Rue's Rant on College Sports in Alabama

January 17, 2010 8:14 PM


unicorn2.jpgSaban's bold declaration

Thumbnail image for Saban talks to crowd.jpgIt wasn't a guarantee, but Alabama football coach Nick Saban came awfully close to predicting another national championship for the Crimson Tide next season.

During the Tide's celebration of its 2009 national championship college football season Saturday, Saban told the estimated crowd of 38,000:

"I want everybody here to know, this is not the end. This is the beginning. This team, our fans, our athletics administration has proven that we know what it takes, and we're going to build on that in the future with the players that we have coming back next year and the future players that are building our program into the greatest and the most consistent winning program in the country."

If Saban wasn't forecasting a repeat, he was saying that another national title could come in the very near future.

With all the talent Saban has coming back, such as Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and quarterback Greg McElroy, who is 30-0 as a starter in high school (16-0 and college (14-0), and all the talent he has coming in ( currently ranks the Tide's 2010 recruiting class is No. 3 in the nation behind Florida and Texas), that next national title could very well come in 2010.

Webb at wide receiver

Thumbnail image for Joe Webb leaves mark.jpgI must admit I am a little disappointed record-setting UAB quarterback Joe Webb won't get to play the position at the Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.

The 6-4, 220-pound Webb will go to the all-star game as a wide receiver, a position he played in 2007 for the Blazers. Webb started nine games that season at receiver and caught 30 passes for 459 yards, ranking second on the team in both categories. He also had three touchdown receptions.

But the past two years, Webb established himself as arguably the top dual threat quarterback in the nation. During the 2009 season, Webb accounted for 73 percent of UAB's offensive yards, passing for 2,299 and rushing for 1,427. He threw 21 touchdown passes and ran for 11 scores, the latter tying his UAB single-season record for rushing TDs in a season. Webb also caught a TD pass during the year.

Webb didn't seem to mind that he won't play quarterback in the all-star showcase and get a chance to improve his draft stock at the position.
"I'm very excited to have the opportunity to play in the Senior Bowl," he said. "I will have the chance to show my athletic ability and show that I can do something other than play quarterback."

Perhaps, either Jacksonville State's Ryan Perrilloux or Troy's Levi Brown (or both) will get an opportunity to play quarterback for the South squad. Both are considered pro prospects. So far, the only quarterback named on the South roster is Florida's Tim Tebow.

Three quarterbacks have accepted invitations to play for the North: Oregon State's Sean Canfield, Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour and Cincinnati's Tony Pike.

UAB's charmed season reaches new high

The men's basketball bracketologists for the 2010 NCAA Tournament should consider moving up UAB's seeding, especially after what the Blazers pulled off Saturday night in Dallas.

UAB overcame a 24-point deficit, 50-26, in the final 14 minutes to beat SMU 63-62 and stay undefeated (3-0) in Conference-USA, while improving to 15-2 overall.

"We didn't show up in the first half, and to give SMU credit, they really played a heck of a game," UAB head coach Mike Davis said. "But our guys never quit and never gave up and we were able to come out with a very hard-earned win."

UAB ended the game with a 19-3 run in the final 5:14.

Elijah Millsap led the Blazers with 20 points and 11 rebounds, his 10th double-double this season.

If the Blazers' charmed season continues, they might play themselves into a top-4 seed in the field of 65, although you have to wonder what they were doing trailing SMU (and its 266 RPI ranking) by 24 points in the first place.


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