Telltale stretch: The first half of the season should be a breeze for Alabama. The second half, on the other hand, will not. Texas A&M will come to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 18, and we all know what happened the last time the Aggies came to town. Granted Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans won’t be around, but receivers like Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil are ones to watch. Then there are road trips to Tennessee and LSU. The Vols will be having a hard time of it since no starter returns on either the offensive or defensive line, but the Bayou Bengals are perennially Alabama’s biggest challenge. Throw in home games against a dangerous Mississippi State team and an Auburn squad looking to prove last year was no fluke, and you’re looking at a stretch of games in which the Tide will be forced to dig deep to survive.
Not much of a front-end on Bama's schedule this year. And the records on those out-of-conference games? WOOF. Hopefully, some of those schools (West Virginia, Southern Miss) can turn it around a bit and win a few more of their games. That uptick (coupled with what will hopefully be a better Florida team) will go a long ways in helping our strength of schedule go from "dreadful" to at least "mediocre".
IV. The NCAA's core legal argument The NCAA insists that O'Bannon's claims are baseless. In the NCAA's view, amateurism rules are essential to the NCAA attracting fans. If college athletes were regarded as professionals, the NCAA charges, fans would be less interested in college sports. Expert economists for the NCAA and O'Bannon disagree firmly about this point. Wilken will examine their dueling arguments.
The NCAA also identifies amateurism rules as essential to creating competitive balance in college sports. Without these rules, there would purportedly be great imbalance between colleges and conferences, with big-money schools buying up all of the best athletic talent. O'Bannon's attorneys dismiss this rationale as flawed, arguing that a massive imbalance between colleges and conferences already exists.
I'm no expert, but if I was advising here, I would think the NCAA would have a much better chance if their tent-pole argument was something else. Do I think there are a number of fans (particularly old-timers) that would find paying players utterly distasteful? Yes. Do I believe that fans at large would suddenly be less interested in the sport? No, not at all.
To be honest, I would wager that the vast majority of fans at present have no idea what the players currently receive. Between the meals, academic assistance, and any of the other myriad of perks the players receive, why would anyone suddenly find the game less enjoyable if a player were to also receive compensation? Particularly, if those payments didn't come from the school. Which is why I don't understand this tent-pole argument. Letting players off the leash to allow them to capitalize on their own likenesses destroys amateurism, but not in a way that would turn off fans.
As far as payments from the schools go, I do believe there is a threshold, and maybe that threshold is what the NCAA is trying to preserve with this stance. For instance, I think "cost of attendance", where athletes would get an extra couple thousand dollars probably wouldn't bother anyone, but paying six figures to a kid (feasibly, only a handful of stars), would cause many to recoil.
It just seems that the defense is too broad, or ill-defined to me. What do you guys think?
Warmack committed to Alabama in July 2013 and is the younger brother of former Tide star Chance Warmack.
"I'm still very firm to Bama," Warmack told 247Sports Thursday.
"I'm just talking to schools since they're showing interest. "I'm just trying to decide if Alabama is the right fit or if another school is."
"It went great," said Thompson, who is also being recruited by the Tide at defensive end.
"I had a good time with everything, met some players. It felt good up there. They said I fit good (in the defense). I could come in and work hard and fight for playing time, stuff like that."
I was hesitant to link this article, as all the experts put Alabama on the outside looking in for this race, but I really enjoyed this quote. Bama has the number one guy in the country come in and is he offered playing time? Told he'll be a star? Nope. He's told he can "work hard and fight for playing time". If that doesn't get your juices flowing, I don't know what will.
Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Jones played in only five games last year before fracturing his left foot in a game against the New York Jets on Oct. 7. When he went down, Jones led the NFL with 41 receptions and ranked second with 580 receiving yards.
I tried fantasy football last year for the first time in four years or so, and managed to land an impressive number of Bama players. Like, all of them. Julio, Trent, Ingram, Lacy, I even picked up Mark Barron. When Julio went down, though, I lost interest completely. Here's hoping Julio can stay healthy this year.