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After another impressive start, Alabama experienced a rare break in recruiting success over the past few weeks, adding just two verbals during the month of April. That changed recently. Beginning May 16, the Trojans added three recruits -- none bigger than Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood Senior quarterback Cooper Bateman. For 'Bama, Bateman is a huge pickup and fills a major need. The quarterback is always a crucial position for any school, but becomes even more significant in Tuscaloosa following Phillips Sims' decision to transfer. And Bateman was a hot commodity: The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is the nation's No. 6 pro-style quarterback and chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn, Florida and LSU, among others. Defensive tackle Darius Paige and defensive end Jonathan Allen also committed over the weekend. After locking up last year's top class, Saban and Co. are primed for a repeat.
How hungry is the University of Alabama football fan base for the arrival of fall? Well, something as simple as the announcement of a kickoff time for the first game - 7 p.m. on Sept. 1 against Michigan, if you managed to miss it - caused a social media buzz. Of course, this isn't a run-of-the-mill opener. Both teams will be in this year's top 10 and both are unquestionably in history's Top Five. It's the sort of matchup usually reserved for the postseason, and even then it's rare. But with all the talk about the changes in postseason football, and particularly the new SEC-Big 12 "champions" matchup, doesn't it seem sensible that the conferences - especially what now appear to be the four soon-to-be super conferences (the SEC, the Big 10, the Big 12 and the Pac-12) should take charge of opening weekend as well. With the coming playoff, even a four-team playoff, it makes more sense than ever.
We asked the same question we did a year ago at this time ... and got the same response. If you could only watch one SEC game next season, the game that was absolutely the must-see game in the league, which one would it be? You the fans picked Alabama-LSU last year, and that's the game you picked again this year -- Alabama vs. LSU on Nov. 3 in Tiger Stadium. With more than 10,000 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, the Alabama-LSU game drew 42 percent of the vote. The Georgia-South Carolina game on Oct. 6 in Columbia, S.C., was second with 27 percent of the vote.
Kaila Hunt doesn't look like a power hitter, but she bats like one. The University of Alabama's sophomore shortstop hit 10 home runs last year as a rookie. Going into this weekend's Tuscaloosa Super Regional against Michigan, she has 19 and is within striking distance of the school record of 25 in a season set by Kelly Kretschman in 1998 - particularly if the second-seeded Crimson Tide can play its way back to the Women's College World Series with two victories against the Wolverines. It's fair to ask how Hunt, at 5-foot-6, generates that kind of power. "I think she's got one of the most fundamentally sound swings on the team," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. "We saw that way back in October, September, and she has the least amount of corrections (needed) on the team, just fundamentally very good, and she gets to the ball quick.
Anders said he plans to remain an amateur for the time being, continuing to train and avoid the pro ranks until he thinks he is ready. Dye believes Anders needs more amateur seasoning as well but sees high potential in his pupil and has found it more difficult to arrange fights for Anders as his reputation has begun to grow. "In MMA, when a guy kicks and misses, a lot of times he'll do a full circle and turn around," Dye said. "In one of Eryk's first fights, this guy went to kick Eryk, missed and when he spun to come back around and reset his position. Eryk just bull-rushed him before the guy could even turn back around. Eryk was just all over him, and that's something I've never seen anybody do. I've been coaching MMA for a few years, and I've never seen anyone do that."
6. Defending BCS national champion Alabama tries to rebuild its stingy defense. Alabama will have to replace many of the defensive stars that helped it win its second BCS national championship in three seasons. Gone are linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, cornerbacks DeQuan Menzie and Dre Kirkpatrick, and All-American safety Mark Barron.
Nick Saban knows exactly what he wants out of college football's new playoff system. Saban's both a progressive proponent of a plus-one playoff and a traditionalist who wants to see the bowls retain their importance, an optimist who sees no problems with the BCS method of selecting teams. For Saban, the playoff issue boils down to one simple problem. "It's the fact that when you have three teams, and it's only a two-team playoff, somebody gets left out," Saban said at the final stop on his Crimson Caravan tour in Columbus on Thursday. "I've always been for a plus-one." He'd also like to see a little tradition retained.
In April 1930, Crimson Tide head coach Wallace Wade shocked the Alabama community by announcing he was leaving at the end of the next season to take over the job at Duke University. Although the school was deluged with applications for the position, Wade recommended Georgia assistant Frank Thomas as his replacement.
The only way to stop Alabama at this point is to cut off the head. That's right, the lynchpin to Alabama's downfall is Nick
SatanSaban. While he's the big man in Tuscaloosa, the Tide will have no equals in the sense of dynasty. He's an excellent recruiter, an excellent coach, and has Alabama to a point where they can hardly be stopped for a game, much less a whole season. So how do you remove Saban from Alabama? Well, you lure him away, of course. But how do you do that? Well, I'll give you a hint. There is not a better job in college football, at least from where he's standing. Nobody could possibly walk into Nick Saban's office and convince him that they can offer him something better than he has at Alabama already. You probably can't out-pay Alabama, and even if you could, you cannot offer him a setting better than the one he's already established, where football is king and you're worshiped the way he is. The only way he's leaving is to give the NFL another try. Think about it: it's the one challenge he hasn't conquered yet. He's had top-ranked recruiting classes, won 3 national titles (between LSU and Alabama) , etc. The only thing he's yet to do is succeed in the NFL. You may remember he had a short, unsuccessful tenure with the Dolphins after leaving LSU. I think that an NFL team could have money to pay for him but also offer him the challenge that he's yet to conquer, therefore being the most likely route of his departure from the SEC. (ed.- you know its a slow news day when I link to someone who still uses the "Nick SatanSaban" joke.)
Any update on contract talks with Weeden and rookie running back Trent Richardson?: “No, really haven’t talked a whole lot about it. I think just because of, especially Trent, where we’re at, I think he wants to wait for some other [top picks to sign]. … They’ll all get done. It’s not a concern at all.”
It may seem like the most important thing in the world to take your tradition and your power and your holy vision of what once was to escape for greener pastures while the striking is still a possibility and not a faded memory, but it has an effect on more than just your selfish selves. It destroys more than just some stupid conference. But I wouldn't expect anyone to care. If you can make a few extra dollars, then good riddance to it all. Isn't that the American Way in the first place?
Phillips specifically mentioned two aspects of the ACC's recent media rights deal, reportedly worth $3.6 billion over the next 15 years. He mentioned two "look-in" windows -- one at five years and one at 10 years -- where the conference could potentially see an increase in the rights fee. He also revealed what many have assumed for a long time. Even in the ACC, football is driving media rights negotiations. "For example, in this latest contract with ESPN, 80 percent of it is generated by football," Phillips told TigerNet.com. "As good as basketball has been in the ACC, it is very evident just through this contract that the football has to be very, very relevant."
With the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the conference next season, the SEC came up with the 2012 schedule as a stopgap for the season. A permanent format for 2013 has yet to be decided and will be discussed next week at the SEC Spring Meetings. For his part, Muschamp supports sticking with an eight-game slate and playing the Tigers every season. “I like the every year playing LSU. I think that’s good. I think that’s good for the league,” he said. “It’s two national programs with the recent success we’ve both had. As far as how they rotate the other Western Division opponent, that’s up to (commissioner) Mike Slive and our athletic directors. I’m just in favor of still playing eight as far as SEC games.”
Tennessee tight end Cameron Clear was arrested and charged Tuesday with felony theft of between $1,000 and $9,999, according to the arrest warrant. He was being held on $2,500 bond at the Knox County Detention Center. Sources told ESPN.com that Clear has been accused of stealing from teammates.
“We could expand to some number,” Dodds tells CBSSports.com “You name the number — 12, 14, 16. We could expand but the question is ‘do we need to expand?’ In my mind 10 is perfect because you play everybody in football and there is a double-round-robin in basketball.” Fighting Irish head basketball coach Mike Brey told CBSSports.com yesterday that Notre Dame has ”contingency plans” if they decide to leave the Big East Conference.