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Forget the Browns, could Alabama play with a college all-star team?

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NCAA Football: Louisville at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of debating which four teams should be in the playoffs on the weekly SB Nation College Football Selection Committee show, I joined Dan Rubenstein to select something else: a super team that could take down Alabama. Dan’s rules were simple. We were to pick position units and a coaching staff, but no more than one from each team.

I took: Louisville’s QB, Florida State’s running backs, Clemson’s receivers and tight ends, and LSU’s offensive line. My offensive coordinator was Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. I want to score on explosive plays, as it is very tough to drive the ball methodically against the Tide.

On defense, I went with Auburn’s defensive line, Ohio State’s linebackers, and Michigan’s defensive backs. For a coordinator, I went with Pete Kwiatkowski of Washington.

For a head coach, I went with Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze, because in order to beat Alabama, a team must not be intimidated, and Freeze’s Rebels show no fear when facing the Tide.

To see who Dan took, and to watch us debate the picks and who would win, watch the video. I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

College Football Selection Committee - Week 13

Let’s draft a CFB team that can actually beat Alabama, live on Selection Committee

Posted by SB Nation College Football on Monday, November 28, 2016

The mesh of coaching and recruiting

Tennessee lost three of its better recruits Tuesday night. Now, there may be some truth to the idea that there was a mutual parting of ways with one recruit or another, but Tennessee has now lost five recruits in November. Its class ranks just sixth in the SEC, and only four of 23 prospects are rated four- or five-stars — a dismal 17 percent, much lower than the four-year average of 44 percent the Vols had maintained.

It looks like Tennessee will hold on to Butch Jones, which in my opinion is a mistake. This was the year that Tennessee pointed to as finally reaching its goals, but the Volunteers were outscored in conference play. A smart program would make a move now to take advantage of a coaching market with a lot of strong candidates and few open jobs. Barring an improbable turnaround, Tennessee will likely be a less attractive job next year due to the damage done by a potential lame duck staff. And the school will likely be fighting several other elite programs in the hiring race.

This could be said for several other SEC programs, too, but the buyout dollars are prohibitive, as Stewart Mandel writes.

As much as SEC schools like to throw around money, they’ve also hamstrung their ability to make a change when warranted. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin makes $5 million a year yet has failed to finish above .500 in the conference the past four seasons, but it would cost the school $15 million to fire him. So, status quo. Tennessee’s Butch Jones has become a walking train-wreck, but it’d cost nearly $11 million to fire him. So, he’ll be back to play for another Championship of Life.

Speaking of the SEC East, Georgia had a bad opening season under Kirby Smart, but the Bulldogs have 13 blue chip commitments, and the rest of the SEC East has 18 combined.

Oregon fired Mark Helfrich Tuesday night. Florida coach Jim McElwain has been rumored as a candidate for the job. Certainly, McElwain might be a cultural fit. He is from Montana, coached at Colorado State, and played QB for Eastern Washington. But the more likely scenario here is that this is an attempt by his representation to get a better deal out of Florida after winning two SEC East championships — an accomplishment that rings hollow with some fans, and has the coach on the defensive.

The second-year coach was asked point-blank on Monday if, as a guy who was brought in to fix the offense, he's simply ready to get to the offseason so he can begin to fix it.

"I mean, it's obviously one of those things that you have to constantly evaluate and get better at," McElwain said. "I was also brought in here to get to Atlanta. How many years have I been here? OK."

McElwain is no dummy. He sees the losses Florida is about to take on the defensive side of the football, and Florida has not been recruiting to the same standard on defense that it did under Will Muschamp.

He also likely knows that new athletic directors, like Scott Stricklin, often like to put their stamp on the program with a hire of their own. There might not be a better time to get a raise and extension than right now. It’s simply good business.

I have no idea what Oregon will do for a hire. Recruiting must be the top priority, though, as there is so little elite talent in the state and the region. Jason Kirk put together a great list of 10 names to know. Oregon has just one blue chip commitment at the moment, while USC and Washington have a combined 14. There is a lot of work to be done, and the new coach will not step into a great roster.


OSU can beat Oklahoma, and seven more picks for college football’s conference title weekend, by me. Finally getting some favorable luck.

Don’t let the smile fool you. Willie Taggart and USF are done being ignored, by Steven Godfrey. Excellent profile of one of the best coaches in college football.

The Colorado Buffaloes are college football’s 2016 dream-season team, by Bill Connelly. Awesome work.

Penn State’s offense ranked 53rd in Rushing S&P+ in 2015 and ranks 73rd in 2016. The defense ranked 15th in Def. S&P+ and now ranks 11th. That doesn’t scream “Massive improvement!”

However, the Nittany Lions have improved from 73rd to a staggering third in Passing S&P+. Funny how much of a difference that can make.

Here’s how Penn State went from ‘James Franklin hot seat’ to ‘Playoff?’ in 2 months, by Bill Connelly.

College football’s 2016 coaching changes: Who’s in and out at 12 schools so far, by Jason Kirk.

New bowl projections after Rivalry Weekend: What will the Playoff do with the Big Ten?, by Jason Kirk. Yuck.

QB Malik Zaire reportedly transferring from Notre Dame with 4 potential destinations, by Richard Johnson. I guess Zaire is focusing only on pro-style offenses to increase his chance of getting to the NFL? He’s always seemed like more of a runner to me.


Alabama might sign 4 of the top 5 linebacker recruits in the country. Some junior colleges are about to be really happy in two years.

Tom Herman inherits a talented Texas roster and favorable recruiting situation

Ed Orgeron can be LSU’s Dabo Swinney

The SEC’s quarterback play might be really good again, really soon

Economists think 5-star college football recruits could be worth $500K annually