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Jumbo Package: Softball selection committee chair embarrasses herself explaining low seed as Tide kicks off NCAA tournament play

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Today marks the kickoff of what we hope will be a long tournament run for Alabama softball as the ladies take on Alabama State at Rhoads Stadium. First pitch is at 5:30 on ESPNU. The selection committee chair explained Alabama’s low seeding.

SA: What did the committee see from Alabama that caused them to fall to No. 8?

BS: I know people don’t always understand or don’t want to look at it but Alabama is the only team in the top eight with a three-digit non-conference strength of schedule.

We thought that they did enough to deserve the recognition for a top eight but we take into account everything and that includes all four quadrants. They had a really heavy fourth quadrant but they still won their games so they don’t get punished. For us, we can’t go off of the eye test. We have to go off of the information that is given to us to provide a fair and equitable process to everybody.

Sorry, Brandi, but your initials are apropos. Alabama beat 6-seed Arizona by a 6-1 score, 7-seed Minnesota twice by a combined 8-2 margin, and swept both 5-seed Florida and 10-seed LSU in their home parks. This team should be in the top four at the very least and half the top eight should probably be SEC teams, but politics won’t allow for such.

Next, Chris Trapasso at CBS wrote about the top QB prospects from 2018-2020, and Tua stacks up nicely.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Tagovailoa reminds me a lot of Mayfield in college. Smaller, athletic, pocket-passing quarterback who wants to stretch the field any chance he gets and can get through progressions as well as occasionally throwing with anticipation. The college situations are almost identical too.

They have similar weaknesses. Both can prematurely transform into a running back inside the pocket, lock onto a target for a split-second too long and fail to recognize zone defenders. But the strengths for the two far outweigh the weaknesses.

Tagovailoa completed 69% of his passes at a ridiculous 11.2 yards-per-attempt average with 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2018. Mayfield’s second-to-last season at Oklahoma? 70.9% completion, 11.1 yards per attempt, 40 touchdowns, eight picks.

Tua also has elite hand size, reportedly greater than 10 inches, which is important for both accuracy and protecting the ball from slap-happy NFL pass rushers. Mayfield’s was average at about 9.5 inches. Kyler Murray, whose hands are well under the nine inch threshold that is considered a minimum standard, is ranked seventh on this list and Lamar Jackson eighth, which makes this one of the smartest lists I’ve seen. I’m not buying either as a starting NFL QB with any staying power.

Creg Stephenson notes that opening weekend is a little lackluster this year.

Still, it just doesn’t seem like there are as many interesting games this year.

Remember 2016, which was regarded as the greatest opening weekend in college football history? That year we had Oklahoma-Houston (when both were ranked), LSU-Wisconsin, UCLA-Texas A&M, North Carolina-Georgia, Clemson-Auburn and Alabama-USC on Saturday alone, followed by Notre Dame-Texas on Sunday and Florida State-Ole Miss on Monday.

In 2017, we had Alabama-Florida State, Florida-Michigan, LSU-BYU, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech-Tennessee and Texas A&M-UCLA. That’s six interconference games among Power 5 teams or major independents.

I think it’s just how it worked out this year as teams shift more toward home-and-home series that are scheduled a bit further out. Also, week two has a couple of good looking matchups in LSU vs. Texas and Clemson vs. Texas A&M,.

Quinton Dial is hanging them up.

In 2015, Dial became a full-time starter at defensive tackle, a position he maintained in 2016 after signing a four-year, $12.7 million contract extension with the 49ers.

However, a change in coaches after the 2016 brought in a new staff and defensive scheme that wasn’t considered a good fit for Dial’s strengths. San Francisco also used a first-round choice on a defensive lineman in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 drafts. After being released by the 49ers, Dial signed a one-year contract with Green Bay.

Dial stayed in school through his senior season, and the fifth round was his max potential. Still, he serves as another cautionary tale for those who come out early to be drafted that late. NFL contracts aren’t guaranteed, thus Dial only ended up getting about $3 million of that contract extension. He actually beat the odds to get that second deal despite going on the third day, but still only ended up making about as much in six years as an average second rounder will make in his four-year rookie deal.

Last, today is a very sad day in the world of internet memes as we mourn the death of Grumpy Cat.

RIP to the most shareable feline face on the internet.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.