1. Alabama center Barrett Jones played the game with torn ligaments in his left foot. Could have surgery as soon as today. Jones ends his college career with three national championships.
2. What was behind the late-game spat between Jones and quarterback A.J. McCarron? ”He’s an emotional guy and we had a snap count difference and I was right. But we love each other and we gave each other a big hug.”
3. Nick Saban on Jones: “I consider him one of the top people in the history of college football.”
4. Saban wasn’t happy at halftime with the Tide leading 28-0. How unhappy? On a scale of 1 to 10 – “nine-and-a-half.”
5. All four of AJ McCarron’s top receiving targets will return in 2013.
6. He gets a lot of press attention and received a lot of awards this year, but Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was a non-factor last night. Credit Alabama for exploiting his weaknesses.
7. The 80,120 on hand Monday Night represented the largest crowd ever for any event at Sun Life Stadium. TV viewers bolted at halftime.
8. Forget all this football talk – what about AJ McCarron’s girlfriend? Kirk Herbstreit: “Wow. AJ is doing some things right in Tuscaloosa.” It wasn’t just announcers – several athletes noticed her as well. McCarron: “I guess she’s more famous than me now.”
Columnists On Title Game
9. Kevin Scarbinsky: “And to think that Alabama may be one Tim Tebow fourth quarter in the 2008 SEC Championship Game away from four BCS titles in five years.”
10. Mark Bradley: “Even among the SEC’s array of heavyweights, there’s no program like Alabama and no coach like Nick Saban.”
11. Stewart Mandel: “The BCS might want to put an end to these futile championship charades.”
12. Andy Staples: “They smoke better barbecue than you. Their women are prettier than your women. They play football better than your schools play football.”
13. Texas A&M writer before last night’s game: “Right now, this A&M team is the best in the country.”
NFL Draft Prospects
14. Alabama junior tackle D.J. Fluker will reportedly announce his NFL decision on Wednesday. Cornerback Dee Milliner and running back Eddie Lacy also potential candidates to leave early. If Lacy’s career at Alabama is done, he finished with a flourish.
15. Make it nine LSU players headed early to the NFL – tailback Michael Ford latest to declare but safety Craig Loston is staying. Offensive lineman Chris Faulk could it make ten. “He is undecided right now, fifty-fifty.”
16. Florida defensive Dominique Easley will stay for his senior year.
17. Looking like South Carolina receiver Ace Sanders will stay for his senior year.
18. How powerful is Nick Saban? He had the plug pulled on ESPN at the team hotel the night before the game.
19. Does Nick Saban deserve to be compared to Bear Bryant? Alabama A.D. Mal Moore: ”I think the success he’s had, certainly,” Moore said. “He’s an outstanding football coach.”
20. Alabama coach gets the NFL question…again.
21. Nevada will make it official on Friday. Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian is the new head coach of the Wolf Pack. Five-year contract with a base salary of $475,000.
22. He wrapped up his coaching duties for Alabama Monday night. New Florida State assistant Jeremy Pruitt is already having an impact for the Seminoles.
23. Former Tennessee player Terry Fair will be one of a dozen new staff support members for Butch Jones.
24. Former Auburn quarterback and veteran SEC coach Pat Washington a candidate for the open receivers coaching spot at Missouri.
25. How Notre Dame’s loss last night nearly netted Urban Meyer an extra $100K.
26. Early look at top 25 for the 2013 season. Can anyone guess who’s at No. 1?
27. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace will be out four to six months following shoulder surgery. Rebels will have two scholarship quarterbacks available in the spring.
28. If they were pro franchises, would Auburn really be worth more than Alabama?
29. Kentucky redshirt freshman T.J. Jones arrested over holiday break on a weapons charge.
30. A look back at the 2012 Vanderbilt season – “remembered as the springboard that signaled a new era for Vanderbilt football.”
31. James Franklin, Butch Jones and the battle for Nashville: “We are the University of Tennessee. Nashville is a very big part of that.”
32. Sources tell ESPN the Rose and Sugar Bowls will host college football’s first semifinal playoff games on January 1, 2015 with the Cotton Bowl a “prohibitive favorite” to host the national title game 11 days later.
33. Florida forward Erik Murphy is doubtful for the Gators opener against Georgia. He has a fractured rib – could be out several weeks. Billy Donovan: “He is cleared to play right now, but it is all up to him, how much pain he can tolerate.”
34. Missouri opens SEC play tonight at home against Alabama. Frank Haith on the new league for his team: “I think SEC is more attack oriented, dribble-drive, stuff like that.” Tony Criswell doubtful for game with broken finger.
35. Fourth straight year Alabama has opened conference play on the road.
36. Arkansas opens SEC play at Texas A&M Wednesday. It will be a road test for four Razorback freshmen.
37. Mississippi State opens SEC play against South Carolina Wednesday. Bulldogs are shooting the ball better – more practice time over the holidays has helped.
38. Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon on his decision to redshirt this season: ”I saw that I wasn’t going to be able to play until late January and I didn’t want to come back after missing that many SEC games.” Kenny Hall: “We’re still an NCAA team.”
39. Kentucky coach John Calipari on improved play from point guard Ryan Harrow: ”He’s become that guy we needed him to be.”
40. LSU point guard Anthony Hickey has been suspended multiple times this season by coach Johnny Jones. Would he even be on the roster if former coach Trent Johnson was still around? “I don’t know.”
41. Early NCAA Tournament projection – three SEC teams make the cut. Two just miss.
42. Big reason why so few teams make the cut. Just nine quality RPI wins for the SEC – 20 bad RPI losses. SEC conference RPI behind the Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley conferences.