Good morning. Before we get to the links below, we wanted to let you know that the JP will, going forward, be lighter on club and non-revenue sports. Beginning today, Lucas Rhoden will be publishing two pieces a week highlighting the less-covered world of Alabama athletics. On Mondays, we will feature a non-revenue wrap-up, and, on Fridays, a club sport wrap-up will be provided for those other sports. Of course, we will still have dedicated softball, gymnastics, baseball coverage, and other major stories as they pertain to non-revs and club athletics.
One final note: See that headline below each article that reads "More from Roll 'Bama Roll?" Yeah, we got that fixed, and more relevant, recent stories will now populate that field. So, a quick glance will now show you a story that you may missed over the past day or two. You're welcome.
More Thoughts on NSD
Another year, another reminder that whatever their flaws, recruiting sites remain our most useful resource for evaluating new talent and forming baseline expectations.
Stating the obvious (and empirical,) recruiting does matter. Sometimes there are diamonds in the rough (like Rashad Johnson,) then there are can't miss guys like Ha Ha or Mark Barron. You play the odds, and recruiting is nothing other than a numbers game.
At the top of the scale is Oregon, which turns top-30 recruitment years into top-10 finishes, and Missouri, which has turned top-40 recruits into two top-5 seasons. The chart also shows that Georgia Tech’s overachievement in 2014 was not an anomaly.
Wanna dig deep into the numbers? 538 has you covered. This is a really interesting data set (although, I could do without Massey rankings on the X-axis.) Saxon and CT4 are going to have special "alone time" with this article.
Freeze says he plans to revisit the entire recruiting process, including the idea of letting committed guys take visits to other schools. Maybe Richmond and/or Lewis would have signed with Ole Miss if not for visits taken to other schools.
There are enough sour grapes in this Hugh Freeze NSD piece to sink Napa Valley. I will say, if Freeze is intent on restricting kids' visits, which often are nothing more than paid junkets and a chance for often-sheltered or provincial high schoolers to see the country, then we can abandon all pretense that he gives one whit about these guys: It's about the W-L ledger
and that ledger will always include 4-5 losses.
While, yes, everyone agrees that recruiting rankings are not perfect pieces of data, you could do far worse than using rankings as a snapshot of each program's talent level, more or less. Especially at the National Championship level.
Recruiting is a self-perpetuating phenomenon. The rich or successful get the better players, which in turn fuels success, which in turn fuels better players wanting in on the action. It's an Ouroboros of gridiron excellence. Fortunately, Alabama is at the top of this particular food chain.
“Every day since we arrived in Fayetteville, we have worked with our coaches and student-athletes on building something special here at the University of Arkansas,”
Signing day success, and a hot final two months, earned BERT some serious cheddar. He's earned it. We may as well get used to Arkansas being LSU part two. It's going to be a grind-it-out, defense-and-running game war for the foreseeable future. In short, actual SEC football (off my lawn, spread option offenses!)
This is a really easy fix for the NCAA. It could change its rules to allow unrestricted transfers if position coaches or coordinators leave.
Flaming hot take right here. Alas, the proposal is an unconscionable restraint of trade that would never survive judicial scrutiny. Still, this year has been really, really underhanded with the number of position coaches and coordinators fraudulently leading players into unconscionable contracts with bait-and-switch assurances of continuity. A Detroit lawyer has offered to represent one such player blatantly lied to by Ohio State. I wish him luck: who's the real snake oil salesman here (perhaps the mendacious viper oversigning in Columbus.)
Alleged NCAA Shenanigans
The choices made by the NCAA regarding Penn State only showed that the organization cares about power, not justice, and that it's making things up as it goes along.
This is here for a few reasons. First, people seem to think unsealing investigative notes into Todd McNair's show-cause lawsuit will somehow be bad news for the NCAA's enforcement efforts going forward (despite the fact that Carroll's USC was more crooked than a greased weasel on meth.) The above quote is one such tidbit of perceived wisdom. Second, contrast that quote to the facts laid out below...
The statue was taken down in 2012 after a report by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh said that Paterno along with university administrators covered up sexual abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
You're just wrong, Truthers. JoePa covered up, or was complicit in, or was willfully blind, or enabled a decades-long pattern of child rape. Did the NCAA "make it up as they went along?" Sure, but we've never seen this kind of systemic evil perpetuated at a major program either. This isn't, as the SBN piece above states, about the NCAA being concerned about power...it's very much in a real sense about whatever secondary justice it can provide. And, this statue is a monument to malevolence that has zero business being on a public university campus. The fact we're even having this discussion tells me more about the hearts of those who prefer a sanitized legacy to the brutal truth.
Of Alabama's list, eight played on the offense a year ago. Only linebackers Xzavier Dickson, Trey DePriest and safety Landon Collins will represent the defense.
These numbers will flip next year, as the LB corps and several DL get their combine invites.
A timeout was taken on the court with 9:25 to go and with LSU up 49-45. Levi Randolph was credited with the steal and the basket to get the Tide within 2 points. Martin answered with a big three pointer to go up 52-47.
Huge, huge play from which Alabama (down its three leading scorers and sixth man) could not overcome on the road. For a team that isn't particularly talented, that Alabama made a game of it tells me more about the heart of these guys than about LSU's abilities. Rogers' piece is here: Short-Handed Tide Loses at LSU - Roll 'Bama Roll.
Finally, we need to talk about Jonathan Taylor. This is my opinion only, FWIW. While Coach Nick Saban maintains this is university decision, and that Taylor's admission was heavily-preconditioned, I can't think of a single person (aside from Taylor and the football staff, and maybe then not even unanimously) who are pleased with letting this decision stand. If there is a whiff of a prosecution, a no-contest, a pre-trial diversion, or other allocution of facts (and this is a horrible set of allegations) then the University has made a terrible mistake at every conceivable level. We are, we must, be better than that. We are, we must, be better than the Les Miles and Bob Stoops of the world. Coach Charlie Strong absolutely nailed this one (see Rule Four.) Anyway, here is Nick Saban defending the apparently indefensible.