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Jumbo Package: The spread’s spread, Saban contract fallout, and ESPN says something really dumb

Most agree, Saban is worth every penny.

NFL Draft
Good news! More Armani suits for Coach Saban!
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The spread offense has changed football forever -

For more than a decade, one word has defined the current iteration of offensive football in college: spread.

The spread offense scatters players wide all across the field. It’s designed to be distribution-friendly. It forces defenses to worry about every eligible ball carrier on the field, and horizontal inches as well as vertical.

Hal Mumme has a notable quote in this love letter to the spread (a series of concepts even coaches can’t agree upon,) wherein he notes that teams aren’t going to win in 12 formations or 22 sets post-spread — there’s no going back. That would be news to Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford, Iowa, Florida State, LSU and the many others who have adopted spread concepts and managed to win a national title, make the playoffs, or be in the national discussion the past decade while still playing power football.

Still, this is a really good illustration of spread concepts and how they’ve been and are being adopted across all levels of football from SBN’s Future of Football series.

Biggest positive spring takeaway for every top-25 college football team Ohio State Buckeyes Alabama Crimson Tide Florida State Seminoles

Here's a look at the biggest reasons for optimism for each team

The season of optimism is upon us. Here’s a preliminary Top-25 by Mark Schlabach and why fans may be excited going into fall camp. For the Tide, it’s Jalen Hurts. Shocker, I know. That said, I think I may be just as excited, maybe more so, to watch the wide receivers and linebackers work. This team is going to fly.

The history of Nick Saban's rising salary, how it's been viewed |

There are fewer complaints about the value of Saban's salary after winning four national titles in 10 Alabama seasons.

It's also far from universal praise. Hours after his new deal was announced Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune had a column headline "Nick Saban's obscene new salary blurs the line between college and pros." The counterpoint was covered by outlets like USA Today and Forbes.

Either way, a pay raise for Saban draws attention at levels unlike his peers.

For his career, Saban will have brought in over a billion dollars to the athletic department. He will have also earned over $100 million. Again, if you can double and triple your investment, I’m not sure how that’s a bad thing. People bitch about schools wasting money, while Alabama (among a select group) is printing the greenbacks to throw back into the school, athletically, academically, and, as discussed below, in branding and degree valuation. That’s just good business.

Unrelated, this is a good recap of the Saban salary griping through the years -- beginning with that first multi-million dollar deal.

What they're saying nationally about Nick Saban's new salary |

"The state of Alabama could give Nick Saban a blank check & whatever number he filled in wouldn't be enough 4 what he has done in that state." SEC Network's Booger McFarland.

And, let’s be honest, after 100+ wins and playing for 5 national titles in 10 years, the grumbling has almost been silenced. USA Today, Fox Sports, Forbes, and the talking heads are in near agreement that, yeah, he and this staff are worth the money.

One notable exception to the salary discussion was ESPN’s Max Kellerman who, in the face of evidence and hard data, still thinks big contracts are tied to the higher ed pricing crisis (it’s almost like this guy hasn’t heard of self-sustaining athletic programs or the student loan program which has allowed schools to more aggressively target, accept, and indebt students.) Y’all know me: I am not much of a stay-in-your-lane kind of guy. But this is thermonuclear-grade stupidity by Max Kellerman. So, Max, until you do some more reading, yeah, you probably want to stick to sports -- not because you don’t deserve to discuss the junction of social and athletic issues, but because, as far as Alabama is concerned, you’re just wrong (and, as we discuss below, you’re ignoring that this investment has tangible returns to the everyday student and the institution)

Nick Saban is worth every penny of his $11 million haul at Alabama

Alabama isn’t the gaudiest producer of revenue in college athletics, but Crimson Tide athletics isn’t hurting with the football program bringing in revenue of $103.9 million in 2016. That resulted a tidy profit of $47.7 million for Alabama football, according to

Saban is very much at the center of that.

The year before Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007, the athletic department reported revenue of $67 million, according to Last year, the Crimson Tide athletic department reported revenue of $164 million. That’s a jump of 142 percent.

Saban’s impact on athletics can’t be understated, and Rivals (among others) does a good job of explaining that. Fortunately, the article also addresses the impact to both the number and quality of students admitted to Alabama during this era of football dominance, as well as the increased academic profile because of that retention: The two are inexorably intertwined. If you or your kid have or are earning a degree from the Capstone, send a shout out to our angry little Serb — he makes that degree more valuable, more marketable and ultimately worth the investment. Roll Damn Sheepskin.


The long-forgotten transfer who symbolizes Alabama's rapid rise |

"I didn't come over here to sit on the bench," Jones thought to himself.

The Mobile native eyed Auburn. But he got the impression he would be used as a receiver there. That was a deal-breaker. He also looked at Troy. Yet Jones still dreamed of the NFL and knew he could compete in the SEC.

He eventually settled on Alabama as his next destination. The Crimson Tide needed a player like Jones. Javier Arenas, Marquis Johnson and three other defensive backs were scheduled to graduate by the time Jones would be eligible the following year. There was a dearth of experience at a position Nick Saban supervised at a program he was charged with returning to glory.

I love this story on Phelon Jones. We sometimes forget his contribution to the team in light of the 2008 NSD class, but his transfer in tandem with that class, did signal to other 4- and 5-star defenders that Alabama had it together. Go read it.

Keith Holcombe out for rest of baseball season |

The sophomore outfielder, who is also a linebacker on the football team, underwent labrum surgery on his shoulder after the conclusion of spring football practice. He’ll be out while he works towards a return for football in the fall.

“We’d love to have him but we understand the situation he’s in,” Goff said. “We wanted to make sure he had that thing taken care of so he’s ready for football come August.”

Looks like I’m not the only one who’s had it with this baseball season: Holcombe underwent labrum surgery so as to be 100% ready for fall, where he will compete for a starting job (or at least get a ton of reps at LB.) Then again, facing No. 3 Auburn, No. 8 Florida and No. 25 Vandy down the stretch of a 2-win SEC baseball season, he’s got no real incentive to do otherwise.

Speaking of baseball 1. No, Goof is still the coach, and 2. Finals are winding down at the Barn and Capstone. Tomorrow begins the three-game road Iron Bowl baseball series at Plainsman Park (where do they get these names?) I know ole’ Roger isn’t much of a drinker, but he may be after this series is over. Keep him in your prayers. I’m off for the next day or so to go see Amon Amarth and Goatwhore. I’ll have the Blogpoll for the East up for you on Saturday. Roll Tide