Happy Friday, everyone. It will be a big weekend on the diamond, as your #4 ranked softball team hosts Mississippi State for three while the baseball team travels to Lexington for a three-game set at Kentucky. Speaking of the diamond, April 8 will always be a landmark date for southern sports:
Vin Scully and Hammerin' Hank, all in one video. Greatness abounds.
We have a few football links for you to peruse this morning, starting with an interesting idea posited by Brandon Larrabee at Team Speed Kills:
- No current SEC East head coach has ever won an SEC title.
- The last SEC East team to win the conference championship game did so in 2008. The last SEC East team not coached by Urban Meyer to take the trophy in Atlanta was Georgia in 2005.
- Since the turn of the century, the SEC West is 11-5 in conference title games.
- In the last seven SEC Championship Games, the SEC West team has won by at least 14 points in all but one of them. The average margin of victory in those seven games has been 22 points.
- It's not just in the championship event that the East is getting paved. After going 7-7 against the West in 2012 -- the first season with a 14-team conference -- and 6-8 in 2013, the SEC East has fallen to 6-22 in regular-season interdivision games over the last two years. Many of the more recent losses have been by large margins.
While those are some remarkable statistics, for this idea to work one would have to assume that the two Mississippis will continue to be stronger than the Georgia Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers. Just don't give Les a vote; something tells me he'd be in favor of getting Nick Saban out of his division.
Oh, by the way, teams in the West: Alabama will need a new permanent rival. Any, uh, Volunteers?
Does this concept make any sense at all? Vote and let us know in the comments.
"The two younger guys, even though they demonstrated that they have a tremendous amount of upside in terms of the way they played, their consistency in performance because of their confusion, lack of knowledge, poise under pressure, whichever you want to talk about -- which is not uncommon or surprising for young guys the first time they go out there," Saban said. "They probably weren't quite as consistent as the other guys." Saban went on to say all four would get to continue to get a full opportunity for the remainder of spring practice.
It's still very early, but all indications are that young Blake Barnett is still well behind the upperclassmen. It might not be his time after all.
"I don't know. I don't know what happened on the defensive side of the ball," Howard said after the grin turned into a laugh. "I honestly don't know." And he didn't complain.
Howard also recalled those breathless moments after Jake Coker released those deep passes in his direction. "You're just thinking like ... I mean if the ball is the air a long time that's definitely true," Howard said. "You just have to look at it waiting for it to come down forever."
O.J. Howard said Jake Coker ain't go no arm strength, PAWWWLLLL!
Seriously though, when you're that wide open, the ball seems to be in the air for an eternity, especially in a game of that magnitude. Great to have O.J. back.
"Shooting my off (left) hand, getting my hand on him right away. Gave me some tips about my stance. Stuff like that." Pierschbacher admits he's struggled with his shotgun snap but has earned strong reviews from Alabama head coach Nick Saban and fellow players. He has the unenviable task of trying to stop defensive tackle Daron Payne immediately after snapping the ball, but has done a good job of holding his own.
With spring practice close to wrapping up in the lead up to A-Day on April 16, Pierschbacher has become more at ease in his new position.
Saban seemingly can't say enough about Pierschbacher's performance at center this spring. Sounds like a permanent move, and it's great to see Ryan Kelly offering some guidance.
Alabama’s matchup with LSU on Nov. 7, which was aired on CBS, was the second most-watched game of the regular season, which averaged 11.06 million viewers. Alabama's SEC Championship showdown against Florida was the season’s highest-rated and most watched college football game, averaging 12.76 million viewers. The SEC on CBS was the highest-rated regular season college football package on any network for the seventh consecutive year. The network averaged a 3.4 rating during SEC on CBS games. Alabama’s opening week match-up with Wisconsin on ABC’s Saturday Night Football drew a 4.3 rating and 8.0 million viewers, making it the second most watched Saturday Night Football game in nine years.
They may hate us, but they watch us.
Alabama doesn't recruit well because it's good. It's good because it recruits well. There isn't a coach on Alabama's staff that wasn't a recruiting ace at a previous stop. How good is Alabama's staff? It has the 2014 Big Ten recruiter of the year (Mike Locksley) on the staff in an off-field role.
Hard to figure that there was much competition here considering the six straight #1 classes.
Tagovailoa, who threw for 2,916 yards and scored 35 total touchdowns during his junior season, has been especially focused on Alabama since he became the first quarterback the Tide offered after the decommitment of Jake Fromm, who flipped to Georgia.
"I didn't even know I was in Alabama's range to get offered. It says a lot for them to go this far for someone like me," Tagovailoa said. "I really do take this into consideration because it's something that is very meaningful because Nick Saban has taken almost everyone that he has recruited to a national championship. That says a lot about his program."
For the third consecutive class, the Tide is looking West for a true dual threat guy at the QB position. They just haven't gone quite this far west. So far as I can tell, Tagovailoa would be only the second Hawaiian to suit up for Alabama. Do you remember the first?
"If you can play at Alabama, you can play anywhere," Dieter said. "That's one of my biggest things, is I want to be in the NFL. If I can prove myself there, I know I can be in the NFL ... You're playing in the SEC. You're playing for Coach Saban, who's obviously a legend at the coaching level. You just really can't pass an opportunity up to play at a school like that."
Now, Derek and Suzy's road trips will get a bit longer. Instead of the two-hour hikes to Ohio, Gehrig's parents will now be headed to Tuscaloosa, Dallas, Knoxville, etc.
Derek, a retired police officer, and Suzy, an active cop, will probably be putting more miles on the family Ford F-150 as opposed to buying plane tickets.
"Everybody says, ‘Oh my God, that's a long drive!'" Derek said. "You know what? My son's playing football at Alabama."
It also says that Gehrig, who went to high school in South Bend, grew up with a dislike for Notre Dame.
Welcome to Alabama, son.
That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.