Let’s start with basketball...women’s basketball. In many ways, Kristy Curry has underperformed in her Capstone tenure. She had a great opportunity last season after a deep run in the NIT and hauling in the No. 8 recruiting class. But then, Alabama’s familiar woes in conference play surfaced and it seems as though the program is just stuck in neutral.
This year is much the same, but has slipped even more. After a mediocre showing in non-conference play, the Tide got a much-needed SEC home-opening win. Since that time however, ‘Bama has dropped its last three contests (and some have been grizzly blowouts.)
But, one area Curry has been outstanding is in besting long-time juggernaut Tennessee. In fact, ‘Bama has a four-game winning streak against the Lady Vols. Tonight in Coleman Coliseum, the Tide can make it five in a row. And this is a must-win.
The Alabama women’s basketball team looks to extend its winning streak versus No. 20 Tennessee to five games on Thursday night at 8 p.m. CT inside Coleman Coliseum. Both the Crimson Tide (9-8, 1-3 SEC) and the Lady Vols (12-4, 1-3 SEC) have lost their previous three conference games after winning their respective SEC openers on Jan. 3.
On the Men’s side, it should be pointed out that when John Petty is red-hot, he is terrific on both ends of the court.
For those wondering when Clemson is going to stumble, we’ll know before September is up. The two hardest games on the Tigers schedule are back-to-back: hosting the revamped Texas A&M Aggies and then a road trip to the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse. The Orange are coming off their first 10-win season in almost two decades, have played Dabo’s team really well the last two outings, and even picked up a win two years ago in this notoriously difficult road trip. (Complete ACC schedule above.)
So those (like me) hoping that the target can stay off Alabama’s back for a change may be disappointed if/when CU drops one or both of these contests.
Remember yesterday when we spoke about addition by subtraction? This may another such case: Tosh Lupoi is heading to Freddie Kitchens’ staff in Cleveland to coach d-line, a position in which he has previously excelled.
This very much seems like Saban arranged a golden parachute for a young coach he genuinely likes and respects (and he has great affinity for Tosh.) Tosh is a likeable guy, a good young coach, an outstanding recruiter, and he will eventually improve. But this isn’t a program for training wheels, and Alabama defense was fairly abysmal by the Tide’s lofty standards:
In his one season with the Tide, Lupoi’s Alabama defense allowed 18.1 points per game. That ranked third in the SEC and 12th in the country, but it was the first time the Alabama defense had allowed more than 18 points per game since the 2014 season and the first time it finished outside the top 10 nationally in points allowed since it ranked 32nd in 2007, allowing 23.3 points per game. That was also Nick Saban’s first season at Alabama.
Much as the offense bogging down wasted the best defensive line in history of college football in 2016, last year has to be seen as a failure by the defensive staff and wasting one of its better offenses. There is one more season left of a transcendentally talented offense at Alabama. Expect to see a full-court press to land the best defensive talent the coaching ranks can provide (early rumors suggest Washington’s excellent DC Jimmy Lake).
Bill Bender’s piece in TSN is right: Hurts to Oklahoma is win-win for everyone:
At this point in the movie, everybody comes out a winner.
Alabama and Nick Saban come out on the right side. Hurts, a graduate transfer, praised the university one more time. Saban proved he can massage a tough quarterback decision, which started the second he replaced Hurts with Tagovailoa in the thrilling 26-23 overtime victory against Georgia at the 2018 College Football Playoff championship game. That came full circle with Hurts’ comeback, and now the program moves on with Tagovailoa.
Given the current environment of transfer quarterbacks at big-time programs, this could have turned out a lot worse.
By way of a teaser, we (may) have a goodbye piece for Mister Hurts coming later today. If not today, then certainly tomorrow.
But, for now, Bender’s is a good take — certainly a lot better than this speculative nonsense Mike Farrell pulled right out of his ass:
Who told him that? Certainly not Jalen Hurts. But, hey, when you’re a middle-aged jock-sniffer, breathlessly obsessing over a 16-year old’s Instagram posts for a living, I guess you get this kind of creative license, eh?
Player reactions to Jalen’s transfer are here. Nothing but love.
The CFP committee has been revamped, and we have some #MANBALL enthusiasts added to the board:
The playoff announced Wednesday that Gen. Ray Odierno would join the committee in 2019. Odierno, a former Army Chief of Staff, joins the committee with Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir and former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum.
Odierno is the chairman of USA Football and served as the Army Chief of Staff from 2011-15. He played football at West Point in 1972 and 1973. He’s the second person with high-level military experience to join the committee. Former Secretary of Defense Condoleezza Rice was a member of the inaugural CFP selection committee.
Gen. Odierno may find that wrangling the Pentagon will have been an easier task than getting the competing blocs of Swofford/Sankey and Delany/Bowlsby to come to agreement.
Keep an eye on this, too: If Maryland poaches UT’s staff, you can see UT trying to replace their secondary with someone familiar with the defense. That means returning the favor to Alabama — Karl Scott perhaps. This is an incestuous league.
Sources tell FootballScoop that Tennessee safeties coach / special teams coordinator Charles Kelly has been offered the Maryland defensive coordinator job. We are told Maryland expects Kelly to accept the position and a deal could be in place as early as this evening.
Finally, end on an up note. AL did an outstanding listicle/recap of Jalen’s career. I highly recommend it:
It’s been an eventful run for native Texan, who leaves the Crimson with a national championship ring and a 26-2 record as starting quarterback. He’s had some ups-and-downs, but is likely to go down as one of the most beloved players in Alabama football history.
Here are 17 memorable moments in Hurts’ time at Alabama:
That may be it for today. Kind of slow while we’re gearing up for NSD, Combine, and working on Senior salutes. But, I think I speak for everyone when I say this offseason needs to simmer down already.