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Jumbo Package: Legendary Tide Tennis Duo Take Main Stage In US Open

We know today begins college football's FBS season, but there's another reason to turn your television on early.

We need another one guys. Eyes on the prize.
We need another one guys. Eyes on the prize.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Is it too early to tab Maya Jansen and Erin Routlife "living legends," as they plainly are?

The two-time defending national doubles champions have earned a spot in the U.S. Open. After cruising through qualifying, the pair will be on center court as the main draw for Women's Doubles at Flushing Meadows. The best part is that you can watch it live today at 10:00 Central.

The NCAA would remind you that people go pro in something other than sports. In this case, it's easy to ascertain where Erin and Maya's immediate futures lie.

Roll Tide, ladies.

US Open Announces Women's Doubles Main Draw Match Times - ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletic Site

Two-time NCAA doubles national champions Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen will square off against Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spearson on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. CT in the main draw of the US Open

FOLLOW ERIN & MAYA ONLINE Fans can watch/follow Erin and Maya's matches via the below outlets:

WATCH: • Choose court 4 on right panel of screen LIVE STATS: BLOG: US OPEN CENTRAL: TWITTER: @AlabamaWTN

The best never rest

Alabama coach Nick Saban has four titles & still feels like he'€™s failed | FOX Sports

The Crimson Tide coach isn't easy on himself.

In this video, Nick Saban explains how even though he has four national titles, he believes that he should have actually earned eight. I hate the "shoulda'" game, but there may actually be little reason to dispute this.

Last season, Alabama was very close to doing so, as they were in 2013. The 2010 season saw some leadership issues and injuries derail a supremely talented Tide team that was on the cusp. Then, there's the whole "Tebow gonna' Tebow" factor in 2008, otherwise ending a great run.

Would Alabama have won seven titles under Saban? Probably not. But he's right that Alabama should have at least been in play those years.

To a larger point, these comments do not indicate a man ready to hang up the whistle or move along to the next stop. Data points matter when debunking national rumor-mongering and apparently paid-for negative recruiting.

Practice notes

Watch Nick Saban's final press conference for Wisconsin week |

Watch Nick Saban's final press conference for Wisconsin week above, as the Tide prepares for Wisconsin.

A very relaxed Nick Saban speaks on injuries, freshmen and game preparation as we are just two days away from teeing it up.

But, yeah...he's unhappy and restless.

Injury update on Alabama WR Cam Sims (knee)

"He's been cleared by the medical staff," Saban said. "We have given him work this week. We have not made a decision yet as to whether he'll play in this game. I think that's a decision that I'd like to make with him, even though he's been cleared medically. "He has practiced out of a black shirt for several days now. We do have the monitor on him so we know how close to full speed he is, and he's getting very close to that."

Amazing how far rehab and treatment have progressed for a formerly-debilitating ACL injury (Joe Namath's career could have had a far longer run with modern medicine, for instance.)

Sims was injured in March. Now, just outside of Labor Day, he has been medically cleared. That said, with Freshmen Ridley and Charlot's arrival, and Mullaney's emergence, I still don't think we see Sims this year. Which says nothing of upperclassmen, or the talented sophomores like Kief.

Nick Saban reveals philosophy of playing freshmen

"I think the expectation for some of these players when they come in is they all want to play, the guys that respond and do well, with the number of guys that seem to go out early for the draft, I don't think the focus is really on redshirting as much as it is somebody can help our team, let's just go ahead and play them. That's kind of how we've done it here. We've been fortunate to have a few guys that have been able to help our team."

The game has definitely changed, and with twelve (12!) freshmen cracking the two-deep it's easy to see why some conferences want to hamstring the competition. We know we're working on borrowed time with many of these skills players and defensive linemen. That's just the fact.

To force players to sit a year seems as inequitable as any proposal of the past few seasons. If the movement for student-athletes' rights represents anything, surely it must represent an end to concern-trolling and nannyism, right?

(And, for what it's worth, I still think Delany's proposal is the worst sort of racist paternalism you can imagine. No one is suggesting water polo or hockey players sit a season -- just football and basketball, sports with a disproportionately higher percentage of black student-athletes.)

Keys to the Alabama vs. Wisconsin matchup - ESPN Video

SEC Network's Greg McElroy, Marcus Spears and Maria Taylor break down Alabama's season opener against Wisconsin.

G Mac is so assiduously trying to avoid being a homer that he tries too hard to actually say "hey, this team is actually really good."

Hell, Greg, steal a page from Herbstreit's playbook -- when in doubt, don't minimize your alma mater, go full-throttle Gump.

Where is your god defensive coordinator now? Muhahahahaha

No, Auburn and Aggie, new defensive coordinators won't necessarily save you. However, I think A&M is better positioned in the long-run than Auburn. The Plainsmen have not recruited a linebacking corps since Tommy Tuberville left. The secondary is iffy. And, in a run-heavy conference, the interior of the D-Line is just as suspect.

It seems Football Study Hall and Bill C agree (by implication.)

Why are we so sure new coordinators will fix Auburn and Texas A&M right away? -

In Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Stories, Bill Connelly cites Chris Brown's hierarchy of the four most important factors in building a program.

Those factors, in order, are:

  • Talent
  • Development
  • Scheme
  • In-game decisions

If we accept this as an accurate set of priorities, it goes a long way to explaining why many new coordinators fail to improve their sides of the ball and, in fact, are often harbingers for the demise of their head coaches.

A new coordinator has little to do with the current talent but still is expected to have an immediate effect on the team. And a coordinator is typically not going to be integral to player development, as this falls more on the position coaches. As fans, we expect coordinators to bring in new schemes that make immediate impacts, and we expect them to be upgrades in terms of play-calling. However, if Brown is right, these potential areas of improvement are of secondary importance to talent and development.


Guys like Muschamp will go a long way towards scheming, making competent decisions and generally being smarter about assignment football. But, in the immortal words of one Paul Bryant (among others,) "It's not the Xs and Os, it's the Jimmies and Joes." Texas A&M has them (and has the better DC, to be frank.) Auburn does not.

Programming Note:

Yes, we will have a game thread up for today's games.

Coming along mid-morning, we will also post our interview with ESPN College Gameday's Rece Davis (FANBOY MOMENT, SQUEEE!)

Enjoy your football; enjoy your day.