Being the best in the biz draws #haters to Nick Saban like flies on the dead hopes and dreams of Auburn fans trying to hock Peach Bowl tickets. In an era that is undoubtedly marked by more parity, more scrutiny, better athletes, one-sided offensive rules, and better 1-through-85 coaching and development, it crawls under the skin of CNS’ peers that he has seemingly hacked the system. So, what should be an era of parity has instead become one that will be marked as belonging to Alabama as one of college football’s greatest dynasties.
To be the king, you have to kill the king, right? Imitation is the sincerest sort of flattery. Etc. You’d expect coaches to double down on recruiting, to double down on their preparation, to double down on player development, to double down on teaching high school players skills that will be evaluated in college, to give second chances to other coaches who were given a raw deal so as to benefit from their talent.
Yet, in every single one of these areas, the response has not been to play catch-up; it’s been to play give-up. The NCAA has either passed a rule in response to Nick Saban (such as the bump rule, high school camp rules) or is actively contemplating it (analysts in the booth, number of analysts.)
And yesterday, yet another Saban rule was passed: No more ex-players at practices on the scout team.
Saban didn’t just pull a loophole out of the air; the NCAA expressly permitted it in NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124:
”A former student at the certifying institution (e.g., former student-athlete) may participate in an organized practice session on an occasional basis, provided the institution does not publicize the participation of the former student at any time before the practice session.”
He cleared the practices with the SEC. He cleared the practices with the NCAA. No payment was given to JPW. The participation was not advertised. But, after another appearance in the CFP title game, and another trophy on the shelf, now it’s a problem?
The best part is who complained to the NCAA about it — hint, it rhymes with Jimson, through its mouthpiece at the ACC. Never mind the fact that Saban wasn’t the first to use it. Never mind that Clemson followed suit and recruited Tajh Boyd to scout Jalen Hurts. When the scoreboard hits 00:00, there you shall find Swinney whining, either very publicly or attempting to undermine his betters in the background. As angry as I am about this buffoon, I’m even angrier at an NCAA that believes it can and must legislate away superior talent, development, and a once-in-a-lifetime coach.
But, I’m perhaps the angriest at the babe-on-teat mentality that permeates from Auburn-with-a-Lake; a mindset that actually advocates Clemson’s loss partially belongs to a 33-year old insurance agent; that a guy who hasn’t picked up a ball in nearly a decade is giving Alabama a competitive advantage over the four- or five-star quarterbacks sitting on the bench who know the modern game, know the offense, and are in the peak of their athletic careers. Worse, the NCAA played along...again.
It smacks of such bush-league amateur-hour poor loser infantilism that I can only say — once more with feeling, and loudly for those in the back — #NeverDabo.
Whew. Okay, now to the link dump:
- Sarte said hell was other people. He may have spoken too soon. Want the actual definition of hell? How about being stranded at sea for a week with 1500 Gumps jock-sniffing, catching noroviruses, and chugging all-you-can drink mai tais? Yes, the Alabama Crimson Cruise is an actual thing...an actual terrible, terrible thing.
- Herbstreit and Kiper broke down most of Alabama’s early round commitments, and there’s some really good stuff in here at the BOL link. Here’s an excerpt about the guy I’m pulling for the hardest:
“I liked a lot of what he showed early on, and I think when you go back, I actually wrote him up on ESPN.com early in the year. I thought he was excellent. The Florida State game in particular, he was all over the field. I mean I liked his all-around game. The read-and-react ability is good, he has pretty good speed to the football on gameday, how he breaks down pretty well to make tackles in space, brings occasional pressure on the quarterback. Just a smart kid. To me, he can play as a starting linebacker in this league. So, I liked what I saw of him. He gets pushed down just a bit, but if you get into Day 3, again, there’s a guy that can help you. And normally you would have been thinking about him earlier than he’s going to go. So, I always like guys like that that showed that capability to be two or three rounds earlier than they’re going to go. That, to me, is attractive come draft day. If you can get him on Day 3, you got yourself a guy that I think could push for a starting job.”
- All class from the ladies on the diamond. As with other SEC teams, they donned teal in their series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs to show solidarity with Bulldogs’ Alex Wilcox, who is battling ovarian cancer...at just age 20.
#BamaSB will be wearing teal socks, ribbons and helmet decals tonight in honor of @Alex_wilcox8 and her battle with ovarian cancer. No one fights alone Alex! Alabama softball is with you all the way!#RollTide #HailState @HailStateSB pic.twitter.com/I3Ts73dL9W— Alabama Softball (@AlabamaSB) April 18, 2018
And, Alabama took the game last night, BTW. Courtney Gettins has rounded into a very nice midweek starter for the Crimson Tide.
- Minkah’s had just about enough of UCF’s lippiness too:
“I was all busted up after this season. But I said, ‘I’ll play another game if UCF wants to play another game.’ I would have definitely done it for sure. I’m competitive. I don’t want anybody else claiming that they’re the champions when we’re the real champions...”
- Your blood boiling yet? Let me get you the rest of the way there. Minkah Fitzpatrick’s family were once evicted because his parents are in interracial couple. Forty years after Loving vs. Virginia, and 35 years after the Civil Rights and Fair Housing Acts, and this was still a thing on the eve of the 21st century? What is actually wrong with people? (Seriously).
- Not all bad came from the NCAA yesterday. Steps are underway to permit alcohol sales at Championship events. I’m on record here that alcohol sales aren’t what is needed. Beer sales are. I’d rather have 19-year olds paying $11 for a watered down pint of the Silver Bullet than slamming back a pint of Jim Beam and the Bubbas power-drinking shooters as fast as they can at 1:00 p.m.
This is a step in the right direction, I believe, with the caveat that it must done right. Now, whether the NCAA can coordinate a two-car parade that doesn’t end in a flaming collision is another matter.
What say you?