Mike Slive helped propose the plus-one plan to find a national champion in football and says actual change remains a couple years away even if everyone can agree on changes to the Bowl Championship Series. The Southeastern Conference commissioner said Wednesday a decision could be made later this year but cautioned it's premature to speculate on what changes might be made. He says they need time to sit down and analyze plans with discussions needed among the conferences. "Really a lot of this discussion is premature, and I want to respect the process that we're in," Slive told members of the Nashville Sports Council during a question-and-answer session. "We've had four-year formats since we started. We've done it on the basis of four years, so each four-year period you have to sit down and decide what format is going to be going forward. So we have decided to sit down and talk about this from every different side."
The Big Ten's plan calls for semifinalists to get home field advantage and for the championship game to tour the country instead of just rotating between four Sun Belt cities -- fine ideas all around. Just getting to play against the No. 4 team instead of the No. 3 team is no real reward for being ranked No. 1, and college towns instead of tourist towns should get playoff game revenue. And of course it's the Big Ten that's recommended this, since the usual postseason destinations (I see you, Ford Field!) give warm-weather teams an advantage. The thinking is those SEC teams that have dominated the sport wouldn't be so great if they had to play semifinal games in Michigan instead of Florida and California. The Big Ten's record in BCS title games since 2002 is 0-2, with losses to SEC teams in Louisiana (indoors!) and Arizona. Ohio State's lone bowl win over a SEC team was later redacted. SEC teams get to play bowl games in Southern cities, and they don't travel to play the Big Ten. They don't really travel to play anybody. To the Big Ten fan, this appears to be a great shame on the SEC, while the SEC fan regards this fact with the same level of interest as Hussite War tactics in 1426.
Alabama’s Nick Saban has his eyes on UGA’s top football recruit for 2013. The coach of the BCS champions recently made a personal appearance to let QB Brice Ramsey of Camden County High School know that he’s a priority for the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ramsey has been committed to UGA since last summer, since before the start of his junior year. Alabama, along with UGA, Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, had actually offered Ramsey as a sophomore. Saban is aware that Ramsey is pledged to UGA but isn’t fazed. (ed.- how evil. sounds like someth...nevermind.)
Will Alabama's botched courtship of Philon cause the Crimson Tide to lose its foothold in Mobile's fertile recruiting ground? "I don't think it will have a big effect, not in Mobile," said St. Paul's coach Steve Mask, a 30-year coaching veteran whose team includes at least three Division I prospects. "The bottom line is they're still Alabama. ... You have to look at how they've done in the past. Maybe this is an isolated incident, but historically they've lived up to doing what they said they'd do."
Four players already committed to Alabama, two Auburn commits and four in-state players are on the 2013 Rivals 100 list of top college prospects released Wednesday. Alabama commitment Reuben Foster, a linebacker from LaGrange (Ga.) Troup, was No. 2 on the list, just behind top-rated Robert Nkemdiche, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end from Loganville (Ga.) Grayson. The 6-2, 228-pound Foster had 185 tackles and 14 sacks as a junior in 2011. Other Alabama commitments on the list included Rivals' top-rated in-state player, Autauga Academy tight end O.J. Howard (No. 35), North Little Rock (Ark.) running back Altee Tenpenny (No. 20) and Fultondale athlete ArDarius Stewart (No. 75).
"This is the earliest we've released a numerical Rivals100 and Thursday will be the earliest we release a numerical Rivals250," said Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell. "Other sites were releasing stars and lists before prospects even play a down of their junior season and we just don't see the value in that. Our rankings have always been the most revered and respected in the industry and we wanted to do our due diligence rather than rush out a list that isn't as researched."
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama: Five-star running backs typically do not sit because they're not likely to be in school four years anyway. Eddie Lacy is the presumed starter with Trent Richardson going pro, but Nick Saban likes to use two backs and Yeldon, a versatile talent who should also be a weapon in the passing game, could slip into that complementary role much like Richardson did in 2009. If he does, it might mean a position change for Jalston Fowler.
At the University of Alabama, the list of Tweeters includes most - not all, but most - of the football and basketball players. As you'd expect, most of those athletes have plenty of followers, although their accounts tend to be fairly mundane and occasionally indecipherable. From a vantage point on the far side of the generation gap, it is sometimes hard to keep up when comments are lyrics from rap or hip-hop or pop, or quotes from movies that I haven't seen. They can be misleading, but it's quite possible that, had Twitter been around in my college days, I might have tweeted "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli," without actually meaning that I was packing a firearm. Still, following UA athletes is both necessary and enlightening, particularly in these days of limited media access. It's a window - and a fairly unfiltered one - into an athlete's daily life, and one approaches writing about it all with some trepidation in case it results in the window slamming shut.
On the surface, it would appear that Alabama’s gymnastics meet with Kentucky this weekend would fall into the "trap game" category. The Crimson Tide put together its best team score since 2004 last weekend and will host No. 3 Arkansas in the annual "Power of Pink" meet next week. So, how does Alabama avoid a letdown in Lexington on Friday? Head coach Sarah Patterson is using a simple metaphor this week: fire. "We were on fire at the Florida meet," Patterson said. "Then, we kind of let the fire go out, and it was smoldering. And now, the key is to ramp it back up so that when we go into Kentucky, the fire comes back."
The Wildcats enter the weekend ranked 26th in the nation overall with a season average of 194.095. Kentucky is also ranked in the top 32 on every event, including 24th on vault with a season average of 48.8. UK is 26th overall on balance beam with an average of 48.345, while its uneven bars average of 48.420 is 29th in the nation. The Wildcats are ranked 32nd on floor exercise with an average of 48.530. No. 2 Alabama is coming off its best performance of the season where they defeated highly ranked Florida 197.725-196.9 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide hold a 6-0 record this season, including a 3-0 mark against SEC competition. The 2011 NCAA National Champions have the second-highest average in the nation this season at 196.675, while also ranking first on vault with an average of 49.475. The Tide are also fifth on floor, sixth on balance beam and 10th on uneven bars. Senior Ashley Priess is ranked first in the nation in the all-around competition, while fellow senior Geralen Stack-Eaton is second in the nation on vault. Sophomore Diandra Milliner is the reigning SEC Gymnasts of the Week after scoring a perfect 10.0 score on vault last week.
Veteran sports reporter, broadcaster, and photographer, Robert W. Callighan announced today the release of Alabama/Auburn, The Ultimate in Iron Bowl Trivia, published by Outskirts Press. In this fascinating compendium of trivia about the classic Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn War Eagles rivalry, Callighan provides football fans with hours of entertainment and an essential education for any readers vying to become true Iron Bowl Trivia Experts.
With the softball season ready to start, season tickets are going fast. General admission Brickyard season tickets are still available with the section being expanded into centerfield. Brickyard season tickets cost $40. The ticket has office sold 1,920 season tickets thus far with 312 being in the Brickyard and are looking to move that total to 400.
There is transcontinental conquest, and then there is straight-up hoarding, and we need to talk about the Big East’s behavior and its recent veer toward the latter. No major-conference program is hankering to hitch its wagon to this sputtering star, so raiding the mid-majors is a necessity. But Memphis football is the stack of rotting newspapers in this scenario. "But I need it!" No, Big East. You really don’t. You’re hurting your brand. You’re hurting yourself. Memphis’ financial straits regarding athletic revenue have been well-documented, its on-field product reviled as pale and listless. The Tigers haven’t won more than two games in a season since a 6-7 2008 campaign that culminated in a 41-14 walloping by USF in the St. Petersburg Bowl. The last time they went to a bowl game and actually won was 2005. This is an addition in name only, and one that dilutes a football brand that can ill afford it.
In the early running, Texas A&M will have a lot of issues. Losing the volume and quality of talent it did in 2011 will hurt, especially on offense, as the program moves into a league -- and, particularly, a division -- known for defense. Ryan Tannehill wasn't great last year, but his experience helped, and Jeff Fuller and Cyrus Gray are a pair of NFL players who don't roll around every year. I like the talent on campus at A&M a lot, though. They're just going to be young for now. With what they have now, they'll get better and better, as long as Kevin Sumlin does well. Based on what we've seen from his career, I think he will. Beyond these first three to four years, how well they progress will depend on recruiting. The Aggies think the SEC will be a big draw for Texas recruits who want to play in the best conference in college football. Being able to offer that could help them surpass Texas on the recruiting trail and on the field.