Why we needed the Kick Six

This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but when Alabama football went down to Jordan-Hare and was shocked by a near-improbable play that immediately went down in the annals of sports history, a chain of events was set in motion that led us to this moment. It was a blessing, you know. […] Alabama Football: Why we needed the Kick Six - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Most compelling matchups in college football Week 13

Rivalries galore dominate the storylines in Week 13’s edition of the most compelling matchups across the college football landscape.

There are several games where the top teams in the College Football Playoff hierarchy are in danger of toppling. While some upsets are far likelier than others, the raw emotion and competitive fire associated with these guaranteed annual meetings create an intangible X-factor where, frankly, anything is possible.

All of this makes these forthcoming matchups all the more tantalizing to dive into.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State

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How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide

Iron Bowl expectations are heavily leaned towards an Alabama football blowout. However, I expect this Auburn team to use a gameplan that has shown effectiveness against the Tide this season. What if I told you that the teams that had the most success against Alabama football this year ran the football? It would be surprising […] Alabama Football: How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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10 college football teams no one wants to face during bowl season

In about a month, bowl season will start in college football with the lower-profile games between less successful but still bowl-eligible squads. Every team has two games at most before the bowl slate is set, and some teams are playing so well right now that potential bowl rivals are kind of hoping that things work out so they can avoid that foe.

Which are the teams playing so well right now that nobody is going to want to face them in December and January? Some are obvious, and some are lesser-known. For some, they have a difficult style of play to game plan for, while others are simply going to have a huge chip on their shoulder. Here are 10 teams that are very much going to cause some trouble for someone in bowl season.

10. Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines are deserved favorites as they head to Columbus for the biggest game of their season, and as long as Jim Harbaugh beats Urban Meyer for the first time in the rivalry, they should see off Northwestern and make the Playoff. It’s far from a foregone conclusion — rivalry games are tough, especially on the road — but few teams are playing better than the Wolverines. They boast an exceptional defense and finally seem to have the offense capable of carrying them. Ask Penn State how their trip to Ann Arbor went — a 35-point loss. If they make the playoff, they’ll be a popular dark horse to win it.

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Nick Saban thinks he knows cause of Iron Bowl issues

Nick Saban has only lost 20 games during his 12-year coaching career at Alabama, and 20 percent of them have come to rival Auburn.

The Crimson Tide have gone 7-4 in the Iron Bowl under Saban. This year, the Tide are favored by more than three touchdowns against their rivals. Regardless of the point spread, anything can happen in the game, as Saban knows well from 'Kick Six' in 2013.

So what is it about the game that leads to the inconsistencies in play? Saban believes emotions overcome players, leading to mental mistakes:

The key for Bama is keeping their emotions in check so they don’t commit those mental errors. The Tide enter Saturday’s Iron Bowl 11-0 and on their way to a 15-0 season perhaps. This is looking like it may go down as Saban’s best team at Alabama ever, and one of the best college football teams ever.

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Players who will define Rivalry Week

The one week a year with the power to stir the soul of even the most apathetic college football fan is here—at long last, we’ve reached Rivalry Week. It’s thrilling when the matchups come with postseason implications, but the stakes feel high regardless. For the players, it’s a chance to perform in a way that will resonate for years to come. We’re highlighting the athletes whose names could very well be synonymous with their respective rivalries when we look back on 2018.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

We’ll start with the obvious, cause heck, the Tide’s sophomore signal-caller seems to be defining the whole season. In a world where the Bama defense is typically the team’s calling card and the quarterback position is something of an afterthought (Jake Coker, anyone?), Tagovailoa has been busy rewriting the school record books and could become the first Alabama QB to win a Heisman trophy. Stranger things have happened in the Iron Bowl, but with an Auburn squad that’s essentially irrelevant this season, Tagovailoa appears poised to shine in his first rivalry game as starter.

TaQuon Marshall, QB, Georgia Tech

While we were all wondering what happened to Bryce Love and the Stanford ground game, the Yellow Jackets were quietly racking up enough rush yards per game to lead the nation. That’s largely thanks to the scrambling quarterback tandem of Marshall and fellow part-time starter Tobias Oliver, who are one and two, respectively, on the team in rushing. While Marshall is inconsistent as a passer, he should be able to take full advantage of Georgia’s rather porous run defense. After all, what’s a better motivator than spoiling Playoff dreams?

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College football pick-six: Is Urban Meyer on the brink? Are Notre Dame and Michigan the wrong types of playoff teams? Will Colorado ever be good again?

Cliched storyline of the week

Back in the early 1950s, the best college football coach in America was a man named Frank Leahy. Leahy, the head coach at Notre Dame, was an offensive savant and a rampant perfectionist, and his record over the course of a decade at Notre Dame (with a respite for World War II in between) was mind-blowing: 87 wins, 11 losses, nine ties and four national championships. But then, in 1953 at halftime of a game against Georgia Tech, Leahy collapsed in the locker room.

It turned out that he was struck with both pancreatitis and nervous tension. But it was so bad at the moment that a priest actually administered Leahy the last rites. He retired at the end of that 1953 season after going 9-0-1, and he never coached again.

And that brings me to this:

What we know is that Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has a cyst on his brain that leads to terrible headaches. What we know is that given Meyer’s suspension earlier this year for his handling of the firing of former assistant Zach Smith, this has been Meyer's most stressful season since he arrived at Ohio State. And what we know is that he quit his last job at Florida because of a pattern of self-destructive anxiety.

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Heisman hopefuls: Week 12

A week before championships and rivalries are played, the nation's top players continue to jostle for position to be considered for the Heisman Trophy. The field for the finalists is nearly set, but there is still plenty of time for these productive ballers to create separation from the rest of the field or make up some ground. All of these players helped their teams to wins with big numbers this past weekend, and being part of a successful team could be the difference in where they finish in the race for the most sought-after trophy in the sport.

Here are the five players who proved in their latest games that they were worthy of the Heisman.

Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes 

Talk about a close call. The Ohio State Buckeyes escaped Annapolis with a hotly contested overtime win over Maryland, powered by the arms and legs of Dwayne Haskins.

The sophomore quarterback picked the Terps apart with his passing, finishing with 405 yards and three touchdowns. That’s supposed to happen. What wasn’t expected was Haskins finishing with 15 rushes for 59 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.

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Alabama RB Damien Harris leaves game with injury after 73-yard run

Damien Harris ripped off the longest run of the season for Alabama on Saturday, going 73 yards and rousing the home crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Then, just as suddenly, everyone went absolutely quiet, because Harris remained on the ground with an injury.

Harris had landed hard on his shoulder, and it was a scary scene because he wasn’t moving for a while. Thankfully, he did get up after being attended to and jogged off the field.

Not long afterward, he walked into the locker room for further evaluation and treatment.

Harris is the best running back on ‘Bama’s roster, and the Crimson Tide will be hard pressed to replace what he can do if he does have to miss time. Though he’s been utilized sparingly, the senior has seven touchdowns on the ground.

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The Citadel trolls 'Bama on Twitter after scoring TD

Alabama is overwhelmingly the best team in the nation and has somehow gotten even better defensively since the start of November.

Both LSU and Mississippi State were shut out by the Crimson Tide, which touted that achievement on Twitter during the week as the team prepared to host The Citadel.

Well, as the old saying goeth, “pride cometh before a fall.”

The Citadel stunned ‘Bama early on Saturday, holding the Crimson Tide scoreless most of the first quarter. This development alone sparked a Twitter frenzy as folks mocked ‘Bama.

Then, the ultimate shocker. The Citadel scored a touchdown to tie the game up.

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Alabama Football: The good, not so good and the bad against Missouri

Alabama football continued its championship march Saturday night against Missouri. Check out the good, not so good and the bad in the game. When other championship contenders faltered Saturday, Alabama football continued its winning ways, beating Missouri 39-10. Overall the win was The Crimson Tide’s most impressive of the season. Let’s review the game by […] Alabama Football: The good, not so good and the bad against Missouri - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Nick Saban dismisses concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s knee injury

Nick Saban dismissed concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s knee injury following Alabama’s win over Missouri on Saturday.

Tagovailoa threw for three touchdowns in Bama’s 39-10 victory over the Tigers. However, he left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Jalen Hurts took over as the Tide’s quarterback and went 7-of-8 for 115 yards, leading the team on one touchdown drive.

After the game, Saban was asked about Tagovailoa’s status and did not seem concerned.

“Tua’s okay, he had the same injury he had before. We just didn’t put him back in the game,” Saban told ESPN after the game.

Saban also said that Tagovailoa could have gone back into the game but they did not feel it was worth it.

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Top takeaways from college football Week 7

Four top-10 teams lost on Saturday. Yeah, college football Week 7 was absolutely bonkers, as upsets and crazy situations unfolded around the nation.

In addition to the huge upsets, we saw two teams brawl, two head coaches go at it from their sidelines and one of the best players in the nation exit his game with an injury.

Those are just some of the things we’re looking at as we survey the biggest happenings in Week 7.

Second-half surge keeps Ohio State perfect

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Tua Tagovailoa exits in third quarter with apparent leg injury

Tua Tagovailoa took off on a scramble in the third quarter as Alabama hosted Missouri Saturday night, and after he slid on the turf, he stayed down.

As Tagovailoa was attended to by trainers, his right leg was being looked at. Thankfully after a few minutes of being examined, he was able to jog off the field under his own power.

Jalen Hurts came into the game to replace Tagovailoa, who had already thrown for 265 yards and three touchdowns, including an 81-yard bomb on the game’s second play from scrimmage.

After Tagovailoa exited the game, he went into the medical tent for further treatment.

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This stat illustrates how dominant Alabama's offense has been

Everyone knows the Alabama Crimson Tide are the best team in the country. However, we sometimes miss just how dominant this team is. One shocking statistic captures Alabama’s excellence perfectly.

Many fans may not be familiar with Skyler DeLong, and for good reason. He is Alabama’s punter. But after drilling six punts on Sept. 22 against Texas A&M, he hasn’t taken the field to punt since.

Perhaps Alabama’s offense felt bad he needed to punt six times in the win over Texas A&M. If so, they’ve now provided him with several weeks of rest and relaxation while the freshman punter gets to sit back and enjoy his free sideline passes with Alabama.

The Crimson Tide are rolling on Saturday against Missouri. Meanwhile, they face the Tennessee Volunteers next Saturday. If the streak continues over the next two weeks, we may not see DeLong until November.

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Watch: Tua Tagovailoa shreds Mizzou with 81-yard TD on second play from scrimmage

Tua Tagovailoa is the deadliest passer in the nation. He’s proved that time and time again already this season, and once again on Saturday he put points on the board in no time flat.

On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Tagovailoa hit Jerry Jeudy on an 81-yard touchdown strike to put the Crimson Tide up 7-0.

Drew Lock quickly threw an interception, and ‘Bama put another three points on the board four plays later.

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Tua Tagovailoa dealing with sprained knee

Tua Tagovailoa is not completely healthy for Alabama, though you wouldn’t know it by his play.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said on Wednesday that Tagovailoa is dealing with a sprained knee, but still took every rep at practice ahead of Saturday’s game against Missouri.

Tagovailoa is having a brilliant season for Alabama. He’s completed 75.2 percent of his passes for 1,495 yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He’s also rushed for two scores.

The sophomore has been so good that he’s only attempted more than 19 passes in a game once. The rest of the time he’s helped the Tide build such a big lead early on that Jalen Hurts has come in after him and has almost half as many pass attempts this season. There’s a good reason Tagovailoa is our midseason Heisman Trophy winner.

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Tua Tagovailoa, Dwayne Haskins talk every week

Two of the best quarterbacks in college football also happen to be pretty good friends.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins are the leaders of their respective teams and likely to be Heisman Trophy finalists. They have their teams undefeated and potentially headed for the College Football Playoff. And according to Buckeyes site Eleven Warriors, Tua and Haskins communicate with each other weekly.

“We sent each other scriptures before the game on Saturday, just send out blessings to each other,” Haskins said on Tuesday, via Eleven Warriors.

The two met at various prospect camps and became good friends at the Elite 11 camp for the top quarterback prospects in the nation. As of a year ago, the two were relatively unknown on a national level, but that all changed when both stepped into the second half of huge games. Haskins helped Ohio State beat rival Michigan in relief of JT Barrett, while Tagovailoa came in for the second half of the national championship game and beat Georgia.

From the Elite 11 camp to the Heisman and potentially the NFL, we’re guessing the two will end up seeing each other many more times throughout their careers.

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College football pick-six: Alabama is a foregone conclusion, but let us remain hopeful

A weekly journey through the vast landscape of college football, along with a few brief asides.

Cliched Storyline of the Week

Argh, fine. Let’s just go over this Alabama thing again, because it appears the Crimson Tide, after last Saturday’s thrashing of Arkansas, have truly achieved such a level of eff-you success that their only legitimate threat is emanating from within. Nick Saban has slowly morphed from perfectionist into aging busybody; his postgame chats now often sound "like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli."

It’s nothing new to pose the crucial question of college football’s midseason like so: Is there anyone capable of defeating Alabama? The only good news about last weekend’s results is that Texas’ defeat of Oklahoma cracked open the firmament just enough to allow us to foment "The Argument" that tends to define every college football season at roughly its midway point. Like: Maybe someone new can come along and defeat Alabama?

At this point, most of the arguments against Alabama — like the notion that its historic offensive numbers are being achieved against the equivalent of upper-tier high school talent — are, even if vaguely true, informed by patently idiotic talk radio chatter. Alabama’s offense is putting up numbers so historic that just reading about them makes me feel like I’ve been slipped peyote. Given the overarching uncertainty of the SEC beyond its top two, and given the sudden malaise that’s settled like a haze of Charmin over Toomer’s Corner, the remainder of the Tide's regular-season schedule feels more like a foregone conclusion than perhaps for any college football team I’ve ever witnessed.

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Nick Saban has great response to silly question about scoring so quickly

Nick Saban was asked a very silly question on Monday during his press conference, and his response to it was about as Saban as it gets.

The Alabama head coach was at the podium when a reporter pointed to three scoring drives that occurred in under a minute (like this one).

Then the reporter asked, “How hard is it to manage the offense when it does score so quickly, especially from a defensive standpoint? And how do you try to manage that throughout the game?”

Grinning, Saban said, “I don’t think anyone wants to apologize for scoring. So, we’re not going to do that.”

What a ridiculous question.

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