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Ingram, Dareus And Jones Leave Bama For The NFL

Alabama’s football team will once again have to rely on an above-average number of youngsters in 2011.  Not only has the Tide lost a highly successful senior class, but three underclassmen officially announced their decisions to turn pro today.

Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones all announced at a UA press conference that they are NFL bound.

More underclassmen like Mark Barron, Marquis Maze and Courtney Upshaw could still decide to bolt as well.

Welcome to the downside of college sports… watching star players leave early.

UPDATE — Linebacker Dont’a Hightower announced today that he will be returning to Tuscaloosa next season.  That’s a good “keep” for Nick Saban and crew.

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Auburn Rallies In Tuscaloosa

Auburn 28 – Alabama 27

1. A comeback for the ages.

2. Tide blows a 24-0 lead.

3. Antoine Carter’s strip of Mark Ingram helps spark the rally.

4. Alabama’s first-half play leaves the door open for Auburn.

5. Kevin Scarbinsky: “This could’ve been worse by halftime. It should’ve been worse. It should’ve been over.”

6.  Jon Solomon: “The comeback and the collapse.”

7.  Tony Barnhart: “Nothing — absolutely nothing — that happened before 4:26 p.m. Central time mattered.”

8. Auburn and Oregon control their own destiny – Boise State collapses at Nevada.

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No New Facts, But Plenty More Talk About AU’s Newton This Morning

Facts?  You want facts?  Hell, nobody’s dealing in those, folks.  Not when it comes to Cam Newton.  Who needs new facts, an industry has been created in just chatting, speculating and tweeting about the Auburn quarterback’s status.

Here’s the latest chatter from across the internet:

* In an AP poll of 23 Heisman voters, 19 said that they would vote for Newton if he’s eligible when they cast their ballots.  Four, however, said that “allegations alone could be enough to dissuade them from putting Newton on their ballot.”  (LINK FIXED)

Bill Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal said, “At this point, I can’t envision voting for him.  One Reggie Bush tainting the Heisman is enough.” 

Newton = Bush.  Oops.  Sorry.  That’s not the full equation. 

This is: Newton = Bush – Proof. 

But why wait for proof, right?

* Last year’s Heisman winner — Alabama tailback Mark Ingram — has a vote in this year’s race and he says the Newton allegations don’t factor into his vote.  “As a Heisman voter, I’m not paying attention to that right now.  At the end of the season, I’ll see who played the best football and come up with the best player in the entire country.  If it’s Cam, it’s Cam.  If it’s somebody else, it’s somebody else.”

Would Newton get Ingram’s vote if he cast it today?  “I know they’re undefeated and Cam Newton is playing better football than most everybody in the country right now.”

* Florida coach Urban Meyer tossed some support in the direction of Newton yesterday.  “Those stories have absolutely nothing to do with our team, our preparation for South Carolina.  Our entire focus is, and always will be, on our team.  I will say, however, that I was very supportive of Cam when he left here, and Cam and his family know this.  We wish him all the best.”

* Mark Bradley of The AJC says the Newton saga is bizarre… even by SEC standards.  “Does the SEC, shuddering over the possibility of its championship game matching Auburn and Chizik against Florida and Meyer, intercede?  Does the NCAA?  The FBI?”

* Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Newton story is turning the SEC into a circus.  Speaking of Mike Slive’s attempt to clean up the league, Wetzel writes: “At one point Slive thought the entire league would be off probation for the first time in years.  It didn’t happen as the Arkansas track team got busted.  By now there are scandals at multiple schools in both football and basketball.  Worse for Slive, frustration appears to be boiling over and manifesting itself into dropped dimes to the media.”

* Tony Barnhart of The AJC believes Mississippi State did what it was supposed to do… and he’s not buying any conspiracy theories.  “I love you guys (and you know who you are) but nobody can dream up conspiracy theories like an SEC football fan.  Things don’t just happen in the SEC.  They are always part of a huge Master Plan to put the screws to your school — especially when it is having a good year.”

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No. 5 Alabama Falls to No. 12 LSU, 24-21

The No. 5 Alabama football team lost for only the second time in its past 23 games, dropping a 24-21 decision on the road to No. 12 LSU on Saturday at Tiger Stadium. Crimson Tide senior quarterback Greg McElroy finished the game 21-of-34 for 223 yards and two touchdowns while junior Mark Ingram ran the ball 21 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Julio Jones also hauled in 10 catches for 89 yards.

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Scouting Arkansas at South Carolina: What to Watch for on Special Teams and When Carolina Has the Ball

South Carolina
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3. Punt Returns

Arkansas’s Joe Adams is one of the nation’s best punt returners and has a 90+ TD return to his credit. Adams may not play in this one, but if he does, watch for him to influence the game with some big returns. Luckily, punt return coverage hasn’t been as much of a problem for us this season as other special teams units.

2. Sack Attack

Arkansas ranks seventh in the country in sacks. Although I’ve been relatively impressed with how Stephen Garcia has dealt with pressure over the past couple of games, it’s hard to forget Aub…err, Garcia’s past, and the burden may be on Garcia to prove his level-headedness again this weekend.

1. Arkansas’s Rushing Defense

The Hogs have relatively respectable numbers against the pass, although they have had a bad game or two in that regard, such as against Ole Miss. Where the Hogs haven’t done so well, though, is against the run. I’m not just talking about the fact that Auburn ran for over 300 yards against Arkansas–many of us have been there and done that against the Tigers’ running game. Arkansas also gave Mark Ingram the performance that most resembles the kind of play that Ingram based his Heisman candidacy on last year. Many of Ingram’s yards came late in the game, and I suspect that if we can control time of possession in any measurable degree, Marcus Lattimore will have a ball against these guys late in the game.

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