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Bama QB McCarron Is Feeling “Fine”

So much for the tweet that rocked America.  At least American sports fans.  In the South.

Yesterday Russ Mitchell of College Football News and sent out a tweet that claimed he’d “heard from 3 sources” that Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had a torn meniscus and not a bruised knee.  (Scout is a subsidiary of Fox, which is why we and so many others referred to Mitchell as a employee.)

Well, it didn’t take long for McCarron’s family to shoot down Mitchell’s tweet by calling it “100% false.”  And sure enough, McCarron was right back at practice yesterday.

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Saban Gets With The Multi-Year Scholarship Program

Alabama’s Nick Saban — an opponent of the multi-year scholarship decision made official by a vote of NCAA presidents this month — is getting with the program.  This week he told Cecil Hurt of that he’s suddenly gung-ho to hand out the longer pacts:

“We’re going to offer four-year scholarships.  Our whole conference is going to do it, all the schools, I think.

And we’re happy to do it…

Most of the conditions are still the same.  The player will still have to be academically eligible.  He will still have to obey team rules and regulations.  And he player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now…

We don’t cut players.  I don’t know anyone who does.  So I don’t think that’s an issue.”

Saban and other coaches might not cut players, but they do occasionally let them know that they’ll be receiving zero playing time if they remain on the team.  In most cases, players want to play.  So while that’s not “cutting,” it is “driving off.”  And it’s still fully legal for coaches to drive off players in that manner.

Other coaches have been outspoken against the multi-year scholarship idea.  Tennessee’s Derek Dooley voiced concerns last week.  South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier called the idea a bad one last year at SEC Media Days.  Overall, four schools — Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M — voted to override the multi-year scholarship rule but they were ultimately voted down.

Now those coaches and schools will have to offer four-year deals or else fall behind in recruiting to schools that do offer such pacts.  So whether Saban, Dooley, Spurrier and others really like the rule or not… they’ll all soon be buying in and abiding by it.  Saban’s just the first to say so.

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Annoying: “Repeat” Talk Starts The Second A Title Is Won

Of all the things in our microwave, fast food, gotta-have-it-now culture that bother this old grump, tops on the list is the inability to enjoy The Now.  The Now means little when The Next is always hanging out there, waiting to be conquered.

Oh, sure our desire to get “news” via Twitter may occasionally kill off a talented actor before he’s actually dead, but most of us know not to believe everything we read on Twitter.  (Unless you’re following at Twitter that is.)  So the Twitterification of the world isn’t my top gripe.

And while our “why not us right now” culture can lead some radio hosts to disrespect a coach that’s just had a helluva year only moments after his lone, heartbreaking loss of the season… that childishness isn’t tops on my list of complaints either.

For this writer, what’s more annoying than all of that instant gratification chasing is the immediate focus on the dessert of a “repeat” before the meal of a championship is fully digested or truly enjoyed. 

Cecil Hurt of tackled Alabama’s chances of repeating last evening.  He’s just one of hundreds of media folk who’ve moved from 2011 to 2012 at warp speed.  And they’ve got reason to speculate — fans began thinking about a repeat as soon as the final whistle blew on Bama’s win over LSU Monday night.  They want to read about how their team can do it again!

My suggestion for Tide fans?  Enjoy the title your team just won.  History shows a repeat is out of the question next year.

The last repeat champion in the SEC came way back in 1997-98.  And while it’s true this year’s Bama squad didn’t actually capture the SEC crown, it’s still a clear message that it’s not easy to stay on top of the football world when you’re in the SEC.

Matter of fact, since the BCS system was launched in 1998, no school has ever won back-to-back crowns.  Never.  Hasn’t happened.

So focus on Monday, enjoy Monday, Tide fans.  Forget 2012 for now.  There’s plenty of time to worry about next season in the spring and summer.

And if you’re reading this thinking, “yeah, but we’ve got McCarron back and…” then you’re missing the point.  Bama had so many people back in 2010 that everyone thought Nick Saban would go back-to-back then.  Didn’t happen.  Three losses did.

If you’re worrying about next year — and trying to argue that you’re team can win it all in January 2013 — you’re wasting time that could be spent reveling in a championship that’s already been won.  Celebrate that which exists.  Leave the speculation to the long, boring days of summer.

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Bama Responds To Kentucky Call-Out On Vacated Wins

When the NCAA decided to tsk-tsk Kentucky regarding the “500th victory” celebration it held for John Calipari, it was opening Pandora’s Box.  By making sure one school wasn’t ignoring its past rulings on vacated wins, the NCAA put itself in a position where it had to be up to date with every other school’s media guides and websites.

John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader pointed out last week that Nick Saban was still being credited on Alabama’s website for five wins that were vacated from the 2007 season.

A UA spokesman, however, told Cecil Hurt of that while the website is wrong, the school’s media guide is A-OK:

“All of our printed material is correct.  We have consulted with the NCAA prior to any publication of our media guides and have been completely compliant.  In the wake of the situation at Kentucky, we have become aware of a technical issue with our on-line site, and we will correct that discrepancy.”

If Clay is suggesting that the NCAA is inconsistent and — as is often the case — is not completely aware of what every school is doing, we feel he’s correct.

But if Clay — or any UK fans reading Clay’s work — is suggesting that the NCAA is playing favorites, we think they might want to check Alabama’s track record with the NCAA.  For that matter, they should pick up a phone and call any Tide fan in the country.  ‘Cause if there’s any group that feels more picked on than Kentucky fans, it’s Bama fans.

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Bogus Coaching Rumors: Miles, Saban, Oh My

The deeper we get into November, the more coaches will be fired.  The more coaches are fired, the more rumors about current SEC coaches will swirl.  In fact, that’s already happening.

But SEC fans don’t have much to worry about… at this point.

According to multiple media reports in Colorado, Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins could be fired as early as today.  Two weeks ago, a pair of Denver columnists speculated that Les Miles (LSU), Gus Malzahn (Auburn) and Jim McElwain (Alabama) would be on the Buffs’ list of potential replacements.  Don’t bank on it.

With his team in the top five of the BCS standings, it’s unlikely that Miles would depart Baton Rouge.  At the moment, he’s on top of the world again.  And most importantly, Colorado doesn’t have the money to lure in Miles.  The school is cash poor at the moment and it won’t be collecting a full partner’s share from the Pac-12 for a couple more years. 

Perhaps that’s why so many in Colorado are suggesting that CU turn to Miles’ old boss, Bill McCartney.  McCartney is now 70 and he hasn’t coached in 16 years.   But he wants the job and he’d be cheap.

That immediately pushes him ahead of Malzahn and McElwain.  McElwain’s stock, by the way, likely drops each time Alabama’s offense sputters.

Speaking of Alabama, the Nick Saban-to-the-Cowboys rumors have already taken root on SEC messageboards.  Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News said yesterday that he expected those rumors to pop:

“It’s possible that someone will float the Saban to Dallas rumor.  You’ll hear that until (Jerry Jones) hires someone for the job. … Saban has totally been up front about his NFL experience.  It won’t stop people from speculating though.”

No, it won’t.  But there’s no reason to believe Saban will coach anywhere other than Tuscaloosa next year.  Like many other college coaches who’ve given the pro game a shot, Saban returned to his roots at the first opportunity.

In Alabama he rules with an iron fist.  You can do that with college kids.  But try that with multimillionaire professional athletes and you’ll find that it doesn’t work for long.  (Unless you win a Super Bowl in your second season and give players a reason to by into your czar status… as Saban’s mentor Bill Belichick did in New England).

Also, we saw how long the marriage between Bill Parcells and Jones lasted in Dallas — four years.  A kingdom can’t have two kings.

For that reason, if Saban winds up with the Cowboys, I’ll eat Les Miles’ hat.

Be prepared to hear more whispers in the wind regarding SEC coaches, but it doesn’t look like the first two jobs on the market will be filled by men from the league’s toughest conference.

UPDATE — Hawkins has indeed been 86′d at Colorado.

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