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Sprints Is Ready to Play in the National Championship Game // 01.07.09

:: The Open Thread posts at 7 p.m. We'll have posts throughout the day.

McClain will play if the doctors sign off
It's still up in the air as of this writing. But he "should be able to participate."

Roll Bama Roll tries to sort the whole thing out.
Simply getting on the field might not be enough.

Again, the real concern is not "if" they will play, but how well. ... McClain played a pivotal role in the SEC Championship game by containing Tebow and keeping him from making plays when he did escape the pocket, and with a similarly mobile Colt McCoy having a diminished (or worse, absent) McClain could hurt the defense.

A.J. McCarron announced as No. 2 quarterback for Alabama's game against LSU
No, you didn't misread that.[para] Saban said McCarron was elevated to the No. 2 role between Alabama 's victory over Tennessee and the win over LSU.[para] Shh. It's a secret.

Alabama 31, Texas 6
That's in predictions by various pundits contacted by the Tuscaloosa News, who show their logical rigor with reasons like those offered by Jim Dunnaway in choosing Alabama:

"Flip the score of the 1973 Sugar Bowl loss to Notre Dame."

And Austin radio host Rod Babers' reasoning for going with Texas.

"I played at Texas so I'm going with my Longhorns."

Then there's the Montgomery Advertiser's Josh Moon, who helpfully explains his call for a 57-0 Alabama win with "No problem."

The New York Times proves me wrong
This is kind of disrespecting Texas just a little.

You do not need to be an oracle to see how this championship game will play out. Alabama will win by at least two touchdowns to continue the SEC’s dominance on college football’s biggest stage. The key will be the Crimson Tide’s stout defense suffocating Texas’ one-dimensional offense.

The Longhorns played a soft schedule and did not challenge themselves out of conference, padding their record in a surprisingly down year in the Big 12.

Nick Saban's robot drones will incinerate The New York Times if Alabama loses.

Enemy Lines
Burnt Orange Nation posts on McElroy's red-zone woes, Alabama's game-winning drive against Auburn and ten predictions that lead to "Texas wins."

Dr. Saturday looks at Alabama's defense vs. Texas' offense
The key is to force the Longhorns into difficult third-down situations.

An unlikely endorsement
Alligator Army supports Alabama in tonight's national title game with reasoning that might even make an Auburn fan think about it.

Sure, another championship for Bama will make them more insufferable. But they are already insufferable.

Florida fans? Pot, meet kettle?


Joker Phillips officially takes over at Kentucky
His contract is a five-year deal worth $1.7 million per.

We will begin what I'm calling "Operation Win." This means continuing to strive for excellence in every possible area of Kentucky football. This is not about Joker Phillips. This is about "we." There are many parts to a successful program and my job is to evaluate how we can turn it up a notch.

Phillips is currently the only African-American head coach in the SEC.

It's official
Aaron Hernandez is headed for the draft. Given that he already holds the school record for receptions by a tight end for a career, there's not much more he can do.

Apparently, carrying a weapon is now just part of being an SEC athlete
Moe Brown, wide receiver for South Carolina, was arrested in June for having a weapon in the wrong part of his car. There are a few things to keep in mind here. First, he was registered to own the gun, which still raises the troubling question of why SEC athletes feel like they need a gun. Second, he no longer owns the gun. Finally, though, he's not really blameless for the urgent conversation with a member of the Columbia Police Department. After all, he was going 70 mph in a part of town where the speed limit is 35. That's a bit beyond the "just speeding some" explanation.

And about that dismissal:

Bernstein said a municipal court judge dismissed the gun charge during a preliminary hearing on the grounds that the search of Brown's 2002 Chevy sedan was illegal. Bernstein said Brown received credit for time served on the speeding charge, and thought the no-insurance charge was to be expunged.

Before reports that he had an argument with Steve Spurrier Jr. after the Bowl, Brown had been seen as pretty much a model citizen at Carolina. So we'll give him some benefit of the doubt here.[para] That said, why is a June arrest just now being reported?

Arkansas hires Fulmer protege and UNLV coach
Steve Caldwell and Kris Cinkovich will now work in Fayetteville.

War Blog Eagle picks Auburn stories of the decade
I'm not sure how The Snub is No. 4 and the Fingers of Fear is No. 10(!), but a pretty good list overall.

AP names Percy Harvin Offensive Rookie of the Year
All those character concerns back when the draft was going on? Yeah.

The multi-skilled Harvin finished the season second on the Vikings with 60 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns. He also finished fourth in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging 27.5 yards on 42 returns with two touchdowns. ...

Harvin played both receiver and running back in college and the Vikings took advantage of his skills out of the backfield by having him carry the ball 15 times for 135 yards. Harvin’s 2,081 combined yards broke the franchise mark established by running back Herschel Walker in 1990 (2,051 yards).

Not that there's any real surprise in this for those of us who watched Harvin play in the SEC for several years. But NFL fans and the establishment are sometimes more skeptical of college players who don't have the "intangibles" they're looking for.

Which is why our sport is better. (Ducks incoming objects thrown by NFL fans.)

About that Florida receivers stereotype
Louis Murphy and Bubba Caldwell also did well this year.

Andre Dawson elected to Cooperstown
This is not in any way related to the SEC, but the Hawk was my first sports hero and remains one of the all-time favorites of mine to play on any team I've cheered for. Squawk about his OBP and such all you want -- and I'm somewhere between a traditionalist and a sabermetrician in part because I find the outspoken members of both schools to be self-important and close-minded -- but the Hawk was a great player. It took far too long to get him in the Hall.