State) and Mike Leach (Washington State), players, assistant coaches and more over one week during the regular season. 24/7 COLLEGE FOOTBALL will run for four consecutive weeks in October, beginning WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT) with an hour-long special spotlighting the Florida Gators. The series is a collaboration between HBO Sports and Lucky 27 Media and Sport & Story.

“For many years, we have been enamored with the storylines and unrivaled traditions of college football, and we’re excited for the opportunity to expand the 24/7 franchise into the realm of college sports,” said executive producer Rick Bernstein in a statement. “Viewers will feel the tremendous electricity of some of the best atmospheres in the country, and see the meticulous preparation and challenges facing these programs in the build-up to gameday and during the game action. We are excited for the challenge of delivering a four-part series of four different college programs over a four-week period with the production values and storytelling associated with our 24/7 franchise.”

Below is the schedule released by HBO, so set your recordings accordingly:

Episode 1: Florida Gators
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Chronicles Week Leading Up to Florida vs. Towson (Sept. 28)

Episode 2: Penn State Nittany Lions
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, OCT. 9 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Chronicles Week Leading Up to Purdue @ Penn State (Oct. 5)

Episode 3: Arizona State Sun Devils
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, OCT. 16 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Chronicles Week Leading Up to Washington State @ Arizona State (Oct. 12)

Episode 4: Washington State Cougars
Debut date: WEDNESDAY, OCT. 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Chronicles Week Leading Up to Colorado @ Washington State (Oct. 19)

Alabama’s LaBryan Ray undergoes surgery, could return for LSU game

Getty Images
1 Comment

On the LaBryan Ray front, there was a negative development that surfaced Wednesday as well as a potentially promising one as well.

Nick Saban confirmed earlier this week that LaBryan suffered an unspecified foot/ankle injury in Alabama’s Week 3 win over South Carolina and would be sidelined indefinitely.  A couple of days later, al.com is reporting that the junior defensive end has undergone surgery to repair the unspecified damage and will be sidelined “for a significant period of time.”

However, the same website, citing sources, writes that “there is a chance the junior could return later in the season and maybe even in time for the Crimson Tide’s game against LSU in early November.”

Such a timeline would mean LaBryan would miss, at the very least, the next five games.  That stretch includes conference home dates against Ole Miss (Sept. 28), Tennessee (Oct. 19) and Arkansas (Oct. 26) as well as a road trip to College Station Oct. 12 to face No. 17 Texas A&M.  Following a bye weekend after the Arkansas game, Alabama plays host to No. 4 LSU Nov. 9.

Obviously, he’ll miss this weekend’ game against Southern Miss as well.

Ray, a five-star 2017 signee, saw his true freshman season truncated by a foot injury.  After being named third-team preseason All-SEC over the summer, Ray had nine tackles and a sack prior to his injury.

Nick Saban: ‘If there was one thing professionally that I would do over again, it would’ve been not to leave LSU’

Getty Images
10 Comments

It was announced Tuesday that Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been selected as one of eight 2020 inductees into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Saban, of course, coached at LSU for five seasons, the minimum number of years to make either a coach or player eligible for the state’s Hall of Fame.

Suffice to say, Saban’s departure from LSU to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins following the 2004 season wasn’t exactly well-received and left many in the Pelican State none too pleased with the coach — his first return to Baton Rouge, Saban’s image was burned in effigy in November of 2008.

Despite such venting, Glenn Guilbeau of the USA Today Network writes, Saban has claimed that his biggest professional regret is leaving LSU for the NFL.

“As it turns out, what I learned from that experience in hindsight was, it was a huge mistake to leave college football,” Saban told Guilbeau during an interview earlier this year. “And I know a lot of LSU fans think I left for whatever reasons, but I left because I wanted to be a pro coach, or thought I wanted to be a pro coach. We loved LSU. We worked hard to build the program. If there was one thing professionally that I would do over again, it would’ve been not to leave LSU.”

During his two seasons in the NFL, the Dolphins went 15-17 under Saban. There has been a school of thought over the years, although it’s subsided of late, that Saban, who’ll turn 68 in late October, would want to return to the NFL to clean up some unfinished business and attempt to erase what’s the only blight on a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Based on the comments already posted above and these below, I think it’s (still) safe to say that professional football door is unofficially closed.

Saban said then-athletic director Skip Bertman, who was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, tried to convince him to stay, and he has never forgotten what he said.

“I remember Richard Gill and Skip and I meeting in Skip’s office,” Saban said. “And I was really torn about it. And Skip said, ‘You’ve just got to decide what you want your legacy to be. You want it to be as a college coach? Or do you want to try to make a name for yourself as a NFL coach?’ And I really wanted to be a college coach, but I had it in the back of my mind all the time that the ultimate thing that you could accomplish in the profession was to be a head coach in the NFL. Don’t ask me why. But that was just kind of there. And I thought, probably because of Wayne Huizenga (the late Dolphins’ owner) that was the right one. He was a pretty good recruiter.

Saban will officially be inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame June 27 of next year, for those looking to mark their calendars.

Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow surge past Trevor Lawrence in Heisman odds

Getty Images
9 Comments

When the 2019 campaign kicked off, most assumed that the 2019 Heisman Trophy would be a two-player race. Three weeks in and that number has more than doubled.

In odds released by one offshore sportsbook, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is listed as a 2/1 favorite to win this year’s Heisman. The other preseason co-favorite, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, whose odds now sit at 15/2 — they were at 3/1 a week ago — after a start to the season has seen him throw more interceptions in three games (five) than he had in 15 games (four) as a true freshman a year ago.

Lawrence was actually leapfrogged in this latest odds release by a pair of quarterbacks: Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, who went from 7/2 to 3/1, and LSU’s Joe Burrow, up to 4/1 from 18/1.

Another quarterback also made an upward move as Ohio State’s Justin Fields climbed from 16/1 to 10/1.

The only non-quarterbacks on the list?  Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor sits at 20/1, while fellow running backs Travis Etienne of Clemson and D’Andre Swift of Georgia, along with Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy,  are sitting at 33/1.  Another running back, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, is listed at 100/1.

Other quarterbacks that were listed include Georgia’s Jake Fromm at 14/1 (12/1 a week ago), Oregon’s Justin Herbert at 18/1 (25/1), Texas’ Sam Ehlinger at 18/1 (16/1), Notre Dame’s Ian Book at 50/1 (50/1), Michigan’s Shea Patterson at 66/1 (22/1) and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez at 100/1 (off the board).

Alabama loses DE LaBryan Ray indefinitely

Getty Images
2 Comments

No. 2 Alabama defensive end LaBryan Ray left Saturday’s 47-23 win over South Carolina early with a foot/ankle injury and it’s unknown when he will return.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban revealed Monday that Ray is now out indefinitely.

“We’re doing further testing to see what it is with his foot,” Saban said, “but it’s undetermined how long he’ll be out.”

A former 5-star recruit in Alabama’s 2017 class, Ray appeared in six games as a true freshman before breaking his foot and missing the remainder of the Crimson Tide’s title hunt. He recorded 2.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2017 and continued to deal with foot problems, but battled his way to the field and became an impact player for the Tide, recording seven tackles in wins over Duke and New Mexico State. He was a preseason All-SEC selection this season.

Ray’s is the third major injury to hit Alabama’s defensive front this season. Linebackers Joshua McMillon and Dylan Moses are out for the season and were replaced by freshmen, and true freshman Justin Egoibe will start in Ray’s stead at defensive end.