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Missouri suspends QB Maty Mauk indefinitely after video surfaces


COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk has been suspended indefinitely.

Athletic director Mack Rhodes and coach Barry Odom announced the punishment on Monday night after a brief video was posted to Twitter. It shows a person appearing to snort a white, powder-like substance and the accompanying tweet mentions Mauk by name, but there was no confirmation from Missouri that the video shows the quarterback.

Rhodes and Odom say in their joint statement they are “gathering information regarding the video in question.” They say they will take “appropriate action” once they have all the facts.

It is Mauk’s third suspension in the last four months. He was suspended in September for an undisclosed violation of team policy and again in November for unspecified disciplinary reasons.

WARNING: Video contains explicit images.

Reggie Ragland is the (smiling) face of Alabama’s defense

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Reggie Ragland stands out on Alabama’s defense when the spotlight’s on.

He’s usually the one smiling. The All-America linebacker is the guy cracking jokes and reciting lines from his favorite movies at practice, the happy-go-lucky star on a team that often seems to mirror coach Nick Saban’s sternly stoic, all-business demeanor.

Ragland is the (smiling) face of the Crimson Tide’s defense going into Monday night’s national championship game against Clemson.

“I’m enjoying this moment and opportunity that I get,” he said. “Not a lot of people get this experience. So why not have fun with it?”

Most teammates and coaches looked all business when they stepped into a packed room for campus media day last week. Not Ragland, who burst through the door with a wide grin and a “How y’all doing?”

He’s not just the class cutup who can get away with calling coach Nick Saban “Nicholas,” but also one of the best players on the nation’s top-rated defense.

Ragland returned for his senior season instead of turning pro for the chance to graduate, fulfilling a promise to his mother when he got his consumer affairs degree in December. He moved into the play calling role for Alabama’s defense and became a unanimous All-American.

Ragland’s 97 tackles are 33 more than the Tide’s No. 2 tackler, fellow linebacker Reuben Foster. He was a Butkus Award finalist.

No wonder Ragland is smiling.

“It’s been great,” he said. “I’ve got something I can fall back on in my future, and hopefully I helped my stock. I really came back to get my degree and play with these guys. You don’t get too many moments like this.”

Ragland is the latest in a chain of `Bama linebacking stars, filling a role once occupied by current NFL players like C.J. Mosley and Rolando McClain.

“He’s as valuable as anybody to this defense,” Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones said. “Alabama defenses, the great ones, have always had a great middle linebacker, a great leader out there setting the tone. I think he does that.”

Ragland just does it with a sense of flair and personality. He was one of the first players to reach out and support freshman safety Ronnie Harrison when he arrived on campus, helping him push through offseason workouts.

“He’s like the Ray Lewis of our defense,” Harrison said. “He keeps everybody in line. He makes all the checks, all the calls. He makes sure everybody’s on the same page. He really keeps us in line.

“He always keeps us loose. He always recites old movie lines and stuff at practice. He keeps us loose and keeps us going.”

Ragland’s favorite flicks include “Soul Men” and “Friday,” where some of those lines come from.

He said he was never bashful about joking around with the intimidating Saban, even as an underclassman.

If they pass each other in the hall, Saban might say, “Hello, Reginald.” That draws the obvious response: “Hello Nicholas.”

If players like A’Shawn Robinson and Derrick Henry – and Saban, too – often take on unsmiling demeanors in public forums, Ragland favors a different style.

“That’s how they are when the camera comes on,” he said. “That’s just their personality. Me, I’m different. I like to smile and cut up with everybody.”

Alabama on verge of unprecedented run, with Clemson in the way


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Regardless of the outcome of Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, a case can be made that no team in the history of the sport has had a better run than the Crimson Tide under coach Nick Saban.

If Alabama beats the Tigers to win a fourth national title in seven seasons, the argument may be settled.

There was talk early in the season after Alabama lost to Mississippi that the Tide dynasty was in decline. Now Alabama (13-1) is one victory away from an unprecedented achievement.

The Tide can become just the third school in college football’s poll era, dating back to the creation of The Associated Press media poll in 1936, to win four championships in a 10-year span.

Notre Dame won four in seven seasons from 1943-49, but big-time college football is hardly comparable now to then. Those Fighting Irish didn’t play in bowl games and never needed more than nine victories to be the best in the country.

Miami won four championships in nine seasons (1983-91), but none of those teams had to play more than 12 games.

Alabama’s four championships under Saban, who took over in 2007, have all come in at least 13-game seasons.

“I mean, it’s incredible,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Sunday during a news conference with Saban. Swinney heaped so much praise on his counterpart during the half-hour session with reporters that Saban looked a little uncomfortable.

“Coach Saban, what he’s done, I mean, he’s one of the greatest coaches that ever coached the game,” Swinney said.

Saban also has a BCS title from his time at LSU, giving him four overall. Only former Alabama coach Bear Bryant with six has more.

“This is the first one I’ve sniffed as a coach, and he’s going for his fifth,” said Swinney, who is in his eighth season at Clemson. “It’s incredible.”

Clemson has one national championship to its credit. Behind Danny Ford, an Alabama native and former Tide player for Bryant, the Tigers won the title in 1981 by beating favored Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

The Tigers are back on the biggest stage and again being led by an Alabaman and former Tide player. Swinney grew up near Birmingham and played for Alabama when Gene Stallings was the coach in the early 1990s. He was on the Tide team that won a national championship in 1992, upsetting Miami in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama then went through a long dry spell until Saban arrived.

“People will say, well, anybody can go win at Alabama,” Swinney said. “Not everybody can coach a great team. Not everybody can coach a great player, and I think he has a gift to be able to do that.”

Under Swinney, the Tigers have won at least 10 games each of the last five seasons, just like Alabama. And Clemson has its own shot at history: If the Tigers win the national title, they would become the first team to achieve a 15-0 season.

“We want to be a program that is competing at this level on a consistent basis and I think to do that, you’ve got to be a top-10, top-15 type program year in and year out,” Swinney said.

Alabama has been even better than that. Since going 7-6 in Saban’s first season, the Tide is 97-12 and has never finished out of the final AP top 10.

No surprise: Saban has not been part of the legacy talk this week. Pondering his place in history won’t help his players Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“I owe them as the leader of the organization,” Saban said. “I owe them our best as coaches and people who can support them to give them the best opportunity to be successful in the next challenge that they have.

“So I’ve got no time to think about that stuff.”