Tua and Fromm are gone. The Pirate's coming. It has been a wild week for the SEC
New Orleans—LSU’s No. 1-ranked football team arrived here on Friday and on Monday the Tigers will play No. 3 Clemson for the CFP national championship.
Would you believe if it I told you that that LSU was not the No. 1 story involving an SEC football team this week?
Would you believe that it’s about No. 5?
We’ll have plenty of time to discuss Monday night’s championship game over the next few days.
But this, ladies and gentlemen, has been a wild, wild week off the field for SEC football with player and coaches moves that promise to have a big impact on what we see this Fall. Here are four big headlines for the week.
1--TUA TURNS PRO
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, one of the best pure passers that college football has ever seen, announced in Tuscaloosa on Monday that he would give up his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.
Tua, who suffered a severe hip injury on Nov. 16, decided after meeting with doctors and NFL general managers in New York over the weekend that the time had come to move on.
So what does it mean? It means there will be a quarterback competition in the spring involving Mac Jones, true freshman Bryce Young, and Tua’s brother, Taulia.
Jones, a redshirt junior, started four games this season in place of Tua and threw for 1,503 yards. He is solid.
Depending on who you ask Young, from California, was the No. 1 or No. 2 high school quarterback in the nation. Young is already enrolled in school.
Taulia Tagovailoa has talent and doesn’t plan to transfer.
And don’t rule out the possibility of Alabama going to the transfer portal. They will find some company there.
2. JAKE FROMM LEAVES GEORGIA
This one was more of a surprise because Fromm clearly took a step back as a junior. There were a number of explanations for that—new offensive coordinator, young receivers--but the bottom line is that it seems unlikely he’ll be a first-round draft choice.
Sometimes your gut tells you that it’s time to go. Those who welcome Fromm’s departure should consider this:
Fromm leaves Georgia with a record of 35-7 as a starting quarterback with three appearances in the SEC championship game (one title). As a true freshman he led Georgia to a historic CFP semifinal win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and then the national championship game in 2017.
And here is what the Georgia fans should remember most: Fromm was 4-0 against Auburn, 3-0 against Florida, 3-0 against Tennessee, and 3-0 against Georgia Tech.
So what does it mean? Georgia signed Carson Beck, a highly-recruited quarterback out of Jacksonville, Fla., who had originally committed to Alabama. Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on, was the backup quarterback last season. Dwan Mathis, who signed in December of 2018 after flipping his commitment from Ohio State, is still recovering from surgery to remove a cyst on his brain. He has still not been cleared to practice.
So don’t be surprised if Georgia goes to the transfer portal and takes a look at Jamie Newman from Wake Forest
Here’s what else it means. With all that Georgia has lost lately to transfer and to the NFL, and with the uncertainty at quarterback, it could mean that Florida will be picked to win the SEC East when we convene for SEC Media Days in July.
3. THE PIRATE COMES TO MISSISSIPPI STATE
This ain’t real complicated.
With Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss, Mississippi State had to do something that moved the excitement needle after firing Joe Moorhead on Jan. 3.
AD John Cohen hit a home run by convincing Mike Leach to leave Washington State and come to Starkville and employ his wide-open offense.
What it Means: One of the nastiest rivalries in college football—the Egg Bowl—will even have more of an edge to it. Look for Kiffin to send zingers towards Starkville on a regular basis and for the Pirate to respond in kind. The entertainment value will be substantial.
And look for every national college football reporter in the country to add Oxford and Starkville to their summer tour stops.
Lane and The Pirate in the same state and the same division of the SEC and recruiting the same players. Yeah, that’s got a chance.
4. SEC MEDIA DAYS JUST GOT A LOT MORE INTERESTING
This year’s media days will be held in July at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Representing the SEC West will be Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Sam Pittman, Ed Orgeron, Jimbo Fisher, Lane Kiffin, and Mike Leach.
Sam Pittman , in his first year as a head coach at Arkansas, is going to have to come up with great material to keep up with those guys.
So will the coaches from the SEC East.
In the past over 1,000 media representatives have received credentials for this event. Look for that number to go up considerably.