First up, let me tell you deadline for this column was well before the end of the BCS championship game or the subject would be obvious.

    Therefore, some football observations from elsewhere around the SEC...

    I donít see how Auburn people can be anything but impressed with the staff that Gus Malzahn has put together. It is strong on experience, yet maybe even better in recruiting, which Auburn needs to flourish in so desperately.

    In Rodney Garner and Dameyune Craig, Malzahn landed a pair of guys who wore the orange and blue and had turned down repeated offers to return to their alma mater. Obviously, their powers of knowing ďsomething doesn't feel rightĒ in the past were correct. Garner comes in as not only a noted on-field coach, but perhaps the finest recruiter in the last 20 years of college football. Mark Richt has been through a tremendous wealth of talent in Athens, most of it signed and delivered by Garner.

    In Craig, the Tigers get yet another offensive mind to go with Malzahn and Rhett Lashlee, plus what has generally been considered the top recruiter in the state of Florida, especially in dealing with todayís young prospects. And players, as we all can attest, are what make good programs. Last yearís collection did indeed quit on Gene Chizik and Auburn, but they also weren't very gifted. The coaches and media members who voted for ALL-SEC honors agreed, as will the upcoming NFL draft.


    A major decision went Richtís way Sunday evening when quarterback Aaron Murray decided to come back for his senior season at Georgia. When you think about it, Murray came one tipped pass away from leading the Bulldogs to perhaps the most historic final drive in college history in the SEC title game against Alabama. Donít believe it? Watch the tape again.

    Murray has the NFL arm right now, and had been projected as high as the first quarterback chosen to at least a second-round choice. He threw for 3,900 yards last year alone, and chunked 36 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. Those are career numbers for many college signal-callers.


    Speaking of top-notch quarterbacks, was Johnny Manziel not incredible in Texas A&Mís rout of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. He accounted for 518 yards in total offense, and ran circles around the vaunted Sooner defense just like he did everyone else in the SEC this year. Heisman jinx? Are you kidding? He has to be the most popular player in the league, if not the country. Please Johnny Football, just donít get hurt.


    The LSU fans have to be among the most puzzled in the country about what to do with their head coach. We all know Les Miles is a little wacky off the field, but his repeated questionable handing of games at crunch time reared its head in the final moments of the narrow loss to Clemson in the Chik-Fil-A bowl. His numbers as a coach are good, he recruits well and heís won a national title. But is he ever confounding at times? Nothing to do but take the good with the bad, I suppose.

    Phil Paramoreís column appears Tuesdays in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekdays from noon until 2 on AM 560 WOOF, 100.1 FM or at He can be reached at the same website.