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The Jumbo Package | 2.16.12

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A statue for Sarah Patterson? Bloggers say yes |

In her 34 year coaching career, University of Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson has led the Crimson Tide to five NCAA Championships, seven SEC Championships, has won NCAA Coach of the Year honors four times and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Like many of the Crimson Tide's former football coaches who have been honored with bronze statues on campus, Patterson has dominated her sport like few other in its history. So does she deserve a statue on campus like her football counterparts? Some Alabama fans think so and have started a movement on social media to grow support for the idea.

Alabama coach Nick Saban first two-time recipient of the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award |

Nick Saban keeps on winning. Alabama's sixth-year coach was named this year's recipient of the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday present by the Over the Mountain Touchdown Club. Saban was honored for leading Alabama to its 14th national title with a 21-0 win over LSU on Jan. 9 in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans. The game underscored a 12-1 season, including the Crimson Tide's second national championship in three seasons under Saban.

Conference realignment: Missouri, Texas A&M will regret leaving the Big 12 |

Texas A&M: Regrets. The Aggies left the Big 12 for one reason. To get away from Texas. Except the Ags are going to realize, they didn't get away from the Longhorns. In the boardrooms and courtrooms and teacher lounges all across Texas, there will be Texas Exes, grinning at A&M's struggles to overcome Alabama or LSU or Auburn. And the only satisfaction A&M ever got in this bad-blood rivalry – beating Texas – now is gone.

Spring practices mark another college football season - ESPN

Can defending national champion Alabama replace most of its secondary? The Crimson Tide were hit by heavy personnel losses, especially in the secondary, where cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie and All-America safety Mark Barron left. Rising junior Dee Milliner is the only returning cornerback with any experience, so junior college transfers Deion Belue of Northeast Mississippi Community College and Travell Dixon of Eastern Arizona College -- who both enrolled at Alabama early -- will get long, hard looks this spring. - HURT: Is Grant doing the right thing?

Let's be clear: If Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green are playing to their capabilities, they are Alabama's best two players, guys with the size and athletic prowess to defend and score at a high level. So to judge Alabama's results without them, and compare those to preseason expectations that assumed they would be available, defeats the purpose. It proves a proposition that is obvious: Alabama is a diminished basketball team without them. But it also worth noting that, given their ever-changing moods, Alabama sometimes struggled with them. The anomaly of the season isn't that Alabama lost to LSU and Florida without them. It's that the Crimson Tide lost to lowly South Carolina, and got run out at home by Vanderbilt, with them. And then there is the tantalizing flip side, the old "little curl with a curl" adage in action - when they were good, they were very good in playing Kentucky to the final minute, or blowing out Auburn at Auburn (a game that Mitchell missed, though Green played and played well).

NBA scouts say Anthony Davis is surefire top draft pick; more analysis - Ben Glicksman -

8. Which player's stock has dropped the most this season?
The most significant drop belongs to Alabama's Tony Mitchell, who plummeted from a fringe lottery to a likely undrafted selection over the past two months. He averaged 15.2 points per game and garnered Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament MVP honors during his stellar stretch through December, but averaged just 8.3 points in his last six games before being sentenced to an indefinite team suspension for unspecified reasons on Feb. 6. It's caused evaluators to question his maturity -- and dismiss his first round potential. "That's obviously a red flag for us," said an NBA scout. "If this discussion were Dec. 15, he'd have been in the first round. You don't like suspending your best player, so it must have been fairly egregious for that to have happened."

Softball Rankings: Week 1 -

The Alabama softball team checked in at No. 2 in both the USA Today/NFCA and Softball polls, the organizations announced Tuesday. The Crimson Tide earned three first place votes in each poll. Alabama jumped up one spot in the NFCA poll and remained in the No. 2 spot in the USA Softball top 25. Florida jumped to No. 1 in the NFCA rankings while Cal claimed the top spot on In the NFCA poll, The Gators, who went 5-0 last week, received 16 of 30 first-place votes and were followed in the poll by SEC rival Alabama (5-0), which received three. Moving up one spot from fourth to third was California (4-0), which finished the voting three points behind the Crimson Tide, despite notching 10 first-place votes. Oklahoma (5-0) also moved up a spot from fifth to fourth, while Arizona State, which received the remaining first-place vote, dropped four spots to fifth, rounding out the top five.

Cassie Reilly-Boccia | Softball 2012 | Lowe's Senior CLASS Award

Reilly-Boccia participated in disaster relief and assisted displaced victims from the Tuscaloosa tornado. She assisted Notre Dame Student Athletes on their Rebuild Tuscaloosa trip and participated in Read Across America in Elementary Schools throughout Tuscaloosa. She is a member of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (Softball team adopted a young girl who had suffered from a brain tumor). She volunteered for the Alabama Athletics Student Athlete Advisory Committee Halloween Extravaganza, the Crossing Points program at Recreational Center and the University of Alabama Stallings’s Center with RISE Program. She helped with the Beat Auburn, Beat Hunger (canned food drive), the Easter Seals Walk With Me, fundraiser, Project Angel Tree fundraiser for disadvantaged youths and families in Tuscaloosa and West Alabama and she spoke to and assisted with little league softball teams at their practices

Tide lined up for success in 2012 | The Crimson White

Perhaps one of the biggest pieces to the Tide’s lineup will be Meridian (Miss.) Community College transfer Kenny Roberts. The talented second baseman batted .399 with 12 home runs, 48 RBI and 96 runs scored this season – Roberts also posses good speed on the base paths, stealing 21 bases in 26 attempts while at Meridian. Head coach Mitch Gaspard said he plans to use Roberts in the two-hole of the lineup. "I think he’s going to be a terrific offensive player," Gaspard said in an interview with The Birmingham News. "He’s a guy that has power, kind of a Kirby Puckett-type guy."

Baseball Picked to Finish Third in SEC Western Division -

The Alabama baseball team is picked to finish third in the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference preseason coaches poll, as announced by the conference on Monday. The Tide finished tied for second in the SEC Western Division a year ago with a 14-16 conference record. Alabama is coming off a 35-28 campaign in 2011, advancing to the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, and return 21 letterwinners and six starters from last year’s squad. Third-year head coach Mitch Gaspard has guided the Tide back-to-back second place Western Division finishes in his first two years at The Capstone.

Larry Scott, Pac-12 networks look to break sports media frontiers - Stewart Mandel -

The Pac-12 begins with one notable advantage that most recent sports start-ups lacked: It's already secured distribution deals with the four biggest cable companies -- Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Bright House -- in its geographic footprint. In Pac-12 states, the national and/or appropriate regional network (Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Southern California, Arizona or Colorado/Utah) will be available on basic cable from day one. The national network will be available on those companies' digital sports tiers in other parts of the country. Whereas the five-year-old Big Ten Network spent its first year in contentious negotiations with cable networks (today it has 45 million subscribers and is available in 80 million homes), and the first-year Longhorn Network is still only available to a scant few, the Pac-12 can already claim its networks will be available in 40 million homes. It does not yet have deals with DirecTV, Dish or other satellite providers.