Nick Saban has strong opinion on UCF’s claim to national title

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast with Ryan Fowler. In this edition, we talked with analyst Adam Kramer about Alabama and college football headlines. Also, Nick Saban shares some strong opinions on UCF.  

Topics discussed:

Nick Saban takes a shot, via USA Today, at UCF’s claim to the 2017 national title.Adam Kramer is a college football analyst for Bleacher Report. He shares his thoughts on the latest headlines surrounding the Crimson Tide.Kramer talks about the No. 1 conversation in Tuscaloosa, which is how the quarterback competition will be settled.How will Saban manage to keep both quarterbacks on campus?Kramer talks about the U.S. Supreme Court decision involving sports gambling and how it will impact college football.We ask Kramer whether Kirby Smart and Georgia are here to stay at the top of college football, and their chances to become a consistent threat to the Crimson Tide.The Alabama Crimson Tide podcast on Tuesday featured former Tide offensive lineman William Barger.

Miss a previous edition? Find every episode of SEC Country’s daily Alabama Crimson Tide podcast right here.

NEXT Nick Saban comments on possibility of playing two-quarterback system

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Nick Saban talks SEC grad transfer rule, competing against friends

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Alabama football: Kickoff time for Alabama-Louisville announced

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Kickoff time for Alabama football vs. Louisville in the 2018 season opener has been announced.

The Crimson Tide and Cardinals are set to square off at 7 p.m. CT on ABC, the network announced Wednesday.

The two squads will play at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, September 1.

Alabama and Louisville will be meeting for the fourth time in program history with the Crimson Tide holding a 2-1 edge in the series. The last meeting took place in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., after the Crimson Tide swept two games from the Cardinals in the 1976 and 1977 seasons.

Louisville won’t have former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson so it’s unclear how much buzz there will be around this game.

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Nick Saban slights UCF over national champions claim

UCF has been spending the entire offseason celebrating its perfect season in college football, even calling themselves national champions. Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide won the national championship, and he thinks that needs to be respected.

Saban spoke with USA Today Sports about the matter and slighted UCF for celebrating despite not winning the playoff.

“If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn’t do something out of respect for the system that we have,” Saban told USA Today Sports. “I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

Saban said he respected UCF and their accomplishments, but he made the point to say that they didn’t win the playoff.

The topic has been debated at times during the offseason with even some Tide players taking shots at UCF. Recently former UCF coach Scott Frost said he wouldn’t have gotten behind all the national champions claims had he remained at the school instead of leaving for Nebraska.

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Nick Saban shades Central Florida over 'self proclaimed' national title

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Central Florida Knights’ football program continues to proclaim iself as the true reigning national champions following an undefeated 2017 season.

It’s a whole new level of absurd, including the Knight actually hanging a national tittle banner inside Spectrum Stadium.

For the first time, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is speaking out on the topic. As the actual defending champs, he has every right to be a bit upset over what has been a gimmicky offseason in Orlando.

Saban also didn’t hold back in his contempt for UCF.

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Nation’s No. 2 QB Harrison Bailey talks Alabama, upcoming decision

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with one of Alabama’s top 2020 quarterback targets. 

MARIETTA, Ga. — Harrison Bailey spent three hours at a 10-year-old’s birthday party last year. Bailey had no relationship whatsoever to the kid. A woman asked Marietta coach Rich Morgan if Bailey could come to his party because her son was enamored with the star high school quarterback.

Without question, Bailey went to the party and hung out with the birthday boy and all of his friends.

“That’s the type of kid he is,” Morgan told SEC Country. “He does anything to help other people. You are getting someone who is great on and off the field and a great leader. He’s really the whole package. He’s a great fit for anybody.”

Bailey, one of Alabama’s top quarterback targets in the 2020 class, is likely going to wrap up his recruitment by the middle of the 2018 season. The main reason why has nothing to do with himself. It has everything to do with his teammates and community.

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Alabama QB commit Paul Tyson receives invite to Elite 11

Alabama will have not one, but two, 2019 uarterback commits taking part in the prestigious Elite 11. Paul Tyson earned an invitation on Tuesday. He will join Taulia Tagovailoa as Crimson Tide representatives at the event.

Tyson, the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, is a 4-star recruit from Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Ala. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound Tyson is the eighth-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2019 signing class. He committed to the Crimson Tide on April 5.

As a junior in 2017, Tyson threw for 3,392 yards, tallying 36 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

NEXT Nick Saban on UCF’s national title claim: ‘Self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it’

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Nick Saban on UCF’s national title claim: ‘Self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it’

One of the stories of the college football offseason has been the legitimacy of Alabama’s national title, at least in the eyes of UCF and its fans. The Knights went unbeaten and beat the only team that beat the Tide last season, Auburn. UCF’s fans and its athletic director have been quite vocal about the Knights being national champs. But now, Alabama coach Nick Saban has weighed in on the matter.

In speaking with USA Today’s George Schroeder, Saban admitted that there were some “imperfections” in the College Football Playoff system. And he did recognize the significance of going undefeated. But saying UCF is a national champion is a bit much, he added.

“I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything,” Saban told Schroeder. “But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

Former UCF coach Scott Frost also previously told Schroeder that, “the playoff system is that the national champion is the team that wins the playoff.”

Frost also wasn’t thrilled that the rings the team got for beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl said national champions and not Peach Bowl champs. Frost took a job at Nebraska after UCF’s unbeaten season. He was replaced by former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

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Football that President Trump signed during Alabama’s visit caused strange confusion in White House

President Trump met with Alabama players and coaches as part of the Crimson Tide’s visit to the White House in April. Turns out, there’s a lingering mystery involving a football that Trump signed during the event.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a football Trump signed after meeting coach Nick Saban and others in the Oval Office mysteriously floated around the White House following the Crimson Tide’s departure from Washington, per Politico’s Annie Karni and Matthew Nussbaum. According to the report, the day of Alabama’s visit, then-White House staffer Cliff Sims dropped off the then-unsigned football with another staffer during Sims’ unannounced visit to the Oval Office. Sims explained that the item, when signed by Trump, was for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey at the request of the university.

Later, the ball somehow ended up on the desk of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who reportedly became frustrated and brought Sims into his office to seek answers about the football and Sims’ unannounced Oval Office visit. Sims, who reportedly accepted a position as an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, supposedly told co-workers he had received permission from the White House counsel’s office to have the football signed but never handled it again after dropping it off. Other staffers reportedly said they saw the item in Sims’ office after the Crimson Tide departed from Washington.

The Alabama governor’s office didn’t respond to a request from Karni and Nussbaum to clarify whether the football had been received. It’s reported that it’s possible the football “may still be floating around somewhere in the White House.”

Of course, this is a trivial issue. But it’s an interesting, if not a little bizarre, behind-the-scenes look at a small slice of Alabama’s visit that day.

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Now that Alabama has offered Auburn WR commit, can Tide flip him?

Alabama is off to an excellent recruiting start, and you should expect the Crimson Tide to continue its success. SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day each weekday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.

George Pickens, a 4-star wide receiver from Hoover (Ala.) High School, was offered by Alabama on Monday night. I am surprised it took the Crimson Tide this long to offer him because he has been exceptional on the camp scene this year. But I was told that the reason why it did take so long is because Alabama wanted to see Pickens perform in person first. He camped last summer in Tuscaloosa but wasn’t quite ready at the time. He has improved his game since then and once wide receivers coach Josh Gattis saw him live, Pickens was offered.

Pickens, who committed to Auburn in July 2017, has taken visits elsewhere, but that is expected to end. The 6-foot-5, 199-pound prospect took a visit to Auburn a few weeks ago where he joined Tigers quarterback commit Bo Nix and two other priority targets that Auburn is pursuing.

On that trip, according to our Auburn recruiting reporter Benjamin Wolk, the coaching staff asked Pickens to stop visiting other programs because they view him as one of their centerpieces of the 2019 class. This request was also communicated with his mother, who was also on the trip. Both Pickens and his mother agreed to not visit any other programs, according to Wolk.

Plans in recruiting change all of the time, so it’s not out of the question that Pickens does end up visiting Alabama at some point; however, I have been of the belief that the Crimson Tide are just too late in the game to flip him.

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Alabama men’s golf ties for second-round lead at NCAA Stockton Regional

Freshman Wilson Furr had a blistering stretch of birding six of seven holes on the back nine to finish minus-8 as the University of Alabama men’s golf team moved into a tie for the lead of the Stockton Regional on Tuesday.

The No. 7 Crimson Tide finished the second round at -14, along with unranked unranked Iowa State, one shot ahead of No. 43 Kansas State.

No. 18 Stanford was -8, and No. 31 TCU -7, and poised to go into the final round with a small cushion over the field.

The top five teams from the three-day regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., on May 25-30. Among those in danger of having their season end including No. 6 LSU (even-par) and No. 19 Southern California (+3).

As a team, Alabama had the low score Tuesday, -8 on the par-72 course, The Reserve at Spanos Park in California.

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AL.com All-Access: Who is your favorite college football player ever?

Today’s question is a simple one: who is our favorite college football player of all-time?Original link
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Ranking 10 likeliest commitments for Alabama football in 2019 class

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with the 10 likeliest commitments for Alabama. 

The likeliest commitments for Alabama in 2019 class 

Alabama has 12 commitments and the nation’s No. 1 class for the 2019 recruiting cycle. I expect the Crimson Tide to have the No. 1 class come February when National Signing Day is over.

These are the players I am most confident in picking the Tide when they make their decisions (from most likely to least likely).

If you read SEC Country’s feature story on Will Reichard last Friday, you’ll understand why family is so important to him. Because of Alabama’s proximity to his home, the Crimson Tide should land Reichard’s commitment when he makes his decision before May 24. He also doesn’t care about Joseph Bulovas’ excellent performance during the A-Day game, so that is something to note, too.

He thinks Jeff Banks is the best special teams coordinator in college football. When you add all that up, Reichard is a clear pick to choose the Tide.

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Alabama men’s golf shoots back nine at -8, in third at Stockton Regional

The University of Alabama men’s golf team made a charge on the back nine of The Reserve at Spanos Park in California to finish the first round of the Stockton Regional in third place at 6-under par Monday.

After getting a feel for the par-72 course on the first nine holes, the entire Crimson Tide team shot 10-under (-8 for the top four scorers that counted toward the overall score) over the final nine.

“Getting off to a solid start in the first round at an NCAA Regional is pivotal, and at the end of the day, that’s exactly what we did,” Alabama coach Jay Seawell said in a release. “I thought we did a great job on the back nine and made a lot of birdies. I’m proud of how we responded after a somewhat slow start and it turned the momentum around in our favor. There’s not a lot of movement when you get to regionals, so we just need to do this same thing each day we are out here.”

Senior Jonathan Hardee got hot with birdies on holes 12-16 to shoot Alabama’s low round of the day at -4. Freshman Davis Shore was right behind him at -3, with junior Davis Riley at even, freshman Wilson Furr at +1 and senior Lee Hodges at +3.

Individually, Hardee was tied for fifth, one stroke off the lead, with Shore tied for 8th.

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The latest on Alabama’s chances with nation’s No. 1 ILB Nakobe Dean

Alabama is off to an excellent recruiting start, and you should expect the Crimson Tide to continue its success. SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner will answer the Recruiting Question of the Day each weekday. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or on Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers here.

Nakobe Dean, the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2019 class from Horn Lake (Miss.) High School, has Alabama as one of his top schools. But there are numerous schools still in the mix for Dean, such as Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Stanford.

Dean’s recruitment is wide open, according to multiple sources I have spoken with in the past few weeks.

Alabama is one of his top schools out of that group if we follow the visits. He’s been to Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss the most. His brother currently attends Ole Miss, and he’s visited that school more than Bama and LSU. However, Dean is adamant that it won’t play any factor.

Depth charts also will not factor in Dean’s decision. He told SEC Country that he knows he must work to start at whichever school he attends. Inside linebacker is one of the Tide’s biggest needs after signing only one prospect in the 2018 class.

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Danny Sheridan on state-sanctioned sports gambling: ‘Alabama is pathetically in the dark ages’

Sports handicapper Danny Sheridan rails on college football and NFL, saying they are a “bunch of prostitutes,” while the state of Alabama is “backward because of the people we have elected” when it comes to gambling.

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Mark Ingram Sr. could be headed back to prison

Former NFL wide receiver Mark Ingram Sr. could be sent back to federal prison after a parole-violation hearing on May 22.Original link
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Calvin Ridley taking advantage of flexibility with Atlanta Falcons

A new number, less rigid dress rules and a wider range of positions are some of the things that greeted former Alabama standout Calvin Ridley at his first NFL practice.Original link
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Could Jalen Hurts transfer to another SEC school?

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The college football world has been abuzz since Jalen Hurts was benched in the national title game, sat in favor of true freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who looked like the superior passer in that game by far. The future of Hurts at Alabama not surprisingly as a result has become uncertain.

As it stands, there has not been a starter named for Alabama yet — but Tagovailoa looked a lot sharper in spring practice and looks to be the favorite for the job. That being said, if Hurts were to lose the starting job and transfer, he would be one of the most sought-after transfer quarterbacks in quite some time.

Amid the schools that could be in the running, how would the Florida Gators look as a fit?

Mullen had a front row seat to Hurts at his best, when the sophomore led the Tide to a comeback win over Mississippi State last season, easily the Tide’s best win of the regular season and a huge reason Alabama was able to win Nick Saban a sixth national championship.

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Dabo Swinney downplays talk of succeeding Nick Saban at Alabama

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Someday Nick Saban will no longer be the coach at Alabama, and many have already talked about Clemson’s Dabo Swinney succeeding him in Tuscaloosa.

Swinney knows the talk is out there, but he’s not particularly eager to entertain it. In fact, the one-time Crimson Tide assistant did not sound like a guy eager to leave a successful program at Clemson to take on the sky-high expectations at Alabama.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re behind Nick or not at Alabama,” Swinney said, via Chris Low of ESPN. “Listen, I spent 13 years there, so I get it. I know exactly what that mentality is and something I’ve tried to always fight here. You don’t see that anywhere in our building, that it’s national championship or bust. Our team goals are to win the opener, win the division, win the state championship, win the conference and win the closer."

“Now, hopefully, this will be a job that will be hard on the next guy because we’ve created a standard. That’s what you want. You want to take over a job that has a winning tradition, has high expectations and has everybody fully invested. To me, I’d rather have that than take over a program that everybody is fired for a reason. We have all that and then some right here at Clemson.”

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