Happy Friday, everyone. Needless to say, most of the college football world is focused on National Signing Day. We will certainly continue to bring you the latest on recruiting as it comes in, but we'll start today with some other fun stuff:
"I think we would have definitely done a better job," said former Buckeye defensive back Tyvis Powell. "I was shocked they didn't score a point. It is what it is. It was very disappointing. But, Alabama, it was their year. I guess everybody has their year and it was their time to win."
Oh, those Buckeyes are sore. Yep, this was our time to win, Tyvis - it's been our time in four of the past seven seasons.
Still, let me make my annual futile plea: could there, once in a decade, be a home-and-home series that brings a high-profile opponent to Bryant-Denny Stadium? That doesn't mean getting away from neutral sites entirely. I am for them, eight years out of 10. But, in these days of television ruling all things, it would be a tremendous thank-you to the fans who by season tickets and skyboxes. It would be great for the city of Tuscaloosa. I'm reminded of my friend Gary Lewis, the owner of Rama Jama's saying that game weekends were the difference in "making a living and making a good living."
On the field behind Saban were two of the reasons Alabama should be loaded again in 2016. Linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive end Jarran Reed probably played their way into more money by returning to Tuscaloosa for the '15 campaign. That almost certainly had an influence on defensive end Jonathan Allen, safety Eddie Jackson, linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson and tight end O.J. Howard. All five could have left—and most, if not all, would have made excellent money—but after watching Ragland come back and potentially earn several million more by turning himself into a likely first-round pick, they stayed. So, now I need to correct the column I wrote the day after Alabama's victory. It seemed logical that most of the Crimson Tide's draft-eligible players would declare for the NFL, and that seemed to leave the team with an experience and leadership vacuum. Because of the way Saban has recruited, it could be possible to overcome that, but that would be far from a sure thing. Now? As long as offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin can identify a third effective starting quarterback in three years and build a scheme that suits him, the Tide could be every bit as good in '16 as they were last season.
Agreed, and there is a decent chance that the Tide could actually be better with a dual threat QB and more experience in the secondary.
Recruiting rankings are, at the end of the day, subjective and most analysts will tell you there's not typically a huge distance between any of the top ten recruiting classes in a given year. But what would it mean for these other programs to finish ahead of Alabama in the recruiting rankings?
For LSU, it would mean a much-needed victory over Nick Saban, something he's been unable to accomplish on the field since 2011. The specter of Saban looms large over Miles' tenure in Baton Rouge and replacing the Tide as kings of recruiting would go a long way toward quieting the rumblings that nearly cost Miles his job last fall.
This will certainly be a make or break year for Miles. He has a returning starter at QB, an upperclassman generational RB, the bulk of his juniors decided to stay in school and he's going to end up with a recruiting class that will be very near the top of the rankings if not #1. If he can't knock off Alabama in Baton Rouge and win the West in 2016, it will likely be the end of the road for him.
Heading into an official visit to see the Alabama Crimson Tide last weekend, New Orleans (La.) tight end Irvin Smith looked like a heavy Texas Longhorns, but that all changed in the last few days and Smith cancelled his in-home visit with Texas head coach Charlie Strong that was scheduled for Thursday evening, according to ESPN's Gerry Hamilton. Now the family will only host Alabama head coach Nick Saban and an official decision to commit to the Crimson Tide could follow shortly.
Smith would be the third TE in this class, with Miller Forristall already enrolled. Interesting to say the least.
"This project is a true testament of the limitless possibilities when our volunteers and Nick’s Kids members commit to make a difference in the lives of others," said Ms. Terry Saban, co-founder and CEO of Nick’s Kids Foundation. The groundbreaking on the house will begin immediately.
The new homeowners will be the Anthony Taylor Family. Anthony Taylor works all night as a bus driver at the University, has a newspaper route, and is studying at Stillman College to become a minister. His family includes wife Angel, and children Zion (age 12) and Zaria (age 11). Through tears of joy, Anthony Taylor said, "I know if you stay true God, his blessings will continue to come. Thank you to Coach Saban, Ms. Terry, their family, Nick's Kids, and to Habitat for Humanity. Roll Tide!"
But I heard that Nick was a selfish and soulless human being...
"A lot of them want to play at the next level, so we try to have the program, the coaches to get them to develop to be all they can be as football players, which obviously gives them the best chance to have a chance at the next level," Saban added.
No better recruiting tool than putting guys in the NFL consistently.
The Alabama women's basketball team (13-8, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) held No. 10/10 Texas A&M (15-5, 5-2 SEC) to 39 percent shooting for the game and forced 17 turnovers, but came up shy in a 59-56 loss on Thursday in Foster Auditorium. "That's a tear-filled locker room that I just left," said Alabama head coach Kristy Curry. "One that I have a lot of respect and love for and a lot of appreciation because I thought they played their hearts out tonight to the No. 10 team in the country. I can say this. This program is headed in the right direction. It's a tribute to the character in that locker room."
Coach Curry has the ladies headed in the right direction in her third season at the helm. A win over a top ten ranked team would have been huge for the team.
"I met with Maty Mauk this morning and informed him of my decision to permanently dismiss him from the football program," Odom said in a statement. "When I met with Maty back in December, I wanted to give him an opportunity for a fresh start, but I also made it very clear what our expectations would be moving forward. "After gathering information and speaking with a number of individuals this week, it is clear Maty has failed to live up to those expectations by violating team rules in recent weeks."
Oh well. Have a Coke and a smile, Maty.
The "Last Great Colosseum" is morphing into a venue where competitors do more than drive fast and turn left. Bristol Motor Speedway, which will host its first college football game on Sept. 10 when Virginia Tech and Tennessee do battle, will now be the site of a second gridiron contest just one week later. Officials from the Speedway Motorsports Inc.-owned short track announced Thursday that East Tennessee State University -- located just down the road in Johnson City -- will square off with Western Carolina on Sept. 17.
East Tennesseans and West Virginians watching a football game together in a NASCAR stadium? Crimes against nature forthcoming.
That's about it for today, folks. Have a great weekend. Roll Tide.