NCAA Football Gambling

Alabama hires Battle as athletic director

It dawned on me when some trustees and leaders of the university said, `We really want you to do this. This is a special time at the university, Battle said at his introductory news conference on Friday. I thought to myself, if I didnt do this, I would regret it for the rest of my life. Because its an opportunity to pay back the university, if I can, a great debt that I owed the university. If I dont do it, it would be a big mistake.

Im here as a labor of love to try to help any way I can. I know I have time. Im rested, Im not tired. I look forward to this challenge.

If Battle didnt necessarily run to the job, the silver-haired 71-year-old ultimately agreed to replace former Tide teammate Mal Moore, who is moving to a job as special assistant to President Judy Bonner because of health problems.

Trustees, including Paul Bryant Jr., lined seats next to the podium while football coach Nick Saban and wife Terry sat in the front row. Saban was the only coach to take a turn at the podium.

It wasnt just symbolic, either.

Saban has led the Tide to three of the last four BCS titles and the program hasnt given signs of retreating from regular national title contention any time soon.

Battle can appreciate that level of sustained success since he spent seven mostly successful seasons as Tennessees head coach in the 1970s and is the son of a coach and athletic director who grew up less than an hour away in Birmingham. He and Moore were part of Paul Bear Bryants 1961 national championship team.

Coach Saban is important, Battle said. What hes done in football, not many people have done in college sports. Hes gotten ahead of the field. We want to be supportive as we can be to his needs and his teams needs, give him the best chance to give his players the best chance to compete as we want to do with all of our coaches. Thats a critical relationship, but at the same time I want to learn from that guy. Hes good. Hes really good. Theres a lot of lessons that he teaches in his program that could be applicable to all of our lives and certainly to our athletic department.

Battle said he had only had brief conversations with Saban before sitting down with him in recent weeks.

Saban called him an outstanding choice and then invited him to attend practice, something he noted Moore and Bryant have often done.

Hes been a very successful player here, he was a very successful coach, hes been a very successful leader in the business world, Saban said. Certainly a first-class individual who is well respected by just about everybody that you ever can meet that know him. I was able to spend a significant amount of time with Bill in this process and in my experience here at the University of Alabama over the last six years.

Even though we lost a valuable statesman for the university in Mal Moore, he will continue to be with us a part of the university. But weve also added a gentleman that is going to be a first class person and a leader in our community as well as our university and our athletic department.

Battle founded Collegiate Licensing Company in 1981 and spent 21 years as president and CEO before selling the company in 2007.

He said the company employed some 150 people and generated more than $1 billion in revenue for universities over 26 years. Battle said he plans to spend his first six weeks on the job on a listening tour learning the task of overseeing the department, a job he acknowledged is out of his comfort zone.

Battle said one athletic director friend, whos not in the Southeastern Conference, said there are more cons than pros to the job.

Its a difficult job. I didnt take it to have fun, he said. That isnt why Im here. Its fun when you are in Miami and on the field celebrating the BCS championship. The fun is seeing people like [former Tide center] Barrett Jones and people like those merit scholars and the products of this university. But the job is never-ending and difficult.

Battle inherits the program at a time when college football is preparing to switch to a four-team playoff, though he cites regular season attendance levels as evidence basketballs regular season needs a boost. He said hes a supporter of the BCS but thinks the new method of choosing football national champions will work, too.

Theres nothing in the United States sports thats more important than the regular season of college football, Battle said. That has gotten to be a whole lot less of a situation in basketball. The NCAA tournament is magnificent. Its one of the great sports tournaments in the world, but the regular season needs help.

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Undefeated Big 12 rivals square off on Thursday night

Big 12 rivals Texas A&M Aggies and Oklahoma State Cowboys sit in a similar place with 3-0 records coming off a bye week. currently has the visiting Aggies as three point underdogs.

Aggies’ QB Jerrod Johnson will look to shake off last week’s poor performance versus Florida International when he threw four interceptions. He threw for 273 yards and three TD in a losing effort (36-31 score) against OSU last year. Sophomore RB Christine Michael leads the Aggies with 331 rushing yards and three TD, but he was helpless against OSU in 2009, rushing for 30 yards on nine carries and catching two passes for minus-4 yards.

Weeden has been incredible this season, completing 74-of-101 passes for 975 yards, 11 TD and only two interceptions. The Cowboys lead the nation with 392 passing YPG, thanks to Justin Blackmon’s nation-best 144 receiving YPG. Senior RB Kendall Hunter has also dominated with 513 total yards (473 rushing) and six touchdowns. Hunter missed last year’s meeting with A&M due to an ankle injury.

Oklahoma State is 4-10 SU against Texas A&M since the formation of the Big 12, but the Cowboys have won two straight, including a 56-28 beat-down in the last meeting in Stillwater in 2008. This betting trend supports the Cowboys to win a third straight game over A&M:

Play Against - Road underdogs (TEXAS A&M) - excellent passing team (>=275 PY/game) against a poor passing defense (230-275 PY/game), in conference games. (35-10 over the last 5 seasons.) (77.8%, +24 units. Rating = 3*).

For bettors looking to wager on the over-under, this trend expects the game to go Under the hefty 66.5 point total.

Play Under - Any team against the total (OKLAHOMA ST) - after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers against opponent after 2 consecutive games where they committed 4 or more turnovers. (39-12 since 1992.) (76.5%, +25.8 units. Rating = 3*).

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