The Crimson Tide wouldn't have won consecutive championships without holding sway over the region. Though the area lies well below sea level, South Alabama represents the territorial high ground for Nick Saban and the University of Alabama
Despite the ever-increasing emphasis on national recruiting, there is no denying the massive role that the Mobile region has played in Bama's recent success. When Saban arrived, Bama only had one player from the region. Six seasons later, if you list some of the biggest names that have donned the crimson in that span, you'll find a huge number of them have hailed from the port city area, including Julio Jones, Mark Barron, AJ McCarron, D.J. Fluker, T.J. Yeldon, C.J. Mosley. It really is quite a list and it underscores the importance that Mobile continues to play in maintaining this dynasty.
"When I saw that look on his face, I knew that was where he wanted to be," Claudia Gironda said. "I think you've got to follow your dream. He wants to be part of something great."
I like this kid already. In a quiet, Pennsylvania town, a fullback from a small high school sat staring in amazement at a letter that promised him very little. Despite the lack of assurances, he seems blown away by the good fortune to even have a chance to suit up for Bama. These are the kind of human interest pieces that really make you root for a kid, and I wish him the best of luck.
In the bigger scheme, it's a bit interesting that we're inviting a pure fullback to walk on. We've had a couple in-between guys recruited over the last few years, but we have not seen an emphasis on true fullbacks. If Gironda works out, it could be an indication that Bama's flirtation with the I-formation the first few games of 2012 (before Jalston Fowler's injury) is less of a fling and more of a preview of things to come.
"I'll tell you what - and, of course, I was here before so I knew exactly what I was getting into - we're very competitive," Malzahn said last week. "We have high goals and high dreams at Auburn. So I really enjoy it and am looking forward to it."
There's a lot of boilerplate back-patting going on in this article from both parties. One part of that that jumps out at me is the bit about Malzahn being highly respected in the coaching community. There's no doubt that Malzahn made some waves during his first stint at Auburn, and most observers pretty much split the credit for the 2010 championship between Cam Newton and Malzahn, but I'm not completely sold on him. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I think there's a better than 50-50 chance that Malzahn's whole schtick is fool's gold.
Over the three years that Malzahn was offensive coordinator, Auburn's passing offenses were generally anemic (averaging 75.66 in the country over that span). Even in 2010, with a Heisman winner under center and a veteral offensive line, they were only 66th in the country. So what does this tell us? That Malzahn's success is heavily predicated on the run, which in turn is dependent on misdirection. My instinct is that this misdirection will be harder to come by the more time passes and teams are able to analyze tendencies, meaning the Malzahn experiment could easily prove to be a short lived one.
According to the Miami Herald, Sports Illustrated is in the final stages of writing an expose about the NCAA and its investigation of Miami's athletics program. That expose will reportedly include a not-previously-published allegation from Nevin Shapiro.
Shapiro told SI that he used inside information obtained from UM coaches to gamble on Hurricanes football games, according to the sources.
How many kicks does it take to get to the center of a dead horse? The NCAA has to be ready to put this entire Miami debacle behind them, but the story seems to refuse to die.
4) A.J. McCarron – 97 OVR
This feels maybe just a smidge high. McCarron has elite weapons like T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper and is protected by what is essentially a giant stone wall of five-star recruits. However, the guy has won two straight titles and spends his time choosing between which model to date. Who am I to be a hater? Roll Tide.
6) C.J. Mosley – 97 OVR
One of the best linebackers in football, the Alabama senior totaled 107 tackles (8 for loss), 4 sacks, 2 picks and a forced fumble last year. Considering Nick Saban's defense will likely be at the top of the pack again this year, there is nothing to dispute here.
For you gamers out there, it looks like playing as your favorite team will once again mean having a built in advantage, as the Crimson Tide has a 99 ranking for all categories (overall, offense, and defense). Oregon's offense was the the only other team to score a 99 in any of the categories.