Saban takes aim at USF's academics
Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose team has dropped two straight, is taking some shots at USF's success this season, suggesting the Bulls have gotten there because of looser academic requirements.
"The distribution of players is not the same for everybody," Saban told the Birmingham News in Tuesday's editions. "There's a significant amount of players who don't qualify (at some schools) and they end up being pretty good players at some other schools. I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them. And if you do a good job of recruiting that way ..."
Before we throw out any more quotes, we should point out that Saban isn't completely removed from USF. The Bulls' top two running backs are freshmen who could easily be in his backfield this fall: Mike Ford signed with Alabama two years ago under Mike Shula but didn't qualify, enrolling at USF in January, and Jamar Taylor, the leading rusher in Friday's win against West Virginia, played for Saban at Alabama this spring before transferring to USF to be closer to his family.
"is what it is," Saban told the newspaper. "I feel like if we do a good job of recruiting here, we ought to be able to get good football players who are qualified who are the kind of people, character and attitude-wise, that we want to represent an institution like this. And we know that there are going to be some occasions that we have to play against some teams that don't have to do that."
Saban now seems to be taking a shot at Florida State, which sat linebacker Geno Hayes just a quarter despite an arrest a week earlier and beat Alabama on Saturday. Alabama totaled 89 rushing yards on 27 carries Saturday, so it's safe to say Ford and Taylor could have helped the Tide.
Columnist Ray Melick points out that "conferences such as the SEC have pushed for legislation that would increase the NCAA's minimum standards." Is the Big East not one of those conferences? Show me a conference that won't publicly push for higher minimum standards. I'll be curious to see if USF -- or the Big East -- has any response to an attack on the school's academic standards.