On this gloomy day for most of the country, one covered in clouds, rain, sleet, and snow, let’s jump over a forced JP with barely any news and instead check out this collection of fascinating miscellany that you may have missed the past day or two.
I promise, this will be the most interesting stuff you read today:
- On a week where we honored Trent Richardson’s return to competitive football, his Alabama-laden offensive line was the real star of the day for the Birmingham Iron. And especially awesome was Dominick Jackson:
Dominick Jackson was an undrafted free agent from Alabama before spending some time in Washington and Detroit as a camp body in the NFL. In the AAF, he may be one of the few offensive linemen that can consistently give quarterbacks time. The Birmingham Iron player did well countering spin moves and riding defensive linemen through the arc, and the only time a sack came through the right side was when Jackson was assigned a down block and the tight end failed to pick up the protection. He stayed patient and balanced, unlike most of the pass protectors this weekend. In addition to all of that, the powerful Alabama right tackle paved the way for a marginally effective run game that turned on the jets in the fourth quarter.
- Should one of these former ‘Bama stars turn the heads of an NFL team, the AAF standard contract wisely includes an NFL-out clause...and a decent salary and perks for players in a developmental league. Since the AAF is positioning itself as a development league, one intended to supplement the NFL instead of replacing it, being pro-friendly is a must:
AAF co-founder Bill Polian revealed to Rovell, then of ESPN, in July 2018 that players will receive three-year, non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000. The pacts include health insurance and an education stipend for any player who registers one year of service time.
Meanwhile, players are allowed to sign with NFL teams while under contract in the AAF. Per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, “NFL out” clauses become available from post-AAF championship game through Dec. 1 of each calendar year.
- The AAF does have some really squirrely rules regarding pass rushing. So, that make Dominick Jackson’s job easier:
With not nearly enough good quarterbacks to go around, and with solid offensive line play not the easiest thing to engineer, the Alliance of American Football has baked into the rulebook procedures for helping the quarterbacks and their blockers seem better than they may be.
While scanning the AAF rulebook rulebook, the following restrictions on defensive formations stood out: (1) no more than five players may rush on passing plays
- For an outstanding recap of what the league brings to the table, and what we witnessed on opening week, Rodger Sherman’s piece in the Ringer is fantastic.
- Unfortunately, the 2015 woebegone home loss to Ole Miss will not be among them, BUT, hey, 2014 never happened?
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork says the school will vacate 33 football wins from six seasons between 2010 and 2016 after using ineligible players during games.
- We sort of figured Georgia wouldn’t contest Fields’ petition to immediately transfer. And, Bru McCoy’s sign-and-flip from USC-to-Texas is more than a little dodgy. But, if untermenschen crybaby Tate Martell gets an immediate waiver, the transfer rules will be exposed for what they are: Thinly-veiled free agency. An unreal 51 of 64 transfer waivers have already been approved by Emmert’s junta in Indianapolis:
Martell transferred to Miami from Ohio State after Fields made his way from Georgia to Ohio State. His appeal for eligibility this fall would seemingly be more groundbreaking than the Fields situation considering the backstory for Fields leaving Georgia and Martell simply looking for a better chance to be the starter on the field. If Martell is given a chance to play this fall, it would be evidence that the system has definitely changed the game in college football. It would open the doors to as close to free agency as possible, a growing concern for many as more and more players seem to be transferring earlier and earlier in their college careers.
- The CFP Playoff committee lost Big 10 shill and OSU AD Gene Smith...but then promptly gains another one. From the CFP Press Release:
Gary Barta, University of Iowa Henry B. & Patricia B. Director of Athletics Chair, has been appointed to the selection committee by the CFP Management Committee. He will begin a three-year term this spring. Barta replaces Ohio State Senior Vice President & Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith,
- You feel for these kids at a prep school who used to be the punching bag of its prep league. And, in less than three years, an influx of cash into the program by a wealthy coach/booster turned it into a dynamo that no one will play. In fact, St. Frances has to even travel to Canada to find teams willing to meet them on the field. These are elite talents that are losing valuable game film and competitive opportunities to impress colleges, and that’s a big deal:
The best high school football team in Maryland, and maybe the nation, plays its games in a public park in Baltimore. There is no Texas-size crowd under its Friday-night lights. There might be two dozen spectators — mostly parents — if the team is lucky. This year, the St. Frances Academy Panthers almost didn’t have a season. No one in their private-school league would play them. They are just that good.
- Bootstrapping into that that story is the fact that the majority of the St. Frances players are black. Even as there has been a diaspora of white kids leaving football, and leaving in droves in some areas, for many poorer black families, football represents a chance for their children to earn a degree and have a better life.
Yet not all parents are holding back their kids from tackle football at equal rates, which is creating a troubling racial divide. Kids in mostly white upper-income communities in the Northeast, Midwest, and West are leaving football for other sports such as lacrosse or baseball. But black kids in lower-income communities without a lot of other sports available are still flocking to football. In keeping with America’s general racial demographics, white boys continue to make up the majority of youth-tackle-football players, according to data from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. But proportionally, the scales appear to be shifting. A recent survey of 50,000 eighth-, tenth-, and 12th-grade students found that about 44 percent of black boys play tackle football, compared with 29 percent of white boys, as analyzed by the University of Michigan sociologist Philip Veliz. Football at the high-school level is growing in popularity in states with the highest shares of black people, while it’s declining in majority-white states. Other recent studies suggest that more black adults support youth tackle football than white adults.
- Spencer Hall and Steven Godfrey’s long-form on why Alabama’s dynasty is different, why Alabama is institutionally different, may be the most comprehensive and excellent piece on the Saban era I’ve ever read:
Alabama being great at making good college football teams is not a new thing. The program has had dynasties before: In the 1920s under coach Wallace Wade; and then in the 1960s and 70s under Paul “Bear” Bryant. But, this. This has been, is, and will likely continue to be different. Alabama has sustained success like no other previous Alabama dynasty, and like few other college football programs have ever done period.
That all ends up with the figure of Nick Saban, a singularly obsessed figure unlike any other coach of his generation. But it starts with the foundation — the place, the people in a state where football is built into the very power structure of Alabama itself — and lines up all the way from the state, to the school, to the field, and the players who make the program the rare monster that it is.
- The complete slate of Spring games were released by the SEC yesterday. We’ll have more on A-Day soon, but here they all are in their varying degrees of ignominy and/or glory:
On Monday, the SEC Network tweeted the SEC spring game schedule with the times and the networks they will be aired.
“It’s always football season in the SEC,” the network tweeted, along with a photo of the SEC game schedule.
Although most of the games will be aired on the SEC Network, ESPN will also air some of the action for the weekend games. ESPN2 will feature SEC Champion Alabama on Saturday, April 13, while ESPNU will showcase Arkansas: Red-White Spring Game on April 6, Mississippi State: Maroon-White Game on April 13, and Missouri: Black & Gold Spring Game on April 13, according to ESPN.
- Finally, is it time to dump gymnastics’ safety valve rule? Why should every rotation at every event earn you a mulligan, one where fully 16% of the competition is meaningless?
After the bars rotation was done, the commentator said, “UCLA survived the fall. They didn’t have to count it.” That’s because the rules in college gymnastics state that six gymnasts go up on each event but only the top five count towards the team total. Basically, you’re allowed to throw out the first—or third or sixth—pancake every event.
There ya’ go folks: You won’t find cooler stuff to talk about during the offseason than that. Have at it. We’ll be back later today with some more #content. Joie de vivre!