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Jumbo Package: Friday, 13 March 2015

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Yesterday was a tough one for the Tide. Fortunately, we have Spring football to cheer us up.

We're cool, Reuben. We've got no issues at all.
We're cool, Reuben. We've got no issues at all.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday could have gone much better. Alabama was bounced from the SEC Tourney in Nashville, as Anthony Grant is now 0-for-Billy Donovan at Alabama. The Frozen Tide held a 2-1 lead late in the third period vs. Colorado State, needing only to close out the final three minutes to advance to the playoff semifinals. But, Colorado State scored. Then, in overtime, needing a score to advance, the Rams scored with just under two minutes to play, knocking the host Tide out of play. Sigh.

Recruiting

Four-star Oklahoma recruit decommits after racist frat video surfaces | NCAA Football | Sporting News

Bob Pryzbylo of SoonersIllustrated.com said he spoke with the recruit [Delance] about the video, and he  [Delance] made it clear it bothered him. From that point he decided to reopen his recruitment.

This is a story that isn't going away. Stoops and the Norman community can rally around human decency, but Delance is likely not the only recruit that the Sooners lose over the SAE incident.

Alabama follows Auburn in offering Spanish Fort linebacker Tre Threat | AL.com

Spanish Fort 2016 linebacker Tre Threat notched his second big SEC offer in five days on Thursday when an unexpected visit to Alabama resulted in an offer from the Crimson Tide. Threat was offered by Auburn last weekend and now has five SEC offers overall.

Threat already has five SEC offers and his stock is soaring. While just a 3-star at the moment, more bling will likely come his way as the services do "evaluation" (which we all know is a post hoc bump of ratings based upon who offers.) Threat plays outside now, but is projected to move inside at the next level.

Miscellany

Greg Sankey named 8th commissioner of SEC; replaces Mike Slive | AL.com

Greg Sankey has been named the eighth commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, the league announced on Thursday. Sankey, who is in his 13th year as a member of the SEC staff, succeeds Mike Slive who has held the post since 2002

Don't laugh, but the SEC is going to miss Mike Slive. When that guy spoke, money listened. Sankey is a Slive confederate, so I wouldn't expect much of a philosophical change going forward. But, our little region of the athletics world is going to miss the quietest Bond villain since Jaws.

LSU professor statistically proves LSU is 32nd most hated college football team in US; Boise State No. 1

[When] analyzing the survey results by using the Herfindahl Index—traditionally used as a business measure of the size of a firm in relation to its industry and the amount of competition it faces—Boise State tops the list of most-hated teams, followed by Brigham Young University, West Virginia, Middle Tennessee State University and Fresno State University.

This is why economists have their deserved bad rap: ridiculous assumptions and equivalencies then used to churn out counterintuitive results confidently issued with no sense of irony? SIGN ME UP! Does anyone care enough about MTSU to even name the Blue Raiders rival...even in Murfreesboro? Doubtful.

Heisman should be decided after playoff championship is played | NCAA Football | Sporting News

By moving the voting process back a month and not accepting votes until every game has been played, the Heisman again becomes a focal point of the season — instead of a sideshow. You’re not just playing for a national champion, you’re also, in some years, playing for the Heisman.

Sure, that's a great idea for those who peak late. However, what about the guys who have been consistently great but get dropped out of the national consciousness because they don't have the benefit of playing for an undefeated or one-loss team? Those guys get the benefit of another month of hype, playoffs, title games, conference championships...not to mention the additional statistics that come from playing another 1-3 games.

The NCAA made $989 million in revenue last year - SBNation.com

....[The] organization pulled in over $989 million in revenue during its financial year 2014. ... the majority of that revenue came from the men's basketball tournament TV contract. The organization also reported expenses of over $909 million, with $547 million being distributed to Division I schools. It also spent a whopping $158 million in legal expenses, an increase of over $36 million from the previous year.

Mental exercise: If the P5 do have a schismatic breakaway from the NCAA umbrella, how much of the nearly-one billion dollars of revenue go with them? And, would such a split be more profitable (or even feasible) for everyone involved it it was limited to football? All that direct money, over $500 million directly to member schools, is why I'm dubious the P5 ever pack their bags.

Alabama Spring Football

SEC morning links - SEC Blog - ESPN

The former Crimson Tide star [Blake Sims] believes [Alec] Morris is "going to factor big-time" in the much-anticipated position battle.

I'd agree with Sims, and go so far as to say if Morris doesn't get the nod, he will likely leave for a program where his chances of playing time are greater. It's the nature of the position: Only one person can helm the spot, and continuity for a few years is worth the understandable transferring of guys lower on the depth chart.

Spring Preview: 5 Breakout Candidates for 2015

However, at 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, he has the size and versatility to play guard or tackle. ... It is Pierschbacher's versatility that makes him stand out from others. He has the the potential to be the offensive line's next breakout star.

This is just a fantastic article, highlighting potential stars outside of the skills positions.

Alabama players with something to prove - ESPN

Considering his personal missteps, the junior college transfer [Jonathan Taylor] can’t afford to underperform -- on the field or off. If he doesn’t contribute on the defensive line, he’ll have been an unnecessary public relations risk. And if he has another run-in with the law, he’ll have been a risk that blew up in the coaching staff’s face.

Forget public relations, forget even the moral ick factor of the allegations; how about the football-only motivation of relying on a player with such serious legal issues that a felony criminal trial represents a real distraction to the team to the continuity of the depth chart?

Reuben Foster respected as 'crazy guy' on Alabama defense, expected to lead in 2015 | AL.com

When asked who would be an emotional leader on this new Alabama team, 2014 captain and NFL prospect Jalston Fowler named Foster. "To be truthful, I think guys just respect him," Fowler said at Wednesday's Alabama pro day. "They just know he crazy and you know you're going to respect the crazy guy. You don't want to piss the crazy guy off."

We may expect Foster to lead in 2015, we just hope he doesn't lead with his head. #dadjokes Seriously, Foster is a mad man, and easily the most frightening linebacker the Tide have had since the departure of Upshaw and Hightower. I'm excited about watching him do harm to self and others this season.

Playoffs

Big 12 college football: Athletic directors favor head-to-head tiebreaker | FOX Sports

How much not crowning a true champion hurt the Big 12 when it came time for the selection committee to pick a final four was hard to quantify. Being the only Big Five conference without a league championship game seemed to be even more problematic. Especially when Ohio State romped into the last playoff spot with a 59-0 Big Ten championship game victory against Wisconsin.

That's about the size of it. The B12 coaches know that conference title games provide a final spin on the catwalk for the Committee. But, the B12 office also knows that with two decades of shenanigans and upsets involving Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas State, a CCG can also knock their representative out of any playoffs. Status quo clearly is going to harm the B12, and a CCG risks upsets. Sorry, boys, that's the nature of the beast. Where administrative cowardice meets athletic opportunity, who shall prevail?

SEC shouldn't consider dumping title game - ESPN

As Dinich writes, the ACC and Big 12 have already petitioned the NCAA to loosen its restrictions on conference championship games, so maybe the consideration of change for some could be on the horizon.

And, in an interesting juxtaposition, some conferences want a dispensation on seating a playoff team absent a conference title game. While the round-robin B12 makes sense, someone is going to have to explain to me the motivation of the ACC. Any suggestions?

And, no, there is no way the SEC abandons its premiere event in Atlanta.

Finally

Weasel Hitches Ride on Woodpecker in Amazing Image - NBC News.com

"The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left," Le-May said. "Quickly, the bird gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight."

Weasel is not just a noun; it became a verb and an adjective for very good reasons.