Nick Saban is regularly treated to all sorts of unflattering descriptions: heartless, cold, Serpent-like, Coach “Satan,” dishonest, cut-throat – you name it, he’s been called it.
But here’s a story that happened yesterday (National Signing Day) that hasn’t been widely publicized and Coach Saban most likely won’t say anything about it (unless a reporter presses him). It’s the story of Elisha Shaw.
Elisha was a 4-star defensive tackle from Atlanta’s Tucker High School. He was a highly sought after and at 6-4, 295, had the size, strength, and agility to be a star in the SEC or in any other conference in which he desired to play. And every major school in the country was interesting in getting him to sign and play football.
Then, before his senior season started, Elisha suffered a severe neck injury, so severe that doctors said he could never play football again.
Overnight, all the interest from SEC schools and the many schools around the country was gone. Nobody wanted a guy who couldn’t contribute to their on-field success. Every single school stopped recruiting him, no head coach showed any interest in him . . . well, no one but Nick Saban.
Coach Saban invited Elisha to come to Alabama on an official recruiting visit last month . . . and he came. And after that, Coach Saban offered Elisha a scholarship which Elisha signed yesterday.
Elisha Shaw won’t play a single minute in any game, he will never even put on a helmet – but he will have a full scholarship which he will use to get his degree from the University of Alabama.
So, the next time you hear someone call Nick Saban mean-spirited, uncaring, unfeeling – just tell them to check with Elisha Shaw.
[here's a picture from Elisha's signing ceremony on Wednesday]
National Signing Day has become almost a national holiday among college football geeks. It’s easy to make far too much of a signing class. You never know who’s going to develop, who’s going to continue to improve, stay out of trouble, go to class, etc. Thousands of things can happen to undermine all the praise that a particular class might garner.
BUT, all that said, the 2014 class for Alabama is historic (at least on paper). Fully seven of the top 16 players in the country have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the U of A. According to ESPN, there were 15 five star players in the country. Alabma signed five of them. According to 247Sports composite ratings, the Tide got the top-rated prospect in Alabama, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. They got the No. 1 offensive tackle, No. 1 center, No. 2 athlete and the nation’s No. 1 linebacker.
Nothing like this has ever happened.
History has been made again.
Now, watch the video.
Ok, we’re still a little shaken up by the way the season ended. Still can’t believe that we lost to the Barn and to those covered wagon riders from Norman, but somebody told us the weirdest thing, that Coach Saban was going to hire Lane Kiffin as offensive coordinator.
Little Lane? Little Laney boy?? Little Rid Riding Lane??? No left turn Lane????
C’mon man! Don’t pull our legs like that.
Then we saw the news.
Ok Lane, you’re finally back in the BIG TIME.
We hope you look good in crimson.
You’ve gotten another “second chance.”
Don’t blow it.
[trust Coach Saban, trust Coach Saban, trust . . . keep saying it, guys]
Yeah, this was another “down” year for the SEC wasn’t it? After all the criticism, the best conference in college football still puts 10 teams in bowl games and have four of those in the top 10 of the final BCS rankings. Weak conference. Oh, and they’ll probably set another record for the number of players drafted into the NFL once again. Sissy bunch of pansies.
But we got bidness to attend to before all that happens, cause it’s “Bowl Time” again y’all! And this year we actually have some interesting matchups – especially for the SEC teams involved. So let’s get right to our unmatched, unrivaled, and unparalleled predictions, shall we? Yeah baby!
December 30, The Music City Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech: It’s the Ole Missusses time to whip up on the ACC. Both teams come into this one with identical 7-5 records though the Rebel Black Bears come in to this one on a two game losing streak, losing their last two games of the season; while the Yella Jackets come in after a double overtime loss to Georgia. But those losses are almost forgotten by now – ok, Ole Miss is still hurting over their flop against the Cowbell Gang – but we still think the Lady Rebs will win this one. And if somebody wants a reason then we simply reply, they come from William Faulkner’s home town. Yeah. The Sound and the Fury and all that. So there.
December 31, The Liberty Bowl
Rice vs. Mississippi State: The Cowbell Gang is still flying high over their overtime victory against the Rebs in Starkville a couple of weeks back and we think they’ll continue to ride high when they meet the Owls in Memphis on New Year’s Eve. Rice comes into this one with a gaudy 10-3 record and one might think that they would win easily. You might think that, until you examined Rice’s schedule. Their last four wins came against Louisiana Tech, UAB, Tulane, and Marshall. And the rest of the schedule is not any better. The only legitimate opponent was Texas A&M in the first game of the season and they lost that one 52-31. So it turns out that no matter how you serve it rice is just rice. The Bullies win and go to 7-6 on the season.
The Chick-Fil-A Bowl
Duke vs. Texas A&M: This one is easier than some might think. All we have to say is, “did you see the ACC championship?” If you’re answer is “No, why would I waste my time watching the ACC?” You’re our kind of guy! But, if you had watched it, you would have seen that Duke is absolutely the worst division champion any conference, anywhere, has ever had. Johnny M. and the Aggies will win this one as the SEC continues to demonstrate its superiority over the ACC.
January 1, The Gator Bowl
Nebraska vs. Georgia: You’re going to think that we are biased, but again, if you’ve watched Nebraska play this year, you know that they’ve been thoroughly “B1G Ten-ized.” This is not your grandfather’s Huskers, not by a long shot. The Cornpone guys have been transformed into a genuinely bad team. They were once “the Big Red” now they’re just “Little Red Riding Hood.” The G-Dawgs have their problems, but even they can defeat this team.
The Outback Bowl
Iowa vs. LSU: Here’s another Little Ten team that has lost when it should have won and won a couple that it should have lost. The Hawkeyes are not a terrible team, but they are a typical B1G team (i.e. slow, plodding, praying that there is a monsoon to make the field a quagmire so that the SEC team loses its speed advantage). LSU has not been great this year and they will be playing without their number 1 quarterback, so this game will probably be close. But the Tigurs still take home the trophy.
The Capital One Bowl
Wisconsin vs. South Carolina: The third B1G – SEC matchup of the day should be the best game of the day. The Badgers are a good team. They are 10-3 on the year and probably should have beaten Ohio State and why they lost to Penn State is still a mystery. But now, they get to uphold the honor of the B1G and they just may be up to the challenge. The Game Chickens will need to play one of their best games of the year to take this one home – and we think the Visor will have them ready to do just that. USC (southeast) wins.
January 2, The Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Oklahoma: Ok, now let’s get down to it. The Champs get the opportunity to wash the bad taste of the Awbarn game out of their mouths as they go up against the Big 12 runner-up. Remember the last time the Tide played in the Sugar Bowl? Unfortunately, we do. And it wasn’t purdy. Two things make this one different: 1) It’s not against a team that nobody respects (as was the case with Utah in 2008). And 2) The Tide has something to prove – namely, that they really should have been playing for the national championship. The Sooners are a good team. Alabama is a great team when it plays up to its potential. We believe they want to end the season on a high note. Tide wins going away.
January 3, The Cotton Bowl
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri: Mizzou played a fine game against Awbarn and came close to winning the SEC championship. We finally got to see the power of their offense while at the same time, being a tad dismayed over the inadequacies of their defense. But, no matter, this game belongs to the black and gold. Boone Pickens’ favorite team has had a nice year – but they’ll lose this one. Maybe T. Boone can buy them some new designer tennis shoes or something to make them feel better. Closing out the season with two losses ain’t ideal – but it’s nothing a new pair of sneakers can fix.
January 4, The BBVA Compass Bowl
Vanderbilt vs. Houston:
Houston and Vandy both have 8-4 records for the year. But Vandy’s 8 wins look a lot better than the 8 wins the Cougs rung up. Add to this the fact that Vandy is hotter than Charlie Weiss’ stove on Thanksgiving Day and you get an indicator of which of these teams should win this game. We’re always going to pick the Commydoors when they play against teams like Houston. And we still like ‘em in this one. Vandy wins and the student body throws their slide-rules up in the air so high that they all need recalibration on Monday.
January 6, The BCS Championship Game
Auburn vs. Florida State: Well, whodathunkit huh? At the beginning of the year, if you had told us that you believed this would be the championship game matchup, you would have had to cut the phone lines to keep us from making a call to the folks down at the Nervous Hospital to request them to come and pick you up. Amazinger and amazinger. And if you’re waiting for us to pick against Awbarn again, you grossly underestimate our ability to recognize Destiny (tm) when it stares us in the face. We get it. This is the year of the Barn and there ain’t nothin that nobody can do to stop it. The Wargles finish out a miracle year with a miracle National Championship.
Ok, so there you go. And, no B1G Ten fans, we are not being blinded by the shine of the SEC in our picks. We ain’t nothin if not objective and being as we are objective, there ain’t no way, we’re picking against the conference that will wake up on Tuesday, January 7 with 8 straight National Championships. And along the way prove beyond a doubt that they play the best football in the country: going 3-0 against the ACC, 3-0 against the B1G Ten, 2-0 against the Big 12, and 2-0 against the American/Big East/WAC conference.
Hey, no brag. Just fact.
And it’s only gonna get worse next year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y’all!
Merry Christmas from The Fan y’all!
[SEC bowl predictions are coming soon, stay tuned]
Yeah, we know you’re not very excited about this one – and it’s understandable. Seems weird not to have the Champs playing in their annual final game in Atlanta doesn’t it? Oh well, next year we’ll see y’all in Atlanta. But for now, we’ll have to endure the Barners and the M-Tigs as they “battle” it out to see who can fuss the most if Ohio St. and Florida State both win their conference championship matchups.
Both teams have had fine years. Mizzou in only its second year in the SEC has shown us they are legit. They have a fine team with some very good players. Quarterback James Franklin is back and playing well. The defensive front has been strong all year and the Tiger receiving corps may well be the best all-round group of receivers in the country (big, tall, fast). Their only blemish is an overtime loss to the Game Chickens back in October. Since then they’ve destroyed UT and the Mildcats and gained solid victories over Ole Miss and the Aggies.
Awbarn, to all observation, has lived by magic pixie dust all season. They opened the season by hanging on for dear life against Wazzoo. Then scored in the last 10 seconds to defeat the Cowbell Gang at home before finally losing a game in Baton Rouge. They had squeakers against Ole Miss and A&M before the “Immaculate Deflection” defeated (and deflated) Georgia and the missed field goal return against the champs last week. This team could be (and perhaps should be) 5-7 and sitting home for the holidays. Instead, they come into this game with a legitimate shot at playing in the National Championship game.
No. Don’t ask. We have no idea how it can be explained. But there it is.
So, what’s going to happen tomorrow?
Quick and dirty: Awbarn again tries to draw from it’s bank accounts of good fortune (every one of them, including the Felicity account, the Charmed account, the Propitious-Halcyon one, and finally, the Rosy-Palmy-Cherry-on-top one) and finds that all of them have been drained dry.
Y’all done spent all your miracles. There ain’t any left. You spent the last bit last Saturday (remember spending your last four field goal misses?). You went for the “there’s no way in hell” one the week before, and the blocked punts, fumble returns, and interception-ones had already been used in previous games.
Go ahead and see for yourselves. Run your hand around in the box. Nothing left. All gone. If you write a check, it’s going to bounce. Sorry.
And this is very bad news for the Barners cause this team can’t win without some miracles (at least a few minor ones). But they done gone and used em all up. And that means that Mizzou wins. Mizzou.
Mizzou will be the SEC champions. Let that sink in a minute.
And the foundations shake.
And we will sit back and earnestly pray that the Lord of heaven and earth will grant the Tide one final request for Christmas. Please God. It is our heartfelt and sincere desire. We need this one thing. One little thing. One thing to make the season right again: Please let Bama play Awbarn in a bowl game.
Any bowl game.
Even, (gulp) even Shreveport. We don’t ask for glory. We don’t ask for crystal. We just beg for one more shot at the Cow College.