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The Jumbo Package | 05.23.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Streeter Lecka

Alabama Man proclaims innocence, rolls Tide -

Alabama police conducted a drug raid on Wednesday. One arrested man talked to the local news.

YES.  This is awesome.  The mothership article I linked to made a point to draw attention to this (unquestionably innocent) man's pajama bottoms.  This struck a personal note for me, as I own shorts (they aren't pajamas, as they appear, even though they are the same material) almost exactly like those.  My wife  bought me a pair for my birthday last year (either as a joke, or because I'm she thinks I'm Gump enough to rock them*).  Evidence:

It's highly unlikely I'll ever be arrested while wearing them, but if I do ever run afoul of the law, I know how I'm ending my sentence when I enter my formal plea.

Now it can be said: Derrick Thomas is the greatest defensive player in Alabama history |

He’s just the fourth Alabama product to earn his way into both the College and Pro Football Halls. The others: Wide receiver Don Hutson from the 1930s, guard John Hannah from the 1970s and tight end Ozzie Newsome from the 1970s.

That means Derrick Thomas is the first defensive player from Alabama to be chosen for the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Follow that road to its logical conclusion, and it leads you here: Derrick Thomas is the greatest defensive player in Alabama history.

AHEM.  Thomas was the best defensive player in Bama history before some old farts decided to finally get around to inducting him.

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban not the most likable figure - ESPN

But the spine of SI’s argument is that, "Saban wins football games -- and doesn't seem to care what anyone else thinks." That has a ring of truth to it. But in a results-based business, is that enough to be so disliked? His players love him and fans of Alabama adore him. Who else is he supposed to please? He’s not a Walmart greeter, remember.

And besides, it doesn’t seem fair to characterize him as completely uncaring. When he was called the devil by a former aide a year ago, he said it was "terribly disappointing." He might be demanding, he said, "but it’s not personal."

When asked Wednesday if the SI report bothered him, Saban said, "I didn’t even know about it, so I guess it doesn’t really bother me." But judging by his follow up, it might have.

We all like to buy into the characterization of Saban as an unfeeling robot of a man, but that's not real life.  Saban is without question in the "legacy building" portion of his life/career, and no matter the number and scale of his professional successes, it still must suck to have so many strangers claim to hate you.  I'm not saying he's tossing and turning in bed at night over this, but I think there is definitely a part of him that is bothered by this type of garbage.

I don't want my use of the word "garbage" to convey the wrong idea.  I'm not putting the blame on Sports Illustrated.  In fact, I can't really put too much blame on the countless college football fans that hate Saban, as I have fallen prey to this same sentiment myself.  I've recounted on this blog several times that, in 2009, there wasn't a person on the planet that hated Lane Kiffin more than me.  Then he left Tennessee, and that hate disappeared like air from a popped balloon.  Was it fair to him as a fellow human for me to hate him then?  I don't think so.  Is it weird that I felt such strong feelings of contempt - feelings that proved to be incredibly fickle?

I'm not delusional enough to think that we're going to mine the depths of the human condition here, or ever be able to stop fans from feeling these intense and illogical emotions (it is, after all, what makes us die-hard fans), but I do think it is a worthwhile exercise for us as fans to occasionally take a moment to reflect on the fact that these are real people.  Real people that we often know very little about.

Commissioner Mike Slive expects autonomy to be hot topic for SEC meetings - ESPN

The SEC's spring meetings are next week in Destin, Florida, and convene without hot-button issues like expansion and football scheduling to worry about. That leaves plenty of time for the bid for autonomy by the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.

They're seeking decision-making powers in funding the full cost of scholarships, handling health care and other areas involving their athletes.

Other changes under consideration include providing money for families to travel to NCAA tournaments, more resources for academic and career counseling and creating mandatory break times from sports and overhauling transfer rules.

Informal ACC-SEC scheduling pact taking shape -

The ACC and SEC have created a de facto partnership as the lone power conferences to maintain an eight-game scheduling model entering the College Football Playoff. Naturally, these two will play each other in nonconference action, and the momentum is already shifting that way.

An SEC source said about four or five teams from each league are discussing potential home-and-home matchups for some time in the next 6-7 years. These would be new matchups aside from the permanent end-of-year rivalries such as Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina and Louisville-Kentucky. Neutral-site-heavy teams (think LSU/Alabama from the SEC and North Carolina/Virginia Tech from the ACC) are likely out of that mix, too, according to the source.

Kind of wish Bama could get on one of these home and homes, economics be hanged.

Super walk-off: Peyton Grantham's home run sends Alabama to 12-inning win over Nebraska |

With Alabama trailing by a run, freshman Marisa Runyon led off the seventh with a game-tying solo home run. Five innings and nearly an hour and a half later, fellow freshman Peyton Grantham followed suit with a game-winning home run to left-center.

The Crimson Tide came out on the right side of a game that tied for the longest in NCAA Super Regional history, winning 6-5 in the 12-inning, four-hour, 22-minute nailbiter. LSU and Missouri went 12 innings in a Super Regional in 2012.

*I have never worn them out of house.  A man has his limits.