C’mon You’re Better Than That!

Matt Cassista

Matt Cassista

Recent reports have spotted notorious fuck-up Lane Kiffin inside Alabama camp and he has now taken over the newly vacated offensive coordinator position now that Nussmeier has packed his bags and headed to Michigan. After a month of circle-jerking with Saban about how the organization can move forward, Kiffin landed the position. Nick Saban is extremely thrilled about the landing of Kiffin, as he is capable of bringing a pro-style offense to the team and as recent years (and drafts) has shown us, Saban does his best attempt to be a NFL team on the college level. The two side-by-side should lead to another dominate year for the Crimson Tide who more than likely will be the favorite to the lead the polls come next season.

Here’s the problem with this new coaching staff change, on paper it sounds amazing to find an available guy who has coached on the NFL stage to come run your offense. But Kiffin’s a whole-nother animal. Kiffin doesn’t generally play well with others and often puts his name in the lime light when it has no business to be there. Most coaches aspire to be head coaches, especially a head coaching position on the NFL level but Kiffin almost appears obsessive with the idea. Don’t be surprised if you see Kiffin’s face on the four letter as much or more than Saban.

Saban and many may be blinded by Kiffin’s resume to see the real criminal at hand. This pro-style offense that Saban is so thrilled about is based of the premise of Kiffin’s tenure in Oakland, where he was a huge failure. You cannot sell an NFL playbook to someone if you did not have a playbook that worked on the NFL level. Coaches get fired all the time in both college and the big leagues, but to Kiffin it’s almost an art form. He left in the blink of the night in Tennessee, and he was ran out-of-town in Southern California.

The biggest selling point Kiffin had was his three-year span at USC Head Coach where he led the Trojans 28-15 in that time span (he also served a handful of seasons as an assistant and OFC under Pete Carroll before that. Most see a near .666 win rate and think with Saban’s help, the sky is the limit.  Let’s not forget USC is usually top 5 pre-season in the polls and never toooooo far away from the BCS Championship conversation. I would venture to say it was more the talent in front of him and less the coaching expertise of Kiffin. Even John Fox can bolster a phenomenal win percentage if Satan Manning is at the helm 17-21 Sundays out of the year.

The good news for Kiffin though, is the 38-year old is far from ending his coaching career and Alabama will just be another great learning opportunity for the coach. Don’t expectKiffin to make Alabama a permanent home unless Saban exits out the back in the coming years. For a coach who has some negative connotation, this is a great chance for Kiffin to be seen in a positive manner. It also helps that he picked a team that struggles to lose every season. Then, three years from now, when there is an opening for the ever-valuable Jaguars HC position, expect the coach with a 28-15 HC record at USC and a 30-3 OFC record at Alabama to apply for it.

The Bowl Series: BCS Championship

Eye of the Tiger? Fear the Spear?

Chris Meinecke

Chris Meinecke

Turnaround is a funny concept. You could turnaround to find that your favorite drink has suddenly appeared. You could turnaround in your car when you forget your wallet. You could even turnaround something non-tangible, like a football season.

Now I’m not saying that this Auburn football squad needed to turn their season around, but let’s face it – they weren’t doing the Carlton toward the inner ring of the National Championship talk. The Tiger’s, in fact, were a bit lackluster. With unimpressive home wins over Washington State and Mississippi State in week’s 1 and 3, followed by a 35-21 loss in Baton Rouge to their LSU Tiger counterparts, it looked like the road ahead in the SEC might be a longer, tougher one than head coach Gus Malzahn had hoped for. Malzahn kept his group focused however and it paid off. The payoff was such that they beat a once thought of as unstoppable Alabama team on one of the craziest plays you’ll ever witness with a 100 yard missed field goal for a touchdown to shock the world. It was a whole lot of fate, even more luck, and maybe a dab of “The Crimson Tide are who we thought they were!” (ask the Sugar Bowl Champ Oklahoma Sooners about that).

Over on the ‘Noles side of things, it was a rough-shot run through the ACC. With the sexual assault allegations hanging over the heads of the team and most importantly QB Jameis Winston, Florida State overcame contriversy and prevailed to a 12-0 record. With the only sniff of faltering being a 48-34 win at Boston College in September, it stands to figure that they were bound for glory much like their 1990’s Bobby Bowden led Tallahassee ancestors. This team has been world beaters and did quite enough to help a scandalized superstar win the Heisman Trophy. Some might say that Florida State would have accomplished the same success if they were in the all too in-your-face SEC. Now we get to see how that might look vs. Auburn.

The brass tacks: Auburn’s defense is not good. Momentum is always a good thing and Auburn caught that in a big way by beating ‘Bama. The Seminoles has momentum from the word go. With a month off since both team’s last games – Who will have the momentum swing in the right direction in the biggest game of the season? You might think this an easy pick and truly it is not. Most every prediction I’ve seen is nearly split 50/50. FSU outscored opponents 689-139, and as mentioned before, The Tigers D is awful. Is that enough for me to pick the ‘Noles? Yes, but maybe not in a blowout.

Florida State 37 – Auburn 29

The Bowl Series: Cotton Bowl

Matt Cassista

Matt Cassista

Queue up the cute kids for those AT&T commercials; we’re down in Texas for this year’s AT&T Cotton Bowl. We have (8)Missouri Tigers v (13)Oklahoma State Cowboys and this may be the most exciting game to me outside of the obvious BCS Championship game. First off, I’d like to say hats off to the BCS for picking Jerry Jones’ stadium since they knew it probably wouldn’t find use at this time of the year.

            Let’s get right to the game though. Both the Cowboys and the Tigers have a great ability to put up points in bunches; these teams have perfected the offensive mindset on the college level. Get your popcorn or nachos ready for this one; this is going to be a shootout.

            Despite a shorten season for Quarterback James Franklin of Mizzou, Franklin has almost carried the team on his back throwing 19 TDs and tossing for 2200 yards. He really has been the difference maker for the surprise SEC team. I give Missouri a lot of credit for coming in to the SEC and making their presence heard right away. They beat Auburn in the final week and it would have been them playing for the National Championship. Unfortunately those other Tigers make it to the big stage.

            Here’s the kicker….Cowboys QB Clint Chelf has become one of the most explosive offensive weapons in college football. 21 TDs on the year, 5 of which on the ground…and he did it in a half a season. OKST failed to notice his talent early on in the year, it’s a shame…They too came one game shy of possibly playing for a national championship. Don’t be surprised of the dual threat QB gets pushed to the limit in this one. OKST knows the more the rock is in his hands the better there odds are in winning this one.

            My favorite player in the game and I believe will be the reason Mizzou inevitably wins this one is wide receiving juggernaut Dorial Green-Beckham. Standing at a monstrous 6’6” and weighing in at 225lbs this goliath has what OKST def coordinator Glenn Spencer saying Green-Beckham is the closest thing to Calvin Johnson. That speaks volumes when Calvin is seen as the best wideout on the pro level. Green-Beckham will no doubt power the smaller OKST backs and test them down the field.  With 55 catches on the season, 12 of which found pay dirt, expect the future NFL star to find one, possibly even two TDs in this one.

            As quickly stated, Missouri on top in this years spectacular At&t Cotton Bowl.