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Jumbo Package: Thursday, 15 January 2015

Links, Lagniappe, and Interesting Reads

Auburn hires away Alabama LB coach Lance Thompson -

Auburn has hired Alabama linebackers coach Lance Thompson to the same position on Gus Malzahn's defensive staff.

Not sure it was "Auburn hires away Thompson" so much as Saban invited him to find another position elsewhere. Might Lupoi move to the field now, with most of the UW investigations behind him?

Baseball Officially Opens Indoor Hitting Facility

The Alabama baseball team officially opened the team's hitting facility on Wednesday afternoon. The brand-new structure provides the team with an indoor training area that allows for year-round preparation for current and former players.

We'll have more on this later today from Roger, who was there at the opening ceremony. The "New Joe" is going to be beautiful, FWIW. Think "Hoover Met" in small form.

University of Alabama's quad named among 'most beautiful,' 'iconic'

UA's quad earned an accolade from Business Insider this year. "The Quad at the center of UA's campus once hosted football games, but now might be best known as the home of Denny Chimes, a 115-foot tower," the piece reads.

Speaking of beautiful, anyone that has spent any time at the Quad strolling, napping, walking hand-in-hand across, scrambling to get to class, fending off hangovers, etc. knows what a special place this is.

Teams to watch in the 2015 SEC race

Teams to watch in the 2015 SEC race: Georgia Bulldogs look like class of East, while Auburn and Alabama should duel for West honors.

Early results are in: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. My suspicion is that these are lazy picks at this point. It's easy to say "Alabama, Auburn" are gonna' win the west," while wholly ignoring how vastly improved Texas A&M is likely to be: Most of the talent was exceptionally young, the Ags have a functional DC now, and Sumlin is likely to lean on the running game more.  LSU, on the other hand, looks to take a step back.

7 early enrollees start classes at Auburn, get ready for 2015

The six players join running back Jovon Robinson, who practiced with Auburn during bowl preparations in December. Two potential quarterbacks and an instant-impact defensive lineman highlight the list of newcomers who started classes Wednesday at Auburn.

Want to read about Auburn? Me either. But, the takeaway here is that I don't remember the last time Auburn had a quarterback who enrolled as a freshman and actually graduated. There is no mistake, the Plains are simply the SEC's developmental squad for Jucos and one-and-dones.

SEC Releases 2015 Softball TV Schedule

The Southeastern Conference has announced its televised slate of 2015 softball games and defending SEC Champion Alabama is set to appear 12 times during the regular season on the ESPN family of networks.

First pitch is in about a month, so this is a chance to Gump from the comfort of your sofa...a dozen times.

The Fighting Indians Earn It: For coach Chad Kills Crow and the basketball team at Haskell Indian Nations University, nothing comes easy

Nothing comes easy for coach Chad Kills Crow and his basketball team at Haskell, the country's only four-year American Indian tribal university.

Not sure how many of you have been on a reservation, but basketball is an exceptionally big deal. This gorgeous long-form explains how Haskell University gets by -- it's definitely worth a read over that lunchtime Lean Cuisine of Sadness.