Morning Kickoff: Crimson Tide News 12/13


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Heisman finalists Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon trade notes on bowl opponents Auburn, Ohio State

"The mood was light Friday afternoon in the Times Square hotel restaurant.These two have spent the last few days making the award ceremony circuit and the topic of common opponents came up. Cooper and Alabama face Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl ― the same Buckeyes who crushed Gordon’s Badgers 59-0 in the Big Ten title game. Wisconsin, in turn, happens to have Auburn up next in the Outback Bowl.So they’ve traded a few notes.“Yeah, he got some tips from me, for Auburn as well,” Cooper said. “He said Ohio State is a pretty good team. I told him I think he can do a good job. Their offense is really explosive.”"

I always said Wisconsin folks were good people. I’m all for comparing notes and helping out your fellow man.

Is Ohio State ‘SEC Enough’ to Beat Alabama in the College Football Playoff?

"Beating up on the likes of Purdue and Michigan is one thing, but going toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide? That’s a totally different task. Does the Big Ten’s best have what it takes to match up with the cream of the crop in college football?Saban thinks so.“Urban has always done a fantastic job at utilizing what his players do well,” Saban said. “Their speed is one of the strengths of their team, in my opinion.”That’s certainly been an area that Meyer has placed an emphasis on, expanding Ohio State’s recruiting radius beyond the borders of the Buckeye State and to the likes of Texas, the northeast and, yes, the southeast."

Great article from the other side of the battle lines on what folks from Ohio State are thinking. We will see if they have stockpiled enough talent to pull it off.

College football | Heisman Trophy: Alabama receiver hard to stop

"Cooper has become easily the biggest, most dangerous weapon in a program normally defined by tailbacks and defense, while leading the top-ranked Crimson Tide into a College Football Playoff matchup with No. 4 Ohio State and becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist. The award will be presented on Saturday night.Cooper went 39 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to spark a comeback win over Auburn in the regular-season finale, just one of many plays that left the Tide celebrating and opponents dumbfounded.He was unstoppable against Auburn, with 13 catches for 224 yards and touchdowns of 17, 39 and 75 yards. Then he set an Southeastern Conference championship game record with 12 catches against Missouri.Something no one — other than Kiffin, perhaps — could have seen coming: a Tide receiver producing 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns and setting an SEC record with 115 receptions. He has demolished previous Alabama records for yards and catches."

Not only is Amari Cooper tough to stop but the other wide receivers stepped up big time against Missouri. Stopping Cooper doesn’t sound like it will be the only key to victory.

Nick Saban, Urban Meyer took different approaches to following weekly playoff rankings

"“I think the challenge is to get the players and the people in your organization, your staff and everyone to, you know, realize that, sell that, and stay focused on the things that are going to affect their performance and not get sort of affected by the external factors like a poll, like a ranking, like a scoreboard,” Saban said. “All those things sort of can change how you compete and how you play.”Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer took a different approach. The Buckeyes’ chance at reaching the playoffs was thought to be a longshot after a week 2 home loss to Virginia Tech.Meyer thought his young team would be better in 2015 and started looking further ahead. But OSU kept winning and winning this season.“As we started to play better, I would throw that nugget out there every once in a while on Sunday, because everybody watches (the ranking shows),” Meyer said. “You can’t ‑‑ like you said, you get tired of hearing it. I actually (was) like ‑‑ if we lose another game, you probably wish you would hear about it.”"

It sounds like both strategies were effective but I think I will trust Saban’s approach for now since it’s worked in the past.

Crimson Tide in the MLB: Offseason Moves

"On Thursday evening, Major League Baseball’s 2014 Winter Meetings concluded with plenty of action taking place in California. The meetings ran from Dec. 7-11 and officially wrapped up the 2014 season. With a new year and a new season upon us, many former Crimson Tide standouts have cemented themselves with a team for the 2015 season and going forward."

Alabama Begins Homestand Against Tennessee Tech Saturday Night

"Alabama will begin a stretch of four games in nine days when the Tide hosts the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The contest will be preceded by The University of Alabama fall graduation ceremony, which will be held earlier in the day at Coleman Coliseum.Saturday night’s contest will also mark the beginning of a homestand, as Alabama will play six of its next seven games under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum. It is the longest home stretch of the season and the first time the Tide has played six of seven games at home since the 2009-10 campaign."

22 University of Alabama Student-Athletes Slated for Graduation Saturday

"A total of 22 University of Alabama student-athletes are slated to receive their degrees Saturday, Dec. 13, when UA holds its winter commencement at Coleman Coliseum, including 14 members of the Crimson Tide’s 2014 Southeastern Conference Champion football team.A total of 14 football players are set to receive degrees Saturday, including seven – All-SEC Trey Depriest, Christion Jones, D. J. Pettway, Malcolm Faciane, Isaac Luatua, Leon Brown and Josh Dickerson – who have earned bachelor’s degrees. The remaining seven – All-SEC Arie Kouandjio, Jalston Fowler, All-SEC Austin Shepherd, Brian Vogler, Nick Perry, Daniel Geddes and MK Taylor – earned their master’s degrees."