Under Bowden, between 1987 and 2000, the Seminoles won two national championships and finished in the top five of The Associated Press poll every year. Can Bowden picture Alabama reaching a similar plateau under coach Nick Saban? After all, on Sunday the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award was presented to Saban for the second time in the past three years. "I think Alabama has a tougher time," Bowden said at a pre-banquet news conference. He was referring to the strength of the Southeastern Conference, which has won six consecutive national championships. "You've got too many good teams," Bowden said. "I don't know how you keep winning in that league. It only takes one slipup and you're out. "Is Alabama capable of doing that? Yeah, but everybody else is better, too. But if they did it, it wouldn't surprise me."
At times,UA was outmuscled on the backboards. At other times, it made inexplicable turnovers, or failed to execute on defensively generated fast break chances. Some of the failures were physical, but more of the lapses seemed mental. In other words, the team Alabama fans never wanted to see again made an unwelcome appearance at precisely the wrong time of year to make it. The fact is, when Alabama is bad, it can be downright bad. The Crimson Tide simply doesn't have the firepower to score 75 points in a game, except once in a blue moon.
A 60-51 loss to the Rebels means Alabama finished alone in fifth place. Most importantly, it means the Tide will march into college basketball's postseason will less momentum. It has averaged 53 points per game in its past two games. "It's just going to make our journey a little tougher," Alabama senior forward JaMychal Green said Saturday. "We'll be ready for it. I think we're going to bounce back from this game."
The top ranked Alabama softball team used timely pitching and clutch hitting to score four unanswered runs to knock off UAB, 4-1, in the finale of the Easton Alabama Invite Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium. With the win the Crimson Tide improve to 17-0, tying the third best start in school history. UA swept through the tournament, going 4-0 on the weekend. Sophomore pitcher and tournament MVP Jackie Traina pitched three perfect innings in relief to win her third game of the tournament, improving to 10-0 on the season. The right-hander struck out two and finished the tournament with an unblemished 0.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
It's a big spring for the likes of Kenny Bell, Christion Jones, DeAndrew White and Kevin Norwood, four of many scholarship receivers who will vie for more significant playing time. Norwood and Bell are the most experienced of those, but neither could be considered SEC-seasoned. White was starting in the three-receiver set during fall camp scrimmages last year, was drawing praise from UA coach Nick Saban, and looked primed for production. But White's playing time wasn't what most expected, and he was only able to show occasional flashes in game action. Tight end Michael Williams returns as an experienced veteran who is effective both as a blocker and receiver. If an effective H-back receiver doesn't develop in the spring, Williams could be more of a passing target in the fall.
"We have a lot of rebuilding to do," Saban said. "We have a lot of young players that are going to get an opportunity. We had nine players at the Combine, so obviously we lost a lot of good players on both sides of the ball, but I've been pleased with the way they've worked in the offseason. "We're looking forward to spring practice, and I'm sure they are as well."
The best plan going forward is definitely keeping the divisions and permanent rivals as they currently stand. However if it comes down to a choice of realignment or killing off permanent rivals, then I'm going with permanent rivals. Either way, something gets lost, but in realignment I feel like less is lost than in doing away with permanent rivals. I will note that if you agree to sacrifice Alabama-Tennessee, then you can take the current divisions and then trade Auburn for Missouri. Bama would get Auburn as a permanent rival, and Missouri would get Georgia. That allows you make perfect geographic sense, keep a balance, and fulfill all of the other series I mentioned except Ole Miss-Tennessee. I just don't want to be the one who has to tell them that the Third Saturday in October is off, though.
Agrinzonis, though, knows his future will require him to make a living outside of football. And he hasn’t ruled out trying to walk on at Maryland, FIU, FAU or West Florida, all schools that have accepted him. But, if the financials can be worked out, he’d love to play four more years. "I want to use football to get a good education," he said. "I’m proud of myself that I don’t have to rely on it. Some kids, if it’s not football, it’s like, ‘I’ll probably end up going to a community college of something.’ I’m just glad I have options." (ed.- great read on how lower division schools recruit.)
Brendan Langley confirmed the reports that Alabama and UGA are his co-leaders at defensive back but … The 6-foot-1, 187-pound cornerback from Kell High School, also wanted to disclose something else about his co-leaders: "They’re also the only two schools I’ve visited so far," said Langley, who attended UGA’s V.I.D. or "Very Important Dawg" junior day on Saturday. "They’re definitely my two favorite schools. But I also want to go down to Florida. I’m planning on visiting Tennessee this weekend, and I also want to see South Carolina. Once I’ve seen all those schools, then I feel like I will have seen enough to make a good decision."