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Jumbo Package: What If I Told You Baseball Was Ranked?

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Mitch Gaspard's team has done some heavy lifting its first ten games of the season.

Will Coach For Food

Tide baseball team back in top 25 | TuscaloosaNews.com

The University of Alabama baseball team re-entered the Baseball America Top 25 on Monday for the first time since the 2014 season. The Crimson Tide (10-2) is ranked 23rd nationally, among eight SEC teams in the poll.

There are eight ranked SEC teams in the most recent Baseball America Top 25. One of those is the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide have gone 8-2, picking up some quality wins and, dare I say, quality losses. The SEC season will no doubt be a grind, but congratulations so far to Mitch Gaspard who is coaching for his job this season.

Dumb

The 2017 College Football Playoff will still be on New Year’s Eve, but it’ll start earlier - SBNation.com

The Playoff's two semifinal games will start at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET on Dec. 31, according to a report from USA Today's George Schroeder. That's a slight bump forward from the 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. kickoffs for last season's Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl semifinals, respectively, but will still certainly overlap with a lot of New Year's Eve festivities. Playoff executive director Bill Hancock tells Schroeder the movement of the game times is not a permanent change – and that he's still committed to playing these games on New Year's Eve and not the more traditional New Year's Day.

New Year's Day is for college football, not New Year's Eve. Look for Hancock to back off his strident insistence otherwise if there are another few years of blowouts. Though, I simply don't know what can be done at this point about the Bowl system (cough Rose Bowl) which still has the playoffs hamstrung, and inconveniences millions of potential viewers (for instance, one Semi takes place at noon Pacific on New Year's Eve.)

McCarron admits he almost transferred to SEC rival

"The night before I committed, I told my parents I was going to Oklahoma," McCarron said in the interview with Yahoo! Sports Radio. "I already had everything planned, the hat out and everything. ... Then I changed the next day."... "When I got there, I thought about transferring to Ole Miss towards the end of my freshman year," he said.

Oklahoma, I get. But, I wonder why he considered transferring to Ole Miss (aside from a clear attraction to pageant winners.) Can you imagine Houston Nutt coaching AJ McCarron? While that may have saved Nutt's job for another year or two, it would have been nigh career suicide for AJ. Remember Jevan Snead? Mitch Mustain?

Spring Foobaw!

Competition begins at important positions for Alabama football - Alabama - Scout

Once again this year, Alabama eases into the rigors of spring football. Following the Friday practice to get things started, Bama players will join their University classmates in spring break. Players will return for the resumption of classes and the second practice of the spring 10 days later on March 21.

Spring ball starts Friday, followed by the long lay-off, then resumes 10 days later. We'll have you covered. I'm really looking forward to the battles on the right side of the line, although we know that QB and RB will get most of the national ink.

O.J. Howard wants to improve in one area this spring

“When you get frustrated and the ball does come your way, that’s the times you drop the ball,” Howard told BamaOnLine before the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. “I tend to put that back behind me and focus on the team, the goal for the team. When you get frustrated, that’s when you start to mess up. You start to get other people hurt because you missed a block or you missed a catch and now you’re hurting the team.”

Sounds like OJ is more concerned with being consistent in all phases of the game, even when the ball is not coming his way. In a just universe, the ball will be coming his way a lot more this season. An athletic, elusive tight end could be the best friend a young a quarterback will ever ask for, especially in a league where an elite TE can be a gamechanger (looking at you Arkansas and Ole Miss.) This season is a polishing year for Howard though, as he looks to ease into the first round in the 2017 NFL draft.

#BuckleUp

Alabama Basketball Coach Avery Johnson hopes for upsets in SEC Tourney - Alabama - Scout

Johnson believes that any team can win the tournament, pointing out that Bama had wins against some of the top teams in the league. Bama’s worksheet includes a win over No. 1 seed Texas A&M as well as against LSU, South Carolina, and Florida – the LSU and Florida wins on the road. But, he said, “the teams at the top are the ones that have been the most consistent.”

Alabama begins its resume-padding quest on Wednesday night. However, I fear it is far too late in the game, barring an auto-bid. Over the week several conference champs fell, giving their league's autobids to teams not even on the bubble. That's a killer for a team like Alabama that was already facing a longshot to make the field.

Then again, Alabama figures to be a high seed in the NIT. That means at least one, and perhaps a few, more home games in which to see Retin Obasohan and Arthur Edwards play before they hang up the collegiate cleats. In some ways, I'm just as excited about that.

SECs in North Little Rock

Gymnastics drops a spot | TuscaloosaNews.com

The University of Alabama gymnastics team dropped one spot in the national rankings to No. 4 this week. The Crimson Tide posted its lowest score of the season, a 196.225, last Friday at then- No. 4 LSU, while the Tigers posted a 197.925 to jump to No. 3. The shift moved Alabama down one seed for the SEC championship meet in two weeks, behind LSU and No. 2 Florida. Oklahoma remains the top-ranked team of the nation, while Utah rounds out the top five.

Alabama gym got beat like a drum in Baton Rouge, dropping the Tide to 3rd in the SEC and 4th overall. The SECs take place this year in North Little Rock on March 19th, and I will be there hopefully to talk to a few of the competitors. A strong showing here will qualify Alabama for the NCAA regionals, one of which is being hosted in Tuscaloosa this year. I can't imagine anything more embarrassing than hosting a regional and then the squad not qualifying for it. Like Johnson's hoops team, this one did not perform up to its expectations down the stretch. It's time to put it all together.