What would be the "One Shining Moment" for both Alabama and Auburn football? What are the signature in-game moments in the history of the sport at either school? Here are some candidates:
Spoiler: Auburn's moments are what you would imagine. Alabama's are a bit shadier, failing to include the Run In The Mud or The Onside Kick, for instance.
Although Alabama has finished the season ranked No. 1 more than any other team, the Crimson Tide ranks only fifth in number of appearances at the top of the weekly AP poll. Alabama has been No. 1 on 74 occasions, trailing Ohio State with 105, Oklahoma 101, Notre Dame 98, and USC 91. The Crimson Tide has been ranked in 743 of the 1,105 weekly polls and has been ranked in 53 of the final 80 polls from 1936 through the final poll of the 2015 season. Including its 10 national championships, Bama has been ranked in the top five in 24 final AP polls. The Tide has been a top five team in 349 weekly polls, second all-time to Oklahoma with 393.
What makes a dominant program?
15 16* titles would do it, as would 29 SEC/Southern titles, and the nation's leading bowl appearances and wins. But, finishing in the Top 10 for literally half of the AP's existence would be my candidate.
Alabama redshirt freshman offensive guard Richie Petitbon suffered a torn ACL during the Tide's scrimmage on Saturday, sources told AL.com. Petitbon has already undergone surgery, according to those sources. A former four-star recruit, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Petitbon was one of several players competing for a starting offensive guard spot with both jobs up for grabs.
Petibon, one of the grabs from last year's NSD treasure troves, was pressing for time in the guard rotation, even being mentioned as a competitor for the vacated LG spot this season. No definites on how bad his injury is, but Petibon is probably looking at a hardship season this year.
The Braves come to Tuscaloosa after falling to Southeastern Louisiana by a score of 21-0 last Wednesday. Prior to that matchup, ASU suffered a series loss to Alabama State from March 25-26, getting swept across three games. Alabama and Alcorn State will meet for the 20th and 21st times when the two square off for the midweek pairing. The Crimson Tide owns the all-time advantage, 18-1, in a series that dates back to 1987. After splitting the initial pair of games, the Crimson Tide has rallied back for 17 consecutive wins over the Braves. During that streak, Alabama is outscoring Alcorn State by a 193-39 margin.
Hooray! It's Tuesday which gives Alabama two chances to lose today. I jest. Alabama should roll Alcorn. But, Evil Gaspard is rearing his head again, as Alabama has largely collapsed at the plate, on the mound, on the base paths and in the field the past week, losing three of four (badly) since being ranked No. 21 and taking control of first in the SEC-West.
This team has too much raw talent for the diminishing results we've seen for seven seasons. The key word is "raw." The assistants for this program are simply not up to SEC par and the in-game management, including fundamental baserunning errors, is despicable. It's time for a change, folks, and it's been time for a few years. What Alabama has gotten from Gaspard is everything we'd have expected from his days at Northwestern State.
Junior right-hander Sydney Littlejohn (14-2) was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week following her three wins over ranked opponents. She secured the series win over Missouri before holding No. 1 Florida to one run over 13 1/3 innings. Behind the plate, freshman catcher Reagan Dykes was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after collecting a hit in all four games she played. She hit two home runs, including a two-run shot at Florida. She also threw two potential base stealers out in Gainesville.
Congratulations to both, and congrats for a helluva' series in Gainesville. Speaking of softball...
11-0 vs. MVSU Current Streak: Alabama 11 First Meeting: May 20, 2005 - W, 9-1 - Tuscaloosa, Ala. (NCAA Regional) Last Meeting: March 31, 2015 - W, 17-0 (5) - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Softball has a mid-week slaughter game today at Rhodes as well vs. MVSU.
Now a junior, the 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back, known for his speed, played in one game as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and followed it up a season later with appearances in six games. This spring, however, Averett is making a move at cornerback, earning some time and valuable repetitions during practices, including last Saturday's scrimmage. Marlon Humphrey comes back after a solid season at corner and the departure of Cyrus Jones leaves an open spot and plenty of competition for it. The obvious candidate is Minkah Fitzpatrick, who started at the Star defensive back position in 2015 when Alabama's defense was in nickel. But Averett is providing some much-needed depth at corner too.
No surprise here, as the speedy Averett is seeing time at CB in light of Tony Brown's indeterminate NCAA issues.
One of the prospects any program would like to add is Marvin Wilson, the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country. Wilson is still open to the Texas schools, but acknowledged that he isn't sure any would be locks to make his hypothetical future top five. He says LSU, Alabama and Florida State would. Wilson only spoke of the in-state schools when prompted, which he often was Sunday, since there were many Texas and A&M reporters at the event. When I asked him open-ended questions, his attention was focused on out-of-state schools.
Literally no one is willing to pull the trigger on Sumlin or Strong, though by all indications recruits greatly prefer Charlie's relationship-building. If both teams tank this season, as I expect at least one will (cough, Aggie, cough,) then we are looking at one or more new coaches in the Lone Star State. The nightmare scenario for Alabama and LSU (and a very possible one) is Houston's Tom Herman at Aggie. You cannot give a coach of that calibre that kind of talent without there being a very real future existential threat to the SEC-West hierarchy.
Behind enemy lines
Kentucky assistant Andy Buh will become Maryland's defensive coordinator, multiple sources told FOX Sports Monday. Buh, who has been UK's OLB coach, has been defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada and California. He and Terps head coach D.J. Durkin worked together on Jim Harbaugh's Stanford staff.
If you're keeping track at home, that's two defensive coaches Stoops has lost after signing day and during spring ball. This is not exactly what UK wants or needs in a make-or-break season.
A preliminary study suggests that the more blows to the head an amateur football player takes, the greater the likelihood that player will suffer impaired brain function later in life. The study by Boston University researchers looked at 93 men who played amateur football at some level from youth leagues through college. Researchers attempted to estimate how many hits to the head each player had suffered, based on their position and how many years they played.
The study is very preliminary, but indications are that head trauma before age 12 (which seems to be linked to youth football) does not have great later-life outcomes. This should be a no-brainer given the age-old "dropped on the head" tropes. Still, for those who want to have their heads in the sand, hitting growing children in the skull is not a good thing. There is a reason so many former, modern-age players are on record that they will not let their children play the game, folks.
Last week some of you took umbrage with our reporting more CTE news. But, as long as emerging data come out, we will probably keep doing so. CTE research, litigation, and regulation can literally kill the sport.