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Jumbo Package: 98 Days ‘Till College Football. Or is it?

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Or 100, or 97, depending on your math.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15">Mike Wallace

This photo is not related to anything except that it has Bo Wallace being turned into human cannoli.

We’re not doing countdowns this year. It’s exceptionally time consuming, and I have a busy summer.

But, I’m not above stealing other people’s work. So, let’s begin with CBS’ countdown:

The storylines

1. Nick Saban vs. The World: Saban has been in the playoff all four years of the system’s existence and carries a 5-2 record with a pair of national titles. Admitting some recency bias, the 2018 CFP National Championship win was the most impressive of his five at Alabama and six overall -- just surpassing the 21-0 bludgeoning of LSU in New Orleans.

Reuben Foster has been exonerated, mainly, from the terrible DV charges leveled against him a month ago. His accuser, his live-in girlfriend with admittedly pecuniary motives, retracted her accusations, saying she was doing it for the money. Now, the San Francisco DA has dropped all DV charges against Foster.

He still faces a firearms offense and has a marijuana possession to answer for in Alabama, but he has been welcomed back to practice effective today. And, it appears his career will not suffer because of the wrongful allegations.

Wallace Gilberry, one of the unheralded greats, is back in Mobile and giving back to the community. In an effort to promote football, while being mindful of CTE and head trauma, he has started a K-6 flag football program in the gulf:

...Gilberry has started a flag football league for kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

”I’m looking at it as a way to slow down the game of football,” Gilberry said. “And when I say slow down the game of football, I mean taking some of the contact away from the kids at such a young age, giving the parents an understanding on what their kids are doing and why their kids are doing it, and we even have tutoring sessions on some of the practice schedule days where we invite the parents in, because some parents don’t know what a first down is.

This is such a good story.

Here we sit, 98 days from the start of college football...or 98...or maybe even 97. No one really knows where to begin the countdown. Conflicting countdowns are an integral part of this sport, where fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants isn’t just a feature, it’s how national champions are crowned.

People often speak of “talent-rich recruiting states”. But, a new study one-ups that — it identifies by name and mapping, which schools are churning out the FBS prospects. Fascinating data. That Alabama has three locations on the map probably won’t suprise you — you could probably even name these elite programs off the top of your head.

Ian Boyd breaks down the Canes-LSU game, one that I described earlier this week as “ugly, and you should feel bad for watching it.” After cranking through the Xs and Os, he arrives at much the same conclusion:

It looks much more likely that both of these teams will end up fielding truly fearsome defenses than that either will be particularly good on offense in week one.

With that in mind, this game likely comes down to which offense manages to protect the ball and make the most of opportunities created by their own defense. Given the Canes’ experience in the secondary and at QB, juxtaposed with Burrow’s lack of experience in the LSU program, the pick here is a Hurricane victory.

Alabama may not have the most ferocious slate overall in 2018. But, when compared to the rest of the league, it still lands near the top in degree of difficulty:

Like LSU, Bama’s nonconference features one difficult ACC opponent to open the season in Louisville, and then what should be easy wins against Arkansas State, UL-Lafayette and The Citadel. The big difference, however, is that while LSU got both Georgia and Florida from the East, Bama gets Tennessee and Missouri -- a much softer landing. The road slate features games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU. Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Mizzou will all come to Tuscaloosa.

CABC follows up on Chris Sailer’s Will Reichard comments. Bama Online’s recruiting podcast this week has more in this interview with the only name to know in kicking and punting evaluation.

This pod is fresh off the press, just 90 minutes old.

So...ummm...yeah. That’s about it for today. Very slow. And it’s about to get slower. Feel free to throw the digital equivalent of rotten fruit in the comments below. #NoRefunds