Alabama enters postseason play ranked in the top five nationally in both polls, ranking fourth in the USA Today/NFCA poll and fifth in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Lucas has your non-rev playoff preview here. The main takeaway is that despite being a clear rebuilding season in Tuscaloosa, Pat Murphy's squad has excelled doing the same things that have won for the past decade-plus: strong pitching, small ball/clutch hitting and excellent fielding. Is this a national championship-type team? Probably not: Michigan and Florida are much better, but, doubt this squad at your own peril.
The University of Alabama women's track & field team is ranked 16th, its highest ranking ever, while the Crimson Tide men's team is ranked No. 11.
This has been a quietly excellent year for non-rev athletics. In addition to golf and women's tennis, both track squads and swimming and diving have been as strong as we've seen in years. While President's Cup is not necessarily Alabama's goal, there's no reason why Alabama can't be mentioned with Florida and Stanford in a few seasons as America's best all-around athletics program.
'Crootin & Draftin'
"He's rehabbed tremendously," Saulsberry said. "He's doing an excellent job. He's moving full speed ahead. He's way ahead of the game and prepared for what's ahead in college."
No need to rush McMillion's recovery, IMO. If there is one area where Alabama is loaded it's at linebacker. At his size (6'3" 240, 4.54 forty) you think he projects better at Jack where lateral speed is a necessity.
There’s no question what Alabama’s most high-profile offer was this week. Evander Holyfield’s son, Elijah, a top 2017 running back, got an offer from the Crimson Tide.
Every program on God's green earth is panting over Holyfield. He's playing it Coy, but Auburn has the solid inside track and Alabama was a late offer.
CBSSports.com reported that 45 total players from that 2011 meeting between the SEC foes have been drafted. Of the 22 defensive players who started that game for Alabama and LSU, a whopping 16 were drafted. Nine players from the teams were first-round picks.
That is an unreal statistic. 11/5/11 was the most violent 9-6 football game I've seen between two absolutely special teams.
Bud Elliott used the 2014 draft's similar breakdown to show blue chips are 10 times more likely than non-blue chips to be picked in the first round.
Jason Kirk weighs in on the "star factor" for recruiting and its correlation to producing NFL talent. This isn't my pissing match, but it seems that, based on the eyeball test alone, if your program is landing the Reggie Bushes of the world, you're in much better shape than hoping a Blake Sims develops into an all-star. (FWIW: Bush was the consensus No. 1 Athlete of the 2004 class; Blake Sims was the 26th ranked player in Georgia, the 33rd ranked athlete and was unranked nationally. That's why Bush's success was not a feel-good story, while Sims' was.)
Alabama offensive lineman Leon Brown will be at the Jacksonville Jaguars' rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, he told AL.com.
Brown received an invite to the Jags' minicamp. We wish him well, but the odds are heavily against the road-grader right guard. It's a passing world and Brown, though better than Shank, struggles against a leveraged pass rush.
McClain was arrested in April 2013 when Decatur police were trying to clear a crowd that had gathered for a softball game. He allegedly cursed at officers and pulled away as they tried to arrest him.
For one of Saban's "smartest players," Ro has done some really dumb s***. Someone needs to call the national guard and keep him out of Decatur. Untold millions have been lost because of that small city.
...candidates I've seen are Dayton's Archie Miller, Xavier's Chris Mack, and Louisiana Tech's Mike White. Minnesota's Richard Pitino is another common one.
Woooo, buddy. Not a good spot to be in for the Gators, as this list seems very familiar. Unlike Alabama, at least Chris Mack is finally on the table. Archie's buyout is far too high for the notoriously frugal gators; the job is above Mike White's demonstrated competency; and, Pitino the Younger is just a guy...at best.
The $1 billion Vikings stadium due to open next summer has already been chosen for the Super Bowl in 2018 and college basketball's Final Four in 2019. A possible Wrestlemania has also been mentioned.
Lookit, I've lived up there. Not one sober, sane person says "hey, Minnesota in January is a freakin' brilliant idea!" The Twin Cities are lovely, but unless we postpone the playoffs until April, no way in hell am I ever getting a ticket. Still, the idea has merit and may gain traction, particularly given that the Rose Bowl has pulled out of the running to host the final and the Big Ten contingent cannot be underestimated.
Turner was ranked as the nation's No. 12 cornerback in the junior college ranks in 2013. He did not play for Auburn last season, but was in position to make a move up the depth chart.
Gus won't say why Turner was not, and is not presently, on the roster, so let me be the first to speculate that Turner got das boot for running Lee County's bath-salt cockfighting empire.
Hot Takes Everywhere!
...While LSU is one of the more noted NFL export factories, I'm sure many of its players do still pick the school at least partially on its academic offerings. It could become a recruiting nightmare for Les Miles' program.
Interesting stuff in this Mailbag; of particular note is the role of Jindal's wholly manufactured, endogenous budget "crisis" and how such base villainy can be used against the Tigers on the recruiting trail.
3. Steve Spurrier will retire after a losing season ... The 70-year-old Spurrier is under contract through 2018, but has already hinted in the past that he might be nearing the end.
Steve Spurrier is 70. So? He looks a decade younger, exercises regularly and still has as much passion for coaching as he ever did (which is to say, minimal.) Still, this narrative can (and has) hurt the Gamecocks in recruiting, much to the benefit of Tennessee, Georgia and the like.
Bob Bowlsby met with reporters Tuesday evening following at his conference’s spring meetings in Phoenix and admitted a title game had not been rubber-stamped by the Big 12’s athletics directors and head coaches.
Also of note, the B12 did scrap co-champs, which seems the right thing to do...since, you know, they just reverted to it again last season. Seriously, Bowlsby tried to placate both teams for internal harmony and to push TCU on the downlow. All he wound up doing was screwing the rightful champion (Baylor,) destroying TCU's bid in the process, and opening the way for the Buckeyes. I have no idea how this man is still employed.
Alabama...it wasn’t just off-the-field behavior that came into question. What occurred between the lines wasn’t as productive as it could have been, either.
Let's all declare the demise of the Alabama Hegemony. The king is dead; long live the king! Read this if you must, but it's going to make you more than a little grumpy.
"The college game is killing us," one NFL general manger said. "Not just the quarterbacks, but it makes it tough to evaluate all the positions. But it's really true with the quarterbacks."
SHOCKER: 132 teams run infinite varieties of offenses and 32 GMs can't wrap their heads around the diversity of the college game. TSK has a modest proposal: how about trying to coach QBs for what they are instead of square-pegging the hell out of athletes entering the pro game?