NCAA Football

Power Ranking Nebraska's Positional Units for 2014

As the calendar moves to July, Nebraska football fans are starting to get more excited about the upcoming season. Once baseball’s All-Star Game is past, it’s a downhill slide to fall camp and the start of another Nebraska football odyssey.

So, to keep themselves entertained, fans will be looking at their team and thinking about strengths and weaknesses. Rather than focus on individual players, a different way to look at the team is by unit. So here is a power ranking, from worst to first, of Nebraska’s strongest units. This particular ranking reflects proven performance more so than potential, so it may be that the ranking at the end of the season looks dramatically different than it does in late June.

Begin Slideshow

Power Ranking Clemson Football's Positional Units for 2014

Everyone knows how good Clemson’s defensive line is supposed to be this year, but not everyone is on board with the other position groups, like running back, just yet.

This list ranks the Tigers’ positional units for 2014, showing which areas are strong and which ones may need a little help this fall.

Begin Slideshow

The Opening 2014: Predicting Landing Spots for the Top 10 Uncommitted Recruits

A staggeringly star-studded collection of college recruits will swarm to Beaverton, Oregon, this July for The Opening, Nike's annual showcase of elite competitors. The group features future foes and eventual teammates, though the collegiate statuses of several remain uncertain.

Many players will keep their options open as national signing day approaches, using official visit experiences and the 2014 season to determine decisions. We highlight 10 premier uncommitted prospects who are invited to The Opening, peeking ahead to predict where they'll wind up in 2015.

Begin Slideshow

Insider Buzz: Where Do Penn State's Top Targets Stand After Recruiting Weekend?

Penn State had an eventful past weekend with many big-time recruits stopping by for a visit from all over the country. Numerous athletes at all different positions showed up in State College, Pennsylvania.

Only time will tell if James Franklin can land an impressive recruiting class in his first year as head coach. Which top recruits would you love to see join the Nittany Lions?

Watch Adam Lefkoe and Audrey Snyder talk about Penn State recruiting.


Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

Rankings from the 247Sports Composite.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Dana Holgorsen Makes Right Call Naming Clint Trickett Starting WVU QB

Other than "Will Dana Holgorsen still be the coach in 2015?," the biggest question in Morgantown, West Virginia, the past few months has been "Who will start at quarterback?"

Holgorsen put an end to the latter (in a way he hopes will influence the former) Tuesday afternoon when he announced that Clint Trickett, the presumed favorite and a one-time Florida State Seminole, would get the nod under center in 2014.

"Clint is 100 percent healthy and is ready to play," said Holgorsen of Trickett, per Mike Montoro of WVUSports.com. "He worked hard last season and showed a lot of ability and leadership and deserves the chance to lead the team as a senior. He will be our starter."

Trickett missed all of spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason, which is ostensibly why Holgorsen addressed the health issue. In his stead, fellow senior Paul Millard, who played in seven games to Trickett's eight last season, and junior college transfer Skyler Howard battled primarily to "take" Trickett's spot.

But neither of those names inspires much confidence, and neither has the upside of Trickett, who, at one point, was competing with Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker for the starting job at FSU. After Winston's breakout spring game in 2013, he transferred to WVU, but did not develop the accuracy or consistency that many hoped to see.

However, it is not like his year was without highlights:

Trickett didn't set the world on fire in the Mountaineers (inexplicable) upset win over Oklahoma State, but he was the starting quarterback, and he did complete 24 of 50 passes in that game.

The WVU defense was the dominant unit that afternoon, but the experience of playing (and beating) one of the best defenses in America—per the defensive F/+ ratings at Football Outsiders, only five defenses were better last season—is precisely the sort of background one needs before lining up in Week 1 against Alabama (of all opponents).

And even when the outcome did not come out as rosy as it did against OSU, Trickett was not always at fault for West Virginia's struggles. Take, for example, his 9-of-28 passing performance in a 73-42 loss at Baylor. Trickett didn't play perfect football, but he stood in behind an atrocious offensive line and showed a surplus of toughness.

David Ubben of ESPN.com agreed with this sentiment:

Additionally, Trickett posted his highest quarterback rating of 2013 in the season-finale against Iowa State, throwing 356 yards and a couple of touchdowns in the heartbreaking overtime loss. Less than a month later, he went under the knife to repair his torn labrum—an injury he had been playing with since the Oklahoma State game.

Which is to say: Trickett ended last season on a high note despite playing through the ostensible nadir of his shoulder injury. Beyond that, he has now had a full year to learn Dan Holgorsen's offense instead of the protracted four months between his transfer and the start of last season. With improved health and better command of the playbook, how could he not be better in 2014?

The timing of this move makes sense, as well.

Holgorsen gave Millard and Howard their chance to impress in the spring, and, once it became clear that neither was ready to seize—to actively seize—this job from Trickett, there was no need to drag the debate out all summer. So thinks Jonathan Martin of Scout.com:

A lot of things will need to go right for West Virginia to beat (or even hang with) Alabama. But even if it does not look pretty in the season opener, this offense is closer to being competitive than people realize.

Especially at running back, where Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood (among others) combine with Pittsburgh transfer (and former 5-star recruit) Rushel Shell to form one of the deepest units in America, the Mountaineers should be adequately well-equipped to support their quarterback in 2014.

Trickett did not get much in the way of support last season, and, although he should not escape his share of culpability, he is in many ways set up for success next year. This team is more set up to help.

Trickett is, after all, still the guy who stepped in as a freshman against Clemson in 2011 and nearly led Florida State to an upset victory, throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns in the process. We have seen how he can perform with the right weapons around him.

He deserves at least this one, final shot.

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oklahoma Football: Strengths, Weaknesses and Secret Weapons

Expectations around Norman, Oklahoma, are as high as they’ve ever been as the Sooners prepare for the 2014 college football season.

The boys in crimson and cream capped off a stellar 11-2 campaign last season by topping the sport's perennial giant, the Alabama Crimson Tide, in the Sugar Bowl, 45-31. Now, the talk around town is that this could be the year when the Sooners bring home national title No. 8.

Before we jump to any far-reaching conclusions, let’s put this 2014 Oklahoma squad under the microscope.

 

Strength: Defense

Backed by nine returning starters—including the entire front seven—the Sooners boast a defense you don’t want to mess with.

Following an up-and-down showing in 2012, the unit really turned things around last season:

As scary a thought as it may be to future opponents, this defense only appears poised to get better.

Among the key returners, Oklahoma welcomes back Charles Tapper, Eric Striker, Frank Shannon and Geneo Grissom. The quartet helped the defense record 16 of the team’s season total of 33 sacks over the final four games—including a whopping seven against Alabama.

Sure, the team will miss the veteran experience and leadership of Gabe Lynn and Aaron Colvin in the secondary. However, Quentin Hayes and Zack Sanchez have shown potential to fill those shoes.

Throw in a variety of new recruits from a 2014 class that ranked No. 10 in 247Sports.com’s football recruiting team rankings, and opposing offenses will be shaking in their cleats.

 

Weakness: Tight End

Jermaine Gresham dominated the nation from the tight end spot in 2008, hauling in 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Sooners.

Consider this: Over the last two seasons, Oklahoma has only had three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown from the tight end position—that includes nothing at all from a year ago.

This season, the Sooners will hope quarterback-turned-tight end Blake Bell can offer up some production at the position. At 6’6” and 252 pounds, the senior certainly has the size to contribute.

With the ball in his hand, Bell is a dangerous threat—he has pounded his way for 24 rushing touchdowns over his career. However, it will come down to how well the Wichita, Kansas, native can block.


Secret Weapon: Rushing Attack

Oklahoma is known for producing top-notch running backs year in and year out. Just look at Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray, who are both making names for themselves on the gridiron in the NFL.

For 2014, the Sooners will have to turn to a fresh face to lead the pack. The team loses each of its top three running backs from a year ago. Keith Ford, who played sparingly, is the top returning rusher (23 CAR, 134 YDS, 1 TD in 2013).

Still, Ford—a 5-star recruit of Oklahoma’s class of 2013—has tremendous potential. 

With that said, one of the most exciting prospects to watch next season has to be 2014 5-star running back Joe Mixon:

The Oakley, California, native has wowed scouts with his versatility. He has the quick feet and speed to explode past defenders while having soft hands and great vision to contribute heavily in the passing attack.

Ford may start out as the No. 1 back, but there’s a good chance Mixon might have something to say about that by season’s end.

Alex Ross is another name to keep an eye out for. According to CBSSports.com’s Chip Patterson, this could be the soon-to-be sophomore’s chance to shine.

With little game film available on each of these guys, look for opposing defenses to have trouble slowing them down.

 

All stats, recruiting information and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com and 247Sports.

For complete coverage and everything Oklahoma football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Notre Dame-Florida State Game in 2014 Dubbed 'Catholics vs. Criminoles' by Shirt

An unfortunate incident involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has allowed Notre Dame fans to come up with a nickname for this year's game between the Irish and Seminoles.

Sportscrack.com is selling shirts that dub the game "Catholics vs. Criminoles":

Of course, the shirt references the citation that Winston received for allegedly stealing crab legs from a Florida supermarket. Ever since that incident, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has had to deal with plenty of crab jokes.

The shirt also plays on the "Catholics vs. Convicts" nickname that the 1988 Notre Dame-Miami game had.

Florida State and Notre Dame will face off in Tallahassee in October.

[h/t No Coast Bias and SI's Extra Mustard]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

No. 1 Recruit, Trent Thompson's Visit to USC Makes More Sense Than We Think

The frenzied pursuit of defensive tackle Trent Thompson now truly warrants the phrase "coast-to-coast". A process that long centered on ACC and SEC suitors was effectively shaken up Tuesday when the nation's top-ranked recruit hopped on a plane headed to Los Angeles.

Thompson, a 5-star playmaker from Georgia, is journeying to spend time at USC, reports Kipp Adams of 247Sports. The Trojans are reportedly set to host him until his Thursday departure.

On the surface, it's a seemingly shocking development for a prospect whose top options appeared restricted to the southeast. Thompson's list of favorites hasn't undergone many alterations, topped by his home state's flagship squad.

Earlier this month, Thompson confirmed Georgia remained the favorite during a conversation with Jake Rowe of 247Sports. He listed Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Clemson, in order, as other teams under serious consideration.

USC is clearly the outlier when placed among that collection. The Trojans play more than 2,000 miles away from his hometown and were never previously viewed as a program on Thompson's radar.

This trip deviates from a path that's featured recent visits to Georgia, Alabama and Auburn. With USC thrown in the mix, it's never been more difficult to get a read on where Thompson will do damage at the next level.

However, there's more to his rapport with the Trojans than the allure of a trip to Hollywood. First-year defensive line coach Chris Wilson and Thompson have plenty of history.

The veteran assistant served in the same capacity at Georgia until January, when he accepted a position on Steve Sarkisian's staff. He was part of a tremendous recruiting charge at Thompson during his time with the Bulldogs.

Wilson has already proven his ability to reach back into the Peach State for top-tier talent. He helped USC land 5-star offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Georgia) in April.

247Sports currently ranks Wilson as the No. 1 recruiter among Pac-12 assistant coaches. He probably deserves bonus points for playing a pivotal role in bringing Thompson to town.

Rated the No. 1 prospect in 247Sports' 2015 composite rankings, Thompson tallied 148 tackles and 17 sacks during the past two seasons. He projects as an immediate impact player in college and could challenge for a starting role in 2015 wherever he winds up.

Wilson, now given an opportunity to provide Thompson with yet another sales pitch, is busy reshaping the Trojans defensive front.

He secured a commitment from 4-star tackle Jacob Daniel (Clovis, California) in May. Daniel is rated ninth nationally at the position in 247Sports' composite rankings.

With Thompson on campus, USC has a golden opportunity to continue its journey back to national prominence. The team's 2015 class already includes several standouts aside from Edoga and Daniel, including 5-star quarterback and former Alabama pledge Ricky Town.

USC's ability to coordinate an unexpected visit with the country's top player is a strong sign of where the program is headed under Sarkisian. Meanwhile, expectations in Athens are unlikely to change.

Georgia offered Thompson as a sophomore and hasn't yielded in its pursuit since. Despite being tantalizingly close to a commitment at times, the Bulldogs can only watch as he explores another option.

“Last summer I asked Coach Richt 'how can I commit?',” Thompson told Kipp Adams in March (subscription required). “He said all I have to do is tell him I want to be a Dawg.”

That call hasn't arrived yet for Richt. Despite being the current front-runner, Georgia can't feel great about one of its former coaches recruiting its top target on the other side of the country.

Thompson signing with USC still seems slightly far-fetched, but suddenly, it's a possibility. The top player in America is establishing new relationships in Los Angeles, still more than seven months shy of signing day.

 

Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

No. 1 Recruit, Trent Thompson's Visit to USC Makes More Sense Than We Think

The frenzied pursuit of defensive tackle Trent Thompson now truly warrants the phrase "coast-to-coast"...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Power Ranking USC's Positional Units for 2014

What USC lacks in numbers from three years of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, the Trojans make up for in talent. 

First-year head coach Steve Sarkisian embarks on his debut campaign with a high-potential roster, reminiscent of some of the USC teams of its era of dominance in the 2000s. The offense is built on a multifaceted running game, and all phases of the defense have game-changing playmakers. 

The Trojans also face some uncertainty, the result of their lack of depth. The full burden of NCAA sanctions takes its toll in 2014, which forces some newcomers and reserves to step up into contributing roles immediately. 

Begin Slideshow

Power Ranking USC's Positional Units for 2014

What USC lacks in numbers from three years of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, the Trojans make up for in talent...

Begin Slideshow

Why Florida at Alabama Is a Dark Horse for 2014 SEC Game of the Year

The Iron Bowl? Must-see television. And if you're lucky enough to be able to afford a ticket to the game between Auburn and Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 29, buy one. Or two.

Georgia at South Carolina in Week 3? Sign me up. With the exception of 2012, when it was in the middle of the season, the game routinely establishes the landscape for the SEC East.

Texas A&M at South Carolina on the first Thursday of the season? Absolutely. Life without Johnny Manziel meets life without Jadeveon Clowney in a game that will tell us a lot about both programs.

If you're looking beyond the headlines and want to find that one diamond in the rough that could serve as the dark-horse SEC game of the year, look no further than Florida at Alabama on Sept. 20 in Tuscaloosa.

Yes, Florida was mediocre at best and laughable at worst last year, sputtering to a 4-8 season. And yes, Alabama was a "kick six" away from either pushing the Iron Bowl to overtime or possibly winning it in regulation and taking home the SEC West crown. 

But this game between the Gators and Crimson Tide will serve as a tremendous gauge for both programs. Here's why:

 

What It Means For Florida

Florida's first three games are tune-ups for this big one. Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Kentucky—all in "The Swamp"—should allow new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to fine-tune his offense in game situations leading up to the trip to T-Town.

By the time the Gators face the Crimson Tide, they'll have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't within the new offense. If that means it has evolved into a wide-open attack in which quarterback Jeff Driskel slings it all over the field, then so be it. If the offense has been put on the shoulders of running back Kelvin Taylor and become more of a ground-and-pound no-huddle, fine.

Florida will have an identity at this point, and a win over Alabama would signal that the Gators are, indeed, "back."

But what if Florida loses?

That game kicks off a stretch of five games in which the Gators will travel to Tennessee after a week off, host LSU and Missouri, and then take a week off before traveling to Jacksonville to take on Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (yes, we still call it by its proper name).

If Florida falls to Alabama—and perhaps more importantly, if it's battered and bruised—the game with the Tide could serve as the beginning of the end for head coach Will Muschamp.

 

What It Means For Alabama

This game is huge for Alabama on both sides of the ball.

Transfer quarterback Jacob Coker—the likely starter—is very much a mystery. After three games against lesser opponents West Virginia, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss, he's still going to have a bit of mystery surrounding him, although we will know much more about him over the first three games than we do now.

Say what you will about the Gator offense, but Florida's defense is a different animal. The Gators boast one of the top secondaries in the country, a supremely talented linebacking corps and a front four that can get after the quarterback. 

Coker hasn't seen anything like what Florida is going to bring to the table, save for some "twos vs. ones" while he was serving as Jameis Winston's backup at Florida State. 

We'll know in this game if Coker is the real deal and can lead Alabama back to the division title and beyond.

Defensively, this will be a big test for head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

The Crimson Tide struggled with no-huddle teams with running quarterbacks during the final two games last season. If Driskel can get some help from his receivers, Florida could boast a multi-dimensional no-huddle attack that won't just give Alabama fits, but the rest of the SEC and country.

Fail either or both tests, and Alabama may not live up to expectations. Succeed in both areas, and the Crimson Tide will be nearly unbeatable in 2014.

 

What It Means Nationally

If Florida beats Alabama, it would eliminate any margin for error the Crimson Tide have in the SEC West, elevate Florida into the SEC East and national title discussion and give the the SEC one more true contender for the inaugural College Football Playoff.

If Alabama beats Florida, it would remove any lingering doubts about new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and hurt Muschamp's case to keep his job—especially if Florida looks bad in the process.

If that job opens up, it could have a domino effect throughout all of college football.

Go ahead and get your popcorn ready for all the SEC headliners, but save a bag or two for Florida at Alabama on Sept. 20. It will have a big impact on the entire college football season, even if it isn't the first big-time matchup that comes to mind this year.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com and all schedule information is courtesy of FBSchedules.com.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Ofodile Commits to Oregon: What 4-Star WR Brings to Ducks

Oregon has dipped its hands into the Midwest to land perhaps its biggest recruit of the 2015 recruiting cycle: 4-star wide receiver Alex Ofodile, who committed to the Ducks on Tuesday after taking an unofficial visit to Eugene last Friday.

Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com confirmed the initial reports:

Rivals250 WR Alex Ofodile confirms TV report that he has committed to Oregon. @DucksSportsAuthority

— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) June 24, 2014

Ofodile is a huge get for the Ducks, who have well-documented wide receiver problems in 2014 and could always use more depth in the future. He is the No. 73 overall player and No. 8 wide receiver on the 247Sports Composite; no other top-30 wide receiver has committed to a Pac-12 school.

Although he doesn't fit the archetype of a modern Oregon wide receiver (short, fast, scheme-specific), Ofodile has the physical tools to become a featured weapon in Mark Helfrich and Scott Frost's offense. He checks in at 6'3", 185 pounds, which is rare size on the outside for this scheme, but he also runs an alleged 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.

The Oregon offense is all about scoring quickly and creating long gains. On that front, here is how ESPN Scouts Inc. (subscription required) described Ofodile's big-play ability:

Shows very good short-area quickness to get into open space and get over the top. He is a guy who once is in the open field with a straight line he possesses the ability to build speed and pull away from people. Shows acceleration properties that you don't often see and bigger wide receivers. His combination of size, speed and ability to get away from press coverage makes him a consistent vertical threat. Can play on the inside and outside. Makes a lot of plays from the slot position in a crowd. Will extend in traffic and know he's going to get hit. He's got great toughness. Has a very sound football player that is reliable and at the same time produces a lot of big plays downfield. Is much better after the catch than you might think. Is quick to accelerate, can make the first defender miss and stretch down the sideline.

That is almost a verbatim description of what a receiver must do in this offense. He can play from the outside or the slot, he can get away from press coverage, he can make the first defenders miss and go.

The fact that he stands 6'3" is almost icing on the cake.

Oregon landed another tall receiver this past cycle in 4-star recruit Jalen Brown. Brown stands 6'2" and has a similarly lanky frame to that of Ofodile, but he does not have the same vertical speed. He is more of a possession receiver—a blocker and a red-zone threat.

On top of that, the Ducks have a pair of redshirt freshmen—6'0" track star Devon Allen and 6'2" Darren Carrington—who possess good size and blistering downfield speed. They will both be around until at least 2015 (and likely longer), and B.J. Kelley is another track star who will be a junior in 2014 and should stick around for his final season.

That is the trio Ofodile will compete with for playing time in 2015, while Brown, Dwayne Stanford and Chance Allen compete in a possession-type role. Any way you swing it, Ofodile is coming to a good spot with an opportunity for early playing time but not an expectation for immediate development. This team could use another instant-impact receiver by the 2015 season, but it probably will not need one. 

Even though it was surprising—based on his recruitment and the three Midwestern powers (Missouri, Notre Dame and Oklahoma) so hot on his trail—it is not hard to figure why Ofodile wanted to leave home and head for the Pacific Northwest.

What receiver doesn't want to play at Oregon?

 

Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alex Ofodile Commits to Oregon: What 4-Star WR Brings to Ducks

Oregon has dipped its hands into the Midwest to land perhaps its biggest recruit of the 2015 recruiting cycle: 4-star wide receiver Alex Ofodile , who committed to the Ducks on Tuesday after taking an unofficial visit to Eugene last Friday...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Power Ranking Texas A&M's Positional Units for 2014

The Texas A&M football team will have more talent and depth on the field in 2014 than it did in 2013. The Aggies have multiple positions where their overall depth should lead to improved results on the field in 2014. 

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done a tremendous job of turning over the roster with SEC-level talent. They have recruited consecutivetop-10 classes and stocked the depth chart with players with the requisite size and speed necessary to compete for SEC titles. 

The Aggies have improved depth, but they do not have great depth at every position. There are positions on the roster where there are multiple NFL prospects and other positions where they are struggling to put SEC-level starters on the field. 

This is a look at the positions on the 2014 Aggies football team from the weakest to the strongest. The positions will be judged by overall depth and the presence of high-level players in the starting lineup. 

Begin Slideshow

Insider Buzz: Why 2015 Stud QB Travis Waller Could Start Day 1 for Oregon

The Oregon Ducks are on the hunt for the next star quarterback, and they are hoping to find him in the Class of 2015. According to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian4-Star dual-threat QB Travis Waller recently received an offer from the Ducks. Waller has many similarities to current starter Marcus Mariota.

Will Oregon be able to land the West Coast signal-caller? If it doesn't, where will it go from there?

Watch Adam Lefkoe and Justin Hopkins talk about Oregon's QB future.

 

Highlights Courtesy of XOS Digital

Rankings from 247Sports Composite

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Insider Buzz: Why 2015 Stud QB Travis Waller Could Start Day 1 for Oregon

The Oregon Ducks are on the hunt for the next star quarterback, and they are hoping to find him in the Class of 2015. According to Andrew Greif of The Oregonian , 4-Star dual-threat QB Travis Waller recently received an offer from the Ducks...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Is Steve Spurrier Right? Has Nick Saban Really Underachieved at Alabama?

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is a gem. 

No, he's more than that. He's a national treasure. 

Well, at least if you're a fan of offseason soundbites that create conversation during the slowest time of the college football year.

When discussing his "work smart" approach, which allows Spurrier and his staff more free time than other staffs, with Josh Kendall of The State, the Head Ball Coach took a thinly veiled shot at Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two. He’s won three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.

First and foremost, Spurrier has built two SEC programs into powers, and he's earned the right to say whatever he wants. 

But is he right?

In this instance, not really. 

Winning national titles and SEC championships takes elite talent, fantastic coaching and a lot of luck. In the case of Alabama, and every team in college football, sometimes those pieces don't add up.

Take last year for example.

Cornerback Deion Blue's nagging injury, the revolving door at the other corner spot and injuries and suspensions in the secondary prevented the entire defensive backfield from developing at a level that has become expected in Tuscaloosa. As a result, the Tide were lit up by teams that could pass like Texas A&M and Oklahoma and didn't play disciplined against Auburn—even though the Tigers didn't take advantage of all those opportunities through the air.

Plus, think about where Alabama was when Saban took over. 

The Crimson Tide were wallowing in mediocrity, averaging just 6.5 wins per season from 2003-2006, although 10 of those wins were later vacated. They hadn't won a national title since 1992 before Saban's arrival and hadn't represented the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game since 1999.

It was a program dripping with potential that had lost its way. Essentially, it was Florida when Spurrier took over in 1990.

During Spurrier's run in Florida, he won six SEC titles and one national championship in 12 seasons. Conference titles came easy to him, but national titles did not. Considering the caliber of athlete he was working with in the Sunshine State, it's a comparable resume.

Just because you win the recruiting national championship—something Alabama has done every year since 2011—doesn't mean you should win the actual national championship every year. It means you should contend for it, something Alabama has done every year since 2008, Saban's second year in T-Town.

It's all about perception, and Spurrier knows this.

He knows that Alabama's still the 900-pound gorilla in the SEC West, and any way he can generate either positive buzz for his program or negative buzz for a team within his own division, he's going to do it.

That's what makes Spurrier great. He's going to speak his mind, and even though he's wrong in this instance, he has earned the right to speak his mind.

Never change, Head Ball Coach. Never change.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

What Mammoth 4-Star OL Tyler Carr's Commitment Means for Auburn

Tyler Carr committed to Auburn on Tuesday morning, capping off the latest battle in a continuous turf war between the Tigers and Alabama. The 4-star offensive lineman narrowed his options down to the pair of SEC powerhouses in advance of the announcement:

Carr, a rising senior at Southside High School in Gadsden, Alabama, emerged as a top target for both in-state programs early in the recruiting process. Auburn offered a scholarship last June, while the Crimson Tide extended one in September.

The 6'5", 311-pound prospect collected an expansive list of collegiate choices during the course of his recruitment. Miami, Georgia, Penn State and Florida are just a few of the teams who came up short in their pursuit of the powerful blocker.

Carr commands respect in the run game as a road grader who can clear out rushing lanes in a hurry. His size and strength is apparent, but short-area quickness sets him apart from massive linemen who struggle with coordination.

Auburn gains an athletically-gifted force who physically mauls opponents, but doesn't solely rely on raw power. Carr is precise with his first punch off the snap, swiftly gaining leverage against his defender.

He uses a formidable base to burst through with his lower body while directing traffic and clearing holes. Carr also demonstrates an understanding of when it's time to disengage and get to the second level as a play develops downfield.

Simply put, he's the guy you want to run behind on 4th-and-inches.

Carr, who lined up at left tackle last season, is an explosive downhill blocker but may be best suited for a career at guard in college. He doesn't appear to possess the lateral agility to handle speedy pass-rushers off the edge and could make a more immediate impact by moving inside.

Rated 10th nationally among guard recruits in 247Sports' composite rankings, Carr is the fourth offensive lineman to commit to Auburn's 2015 class. The three others—Kaleb Kim, Bailey Sharp and Marquel Harrell—are each from Georgia.

Carr understood there was some urgency to reach a decision considering the Tigers' stockpile of talent at the position.

"They are only taking five spots and they have three filled," he told John Talty of AL.com earlier this month. "It's getting nitty-gritty. They said if that's where I want to be, I shouldn't wait too long."

Carr elected to make the call early this summer, rather than wait for others to fill the Auburn bandwagon. The Tigers hold 16 commitments in a class that rates sixth nationally in 247Sports' composite team rankings.

Auburn now awaits an announcement from in-state tight end Jalen Harris, who is scheduled to choose either Auburn, Alabama LSU, Miami or Vanderbilt Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

 

Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M 2016 Commit OL Greg Little Will Be Future NFL 1st-Rounder for Aggies

Greg Little is considered the top recruit in the 2016 class. His massive size and technique are just a few attributes that have all the top programs drooling. Little recently committed to Texas A&M, giving the team a huge win in the recruiting game.

The Aggies hope that Little can follow in the footsteps of many previous offensive tackles who come through College Station. How big of a get was this for A&M?

Watch College Football Analyst Michael Felder break down this future Aggie.

 

Highlights Courtesy of XOS Digital.

Rankings from 247Sports' composite rankings.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages