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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

College Football

Nick Saban says Alabama lost its ‘humility’ after blowing out LSU

Nick Saban

The way Alabama lost to Clemson in the national championship game earlier this year may have been shocking to most, but Nick Saban knew from early November on that an outcome like that was possible.

In a recent interview with Greg McElroy of SEC Network, Saban said the Crimson Tide were distracted after blowing No. 3-ranked LSU out 29-0 on Nov. 2, and the team lost its “humility.”

“From the LSU game on last year, I (think) we lost our humility, which can create a little complacency and a blatant disregard for doing what’s right,” Saban said.

“We had a lot of internal distractions from people in terms of, ‘Am I going out for the draft or am I taking another job?’ It was a little disappointing that we couldn’t keep it together. Obviously my responsibility is to keep everybody up to snuff in all those areas. But I think sometimes when you lose, people are much more willing to say, okay I’m going to look in the mirror now and what is the truth about what we did or didn’t do.”

Saban does everything he can to prevent his teams from becoming complacent, and that’s why he has described the media as “rat poison” for his players. He believes when college athletes constantly hear about how good they are, they start to believe it and lose their edge. Alabama was undefeated heading into the title game against Clemson last year, so it’s no surprise he believes the media hype became an issue.

At one point last year, Saban was so concerned about his players having inflated egos that he openly asked the media to talk about the team’s flaws more. He probably wishes the Tide would have lost a game sooner so he could have used it as motivation.

Watch: Shane McMahon butchers Jim Harbaugh’s name at Ohio State

Jim Harbaugh headset

Shane McMahon had the right idea for how to rile up Ohio State fans when WWE Smackdown traveled to Columbus on Tuesday night, but his execution left a lot to be desired.

During his appearance at the live event inside Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center, McMahon did his best to draw boos from the audience by telling Roman Reigns he doesn’t have time to deal with him because he needs to get on his private jet to fly to Michigan and visit with coach Jim Harbaugh. At least, that’s what McMahon was trying to say.

If Buckeyes fans heard McMahon properly, they probably would have cheered the fact that he butchered the rival coach’s name so badly. Good effort, Shane.

LB recruit Drew Sanders flips from Oklahoma to Alabama

Alabama logo

Alabama secured a commitment from a major prospect and got him to switch allegiances in the process.

Linebacker Drew Sanders announced on Twitter Monday that he was committing to Alabama and ending his recruitment.

Sanders had previously been committed to Oklahoma, but he took an official visit to Tuscaloosa over the weekend and decided to make a change. He shared on Twitter Jan. 31 that he had been offered a scholarship by the Crimson Tide.

Sanders, who is from Denton, Texas, is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 16 recruit in the nation.

Clemson makes Dabo Swinney highest-paid coach in college football

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney is committing to Clemson long-term, and he’s getting a huge payday to do it.

The school announced Friday that Swinney has signed a new contract with the school that will keep him in place through 2028.

According to FOX Sports’s Bruce Feldman, the deal is for ten years and a whopping $93 million, making Swinney the highest-paid coach in college football.

Among active coaches, only Nick Saban has had comparable success to Swinney in terms of championships. He’s been so successful, in fact, that he’s long been rumored to be a potential replacement for Saban when he retires, but Swinney has downplayed that. Maybe it still happens, but Clemson clearly won’t be losing him on account of not paying him enough money.

Dwayne Haskins breaks incredible Big Ten streak after going in first round

Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins going 15th overall to the Washington Redskins was a great moment for him personally, but also a pretty nice one for the Big Ten.

Though the conference has produced its share of talented quarterbacks over the last two and a half decades, the Ohio State star became the first Big Ten quarterback to be selected in the first round since 1995, when the Carolina Panthers made Penn State’s Kerry Collins the fifth overall pick.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson all came from Big Ten schools, but none were first round selections. It’s a rather surprising stat when you consider all that talent, so the pressure is on Haskins to live up to it from an even greater draft position.

Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts has great reaction to Kyler Murray going first overall

Jalen Hurts

Kyler Murray helped Oklahoma make history on Thursday night when the Sooners became the first team in history to have back-to-back No. 1 overall draft picks at the same position, and Jalen Hurts is hoping to put that record even further out of reach in 2020.

Hurts decided to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma earlier this year, and he is the favorite to earn the starting job for the Sooners next season. After the Arizona Cardinals took Murray with the first overall pick in the draft, Hurts had a great reaction.

While Hurts may not end up being the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, he is certainly in good hands under Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma. It’s no coincidence that Baker Mayfield and Murray both won the Heisman Trophy, and we saw what Hurts was capable of at Alabama. He has the experience and talent needed to step in and put up huge numbers in Riley’s offense.

Riley recently made it seem like Hurts is not a lock to win the starting job, but it would be a surprise if redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai beat him out. If Hurts is already thinking about being the top pick in the draft, Riley has to love the ambition.

Dabo Swinney defends difficulty of Clemson’s schedule

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney defended Clemson’s schedule against those who say it’s not very challenging.

Swinney spoke this week at the College Football Hall of Fame where he was accepting the NFF MacArthur Bowl on behalf of the national champs. He was asked about the Tigers’ schedule for 2019, which is ranked by ESPN as the 56th toughest among FBS teams. He disagreed with a reporter who characterized the ACC as not very competitive.

“I couldn’t disagree more with how you phrased the question. There’s no lack of competition in our league,” Swinney said in a YouTube video posted by Clemson Insider, as transcribed by Saturday Down South. “There’s a reason we’ve won two out of the last three national championships and it’s not because we don’t play anybody. We’ve played everybody. We’ve played Alabama three times in national championships. We’ve played Ohio State, Oklahoma, we play Texas A&M, we play South Carolina every year.

“Our league, I think we had 11 bowl teams this year, 10 the year before, 11 the year before that. Our league is incredibly competitive and deep.”

Few believe the competition in the ACC matches the level in the SEC, but there’s no doubt Clemson has proven itself to be a class above the rest of its conference and pretty much every other team in college football lately, aside from Alabama. And while they cannot help how strong the rest of the ACC is, they do face South Carolina and Texas A&M non-conference, so they’re certainly not hiding from the tough teams. And why should they? They have a great young roster and are favored to reach the CFP title game yet again.

This sort of line of questioning is nothing new for Swinney, who spent time last year defended the team’s schedule as well.