Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

January 25, 2010 6:14 PM

All The News That's Fit To Blog About

I'm back, baby.

Did you miss me? Or did you even know I was gone?


Anthony Grant press conference.jpgA week ago, the phone line at my house went dead and my DSL line with it. In other words, no Internet. And since I don't have one of those do-everything cell phones, I had to wait until the folks at AT&T could get out to my house and fix the line. It took them four days.

A lot happened while AT&T held my blog hostage, so I want to share with you what I would have blogged about last week.

1. Alabama missed a golden opportunity to give first-year head basketball coach Anthony Grant (pictured right) his first signature win when they let then-No. 8 Tennessee escape Tuscaloosa with a 63-57 victory last Tuesday.

2. Auburn earned its first SEC win, but it came against LSU, which is winless in conference games. Even so, Auburn's 84-80 win came on the road and it's never easy to win on the road in the SEC.

3. UAB pulled another rabbit out of its hat, rallying from a 14-point second-half deficit at home to beat Southern Miss 57-56 last Wednesday. A few days earlier, the "Cardiac Blazers" had come from 24 down to win 63-62 at SMU.

4. Auburn's 2010 football recruiting class could be headed for a top-five finish, especially after getting an oral commitment from 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive lineman Eric Mack from Calhoun High School in St. Matthews, S.C. That ranking would put the Tigers in the mix with SEC recruiting heavyweights Florida, Alabama, Georgia and LSU and national powerhouses USC and Texas. Auburn fans now are singing the praises of head coach Gene Chizik after lambasting his hiring with derision 13 months ago.

Aaron Johnson lifted up.jpg5. Samford's men basketball program suffered another terrible blow when head coach Jimmy Tillette suffered a seizure during the Bulldogs' 70-67 victory at UNC Greensboro last Saturday. He collapsed approximately 10 minutes into the second half of play and was immediately rushed to Moses Cone Hospital where he remained overnight. Upon his arrival at Moses Cone, Tillette was checked by emergency room staff and listed as stable. On Sunday, Tillette was transferred to UAB Hospital for further tests and observations. Last September, Bulldogs senior forward Jim Griffin was found dead in his dorm room in Samford's Beeson Woods residential village. He apparently died from an enlarged heart.

6. UAB's little 5-8 point guard Aaron Johnson (No. 1 pictured right while being mobbed by teammates) is becoming "Mr. Big Shot." He made a 17-foot jumper with 5.8 seconds remaining for the winning basket against Southern Miss and then drove in and lofted a runner over the outstretched arms of Marshall 7-foot shot blocker Hassan Whiteside with 5.6 seconds left to give the "Cardiac Blazers" a huge 61-59 road win. The victory enabled UAB to remain unbeaten (5-0) in Conference USA and improved the Blazers' overall record to 17-2, the best start in program history.

7. Alabama bounced back from its loss to Tennessee and ends its three-game SEC losing streak, handing Mississippi State its first conference loss, 62-57, and remaining relevant in the West race.


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