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Jumbo Package: Could targeting rule changes actually discourage calling penalties?

It is worth thinking about.

UTEP v Tulane Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Alabama is holding tryouts to be Alabama’s anthropomorphic pachyderm. The first informational session was last night, but another one is upcoming:

Christmastime for Roger:

Alabama baseball returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium to begin a six-game homestand leading up to Southeastern Conference play. The stretch will begin on Tuesday with a 3 p.m. CT matchup against UAB. The Crimson Tide will follow that up with another midweek contest on Wednesday, this one against South Dakota State at 3 p.m. Both games will air live on SEC Network+.

That USD is visiting Tuscaloosa rather than the Tide traveling to Vermillion shouldn’t be a surprise — when I spoke to a friend yesterday, it was -10 with a foot-and-a-half of snow on the ground.

And the Big 10 whines about playing football in November. SMH.

Speaking of the Rust Belt, its overlord is finally stepping down. And, man, does Jim Delany ever leave a complicated legacy:

Delany’s legacy includes the controversial decision to turn the Big Ten into a 14-team super conference, causing collateral damage around the athletics world and receiving diminishing returns on the field with schools like Rutgers and Maryland. He was also a stout playoff opponent for nearly a decade, caving only when public pressure increased and opportunity dwindled. He touted the Big Ten’s devotion to the Rose Bowl, even when it became apparent it hindered progress and common sense in the sport.

Tonight is Tide basketball’s last home game of the season. And, yeah, it’s a big one...cross-state Auburn. Alabama really needs a quality win down the stretch here.

The problem is, the Tigers are one of the most lethal perimeter teams in the league, and the Tide are not particularly consistent defenders of the deep ball:

Auburn averages 80.4 points per game, third best in the Southeastern Conference this year, and the Tigers do it primarily with outstanding three-point shooting – shooting the most (856) and making the most 323) and having the best shooting percentage on treys (37.7 percent).

“We know they are a team that can shoot the ball extremely well,” said Alabama junior guard John Petty, Jr. He said that this is a game that defense is “absolutely” most important aspect of the game. “Defense is important and offense is important, but I feel like our defensive intensity will set the tone.”

Earlier this year in Auburn, Bama’s defense was shredded as the Tigers took an 84-63 win, hitting 30 of 58 field goal attempts, including 13-22 on three-point tries (59.1 percent).

You don’t anticipate Auburn shooting 60% from deep again; the Tigers are stellar at home. But this is going to be tough game for the Tide.

We’ll have more on the Tide-Tigers later today in our extensive Bama Basketball Breakdown.

The combine isn’t just a meat market for potential draftees, it’s also an opportunity for teams to shop free agents teams can’t afford or don’t wish to slap the franchise tag upon. Since the Giants were already in Indianapolis, they began shopping two-time pro-bowler Landon Collins to the resurgent Colts.

Amari Cooper is up for an extension, and the Cowboys are expected to make the former Pro-Bowler one of the five highest paid players in the league. Contrasting him to some of the league’s bigger headcases at the position, it’s clear that what he doesn’t bring to a team is almost as important as what he does:

But the brain-trust at The Star knew what they were doing. Not only did they feel Cooper had the talent they were lacking at the position, they knew the type of person he was. Cooper is a very soft spoken guy who just goes out there and does his job. He doesn’t gripe about anything, he doesn’t get into any off-field trouble, and he’s never in the headlines causing a distraction for the team. In fact, his lack of emotion made some form the conclusion that he lacked passion for the game and could be a factor in why the Raiders moved on from him. That couldn’t be further from the truth as he showed up in Dallas ready to compete.

What happened to Saivion Smith when Justyn Ross stole his soul and left his shattered manhood in Santa Clara?

Smith said he had been dealing with a bone bruise on that foot dating back to the SEC Championship Game win over Georgia.

“I just kept reaggravated it,” Smith said, “and it kind of gave out on me.”

Smith said he had been rehabbing the ankle up until the game but “just couldn’t take the pain after I injured it again.”

And on that final play?

“I rolled my ankle, which the talus is the joint that connects your foot and your ankle,” Smith said. “So, when I went to plant and cutting back off, my ankle just rolled and got caught in the turf. I just went down.”

Smith maintains that he had been receiving 2nd-to-4th round grades prior to the Combine. We’ll take him at his word on that one, dubious though we may be. But, when CB breaks down ‘Bama combine performers today, I think it’s safe to say that 4th round would be optimistic. Several players did not have a good showing — and others, like Quinnen Williams, were shockingly excellent.

Your Tuesday WTF:

We all know those people what welsh on bets, and they remain the worst. But do you know anyone that fakes their kidnapping, disappears for days, and then binds themselves in a car to be found by police...over football squares?

On Feb. 27, New York State Police arrested a man for faking his own kidnapping to avoid paying out a Super Bowl squares contest he attempted to rig. Police found 60-year-old Robert Brandel in the backseat of his Ford F-150 with a rope tied around his neck attached to the head rest, and his hands and ankles bound with duct tape.

Yesterday’s JP discussed proposals to change the targeting rules — and they do need to be tweaked. But, TSN’s Bill Bender points out one of the counterintuitive outcomes of the proposed changes: upstairs review could pressure officials into not calling targeting:

The second proposal deals with the instant replay review. Per the proposal, “If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, then the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will not be an option for letting the call on the field stand during a targeting review.”

This is supposed to be the balance to the first proposal, and more than likely the part that comes under even more scrutiny. It’s also a rule that could potentially pressure referees to rule against targeting on the field.

That’ll get you started this morning. We’ll be back later today with some ‘Bama hoops, a Combine wrap-up, and some BIG NEWS (no Major Prize, alas).