10 interesting quotes from college football media this week (Jan. 13)

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday January 13, 2017

- Colin Cowherd on Dabo Swinney ripping him for calling Clemson a fraud: "Tip of the cap to Dabo and his staff. They played their best two games late. One thing I’ve realized, you do not punish me if I’m wrong. You punish me as an audience if I choose topics you’re not interested in. You’ve never punished me for being wrong. … I will continue to have super strong opinions on college football, the NBA, NFL, and all I can say to Dabo Swinney is you're a hell of a coach. You make college football better. You gave me 4 1/2 hours of great entertainment. Your players showed such great character in the most crucial moments, I couldn't be happier for Clemson. I didn't buy them. I watched them lose almost seven times. I was watching when North Carolina State could've beat them at Clemson. … But what they did last night was remarkable, great for the sport. They had great dignity. And I can take a punch."

- Paul Finebaum: “There were 99 plays from the Clemson side, but the Alabama defense could not stop a cold. They were helpless. This is a defense some of had declared maybe the best of all time. Not anymore.”

- Greg McElroy: “You want to know what Alabama’s kryptonite is? It's game-breaking wide receivers. It’s not quarterback. Everybody has a dual-threat quarterback now. But if you look at the wide receivers they’ve lost to — Texas A&M with Mike Evans, Ole Miss with Laquon Treadwell and Evan Engram, Auburn with Duke Williams and Sammie Coates, Ohio State had eight guys who were outstanding, and Clemson with Mike Williams took over the game in the fourth quarter. Everyone wants to pay attention to the quarterback position and dual-threat nature, but really, when you have a game-breaking wide receiver with size and strength, Alabama’s had a hard time consistently covering that.”

- Booger McFarland: “The Achilles heel of a Nick Saban defense has been the secondary. That’s how you beat them. Once again, Deshaun Watson, over 400 yards passing. That’s something Saban has to go into the offseason and figure out how to fix.”

- Stewart Mandel: “You just never knew if they were that dominant, or if the SEC was that mediocre. I think we kind of got our answer. Alabama did play good defense for three quarters, and it’s possible if Bo Scarborough doesn’t get hurt, that they bleed the clock out. But instead, they couldn’t run the ball, certainly couldn’t pass the ball, and they basically wore out their own defense.”

- Bruce Feldman: “I do think this was a case of Alabama didn’t lose the game. A lot of college teams lose the game. They lost to a great player, and it wasn’t a one-man team. … Deshaun has a better team around him than Cam Newton did. Deshaun has way better receivers, and they have more D-linemen.”

- Brad Edwards: “If it was only Deshaun Watson, Clemson wouldn’t have won that game. You look at the acrobatic catches Mike Williams made to keep drives alive. Jordan Leggett, the catch he made on the second-last play of the winning drive, contorting his body and reaching across. There were so many guys who made big plays in clutch situations for Clemson.”

- Adam Rittenberg on Watson: “He leaves as one of the greatest players of this generation. He probably would have left, win or lose, as the greatest Clemson player of all time. These two seasons will be looked as one of the best two-year stretches for a quarterback when you consider what he did to the Alabama defense twice. It was a strange year for him. A little more edgy and tired of the spotlight at times, but it’s great to see a guy like that who is a great story, got his degree, did all these things off the field, for his career to end this year like that.”

- Pete Thamel: “If Bo Scarborough doesn’t get injured, I think Alabama probably wins that game. Ultimately, this was a flawed Alabama team. They entered the game 81st in pass offense, and Ohio State was 82nd. This was a flawed and someone one-dimensional team going into the game, and they looked like a flawed and one-dimensional team, quite frankly. They would have looked that way if Lane was still the coordinator. Clemson had a dominating front.”

- Rick Neuheisel: “I said Clemson should be a 3-point favorite, and that’s how it played out. I give all the credit in the world Jeremy Pruitt and the Alabama defense. It was a monster effort throughout the season. Clemson didn’t get 100 yards rushing, but they had enough to force single-safety and helped the guys outside, and then they had this magical quarterback who believes. Had Alabama found a way to win that game, the defense of Alabama would have gone down as one of best in the history of the game.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.