Happy Friday, everyone. We have some interesting discussion pieces for you this morning, starting with the mothership's ranking of the most and least predictable rivalries:
In recent history, only the 2002 Iron Bowl (when an eventual 9-4 Auburn beat an eventual 10-3 Alabama) and 2008 Clemson-South Carolina (when the Tigers, who'd just replaced Tommy Bowden with Dabo Swinney midseason, beat the Gamecocks) stand as truly unexpected results among the two most predictable rivalries on this list.
The primary metric here is end of season S&P rankings and not Vegas point spreads, thus eliminating the infamous game from 2013. You have to go back fourteen years to find an Iron Bowl game that would qualify as a significant upset. Guess we can stop throwing out the record books, eh? Fittingly, the neutral site game formerly known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" is the drunkest rivalry of them all.
3. Alabama: You can argue that everybody in the SEC West plays a difficult schedule every single year, but none of them play one tougher than Alabama's this season. If the Crimson Tide are going to defend their title and get back to the CFP for the third time in its three year existence, it's not going to be easy. The season will begin against USC in Jerry World, which props up a nonconference schedule that really isn't all that difficult (sorry, Western Kentucky, Kent State and Chattanooga). No, what makes Alabama's schedule a bit daunting is the SEC portion of it. The Tide will have to play Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU on the road this season. Those last three games all come within a five-week span. When it's all said and done, Alabama will have played 10 teams that had winning records in 2015.
The greatest impediment to a third consecutive trip to Atlanta will be the schedule. Most pundits project the Ole Miss Rebels, LSU Tigers, and Tennessee Volunteers among the top four teams in the SEC this season along with Alabama, and the Tide must travel to all three. Winning the West will be a tall order, even for a roster as loaded as this one.
Pocic, who underwent hip surgery in the offseason, had double-digit, knockdown-block games on six occasions last season, but Alabama wasn't among them. Instead, the 6-foot-7 Pocic had his hands full with Reed and Payne, as both used leverage and power to consistently reestablish the line of scrimmage a yard-deep in the LSU backfield. With that, all-america running back Leonard Fournette was held to just 31 rushing yards on 19 carries. Assuming Pocic remains in place at center (he's a possibility to step in at one of the two vacancies the Tigers have at tackle), his matchup with Payne will be must-see television.
The LSU offensive line will certainly be playing for pride in front of their home crowd when Alabama comes to town this season. Ethan Pocic is an outstanding player, wherever he starts.
Hire a female commissioner: Speculating on a college football commissioner has become low-hanging fruit this offseason. First, it's never going to happen. Never. Do you hear me? Imagine someone telling Nick Saban he can't recruit Jonathan Taylor. No one is going to tell Jim Delaney what to do. And don't even try to picture a leash on Jim Harbaugh. All that said, this is the wrong discussion. It shouldn't be about a commissioner, it should be about a female commissioner. The sport is owed that at the moment.
Yes, Dennis, that's all the sport is missing: a female commissioner. What happened at Baylor should never have happened, and there is little question that football was prioritized over the victims' rights there, but "the sport" is owed nothing. To say so reduces the sexual assault problem on college campuses to merely a football issue, which it clearly is not.
The Brock Turner case at Stanford highlights the complexity of the issue. The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" requires a judge and jury to be initially skeptical of a victim's claim, and there is often insufficient evidence to convict beyond all reasonable doubt - particularly when the victim can't recount the events as they occurred. This obviously contributes to the "rape culture" that is so frequently lamented, causing victims to underreport. Educating young women on ways to avoid dangerous situations seems prudent but inspires claims of "victim blaming" and calls to teach men not to rape.
Do we really believe that men raping women is an education issue, though? Count me skeptical that rapists are unaware that their actions are abhorrent. No, they know full well that what they are doing is wrong but are either too out of it to care thanks to mind altering substances or willing to ruin another human's life in exchange for a few minutes of some perverse conquest. Colleges can't be expected to fully eradicate crime from their campuses, but a crack down on underage drinking and use of recreational drugs on campus combined with renewed efforts encouraging victims and witnesses to report, then taking immediate and thorough action on each report, would be a great start.
"We are trying to get guys to cover the camp but most of our assistant coaches and myself – I'm not going to go to any satellite camps," Saban said Thursday. "We made the decision that it's most important especially in this time period because there's only limited time periods in the summer time where we have time to spend with our players. It's the first couple of weeks of June and the last couple of weeks in July. We are going to invest more time in that especially me because I don't feel like I get to spend as much time around our players."
Imagine that, Saban is more concerned about developing the players he has than parading around the country playing shirtless two-hand touch with teenage boys.
"Harbaugh has more of an NFL pedigree from when he was there and the success he had," Fox analyst and former Notre Dame/NFL quarterback Brady Quinn said on Wednesday. "He was a former quarterback who had a lot of success as well so maybe he'd be able to see more eye-to-eye with you as a player. I really wouldn't want to play with either, because I'm a Notre Dame guy, but I'd have to say Harbaugh in this case."
Maybe that's why you became a historic bust, Brady
The University of Alabama licensed the technology behind a collapsible sideline tent designed to give better medical care to athletes to a spin-off company that will develop, market, manufacture and distribute the tent. Under an agreement between UA and Kinematic Sports LLC, the SidelinER, as it is now called, is available to be purchased by prep, collegiate and professional sports teams and has the potential for other applications such as emergency response.
Alabama's medical tent has received plenty of air-time, and now it's about to go mainstream.
Lastly, Florida's football field is getting a new name:
Florida Gators (@FloridaGators) June 9, 2016
Word is that the home team will be allowed to quit a third of the way through the game if things aren't going their way. Bulldogs will be scared to death of the place though.
That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.