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Jumbo Package: CBS hates us all — Alabama opens SEC play against USC in the middle of the afternoon

There are few places more miserable than Columbia, South Carolina in the summer.

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Kudos, ladies!

Three Alabama softball players were selected as NFCA Division-I All-Americans, with freshman Montana Fouts, sophomore Kaylee Tow and junior Bailey Hemphill all earning second-team honors.

The accolade is the first for Fouts and Hemphill and the second for Tow, who earned second-team distinction last season. The trio improves Alabama’s total to 57 All-America awards over the program’s 23-year history.

Now, #RTOTA. By way of a teaser, at 10:00 central, we have our Oklahoma-Alabama WCWS preview coming your way. The miscarriage of seeding justice has been done, now it’s just up to the team to go out and prove they were slighted.

For Kaylee Tow, it wasn’t the only award she picked up yesterday either:

Alabama sophomore Kaylee Tow was announced as the winner of the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 award, presented at the Women’s College World Series team banquet Tuesday evening.

* * *

The Elite 90 award recognizes the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average among the championship field for each of the NCAA’s 90 men’s and women’s championships across its three divisions.

Nick Saban doesn’t typically go in for sloganeering — it is the fans and media and marketing that slapped a de facto trademark on The Process — but, if there has been any theme for the 2019 offseason it has been this: Back to basics.

Please join me in pouring one out for the Duke Blue Devils...and about a dozen other suckers.

I liked this piece from NBC on Mark Ingram’s adjustment with the Ravens. Poor No. 22, he’s just 70 yards or so away from being the all-time franchise rushing leader in the Big Easy. Hopefully, he’ll get a final one-year deal with the Saints to notch that record that he earned — even if it is one that will promptly be broken by Alvin Kamara.

Running back Mark Ingram spent the first eight years of his career with the Saints playing for the same head coach with the same quarterback in a system that wasn’t making major changes from year to year.

That consistency means that it’s been a while since Ingram has had to spend an offseason making sure he’s on the same page with all of his teammates. That’s the case for Ingram now that he’s in Baltimore and there’s particular importance to developing chemistry with the team’s offensive linemen as Ingram figures out the best path to success on the ground.

Speaking of rarities, this may be the closest to legitimately riled up that you’ll ever hear from Alabama’s demure softball skipper, Patrick Murphy’s.

I have a confession, y’all. I don’t get the “23” thing this year with softball as it is, and now we’re adding 8 to the fold? I do regret the development though: If I were that good at math, I’d have gone to med school.

From the CBS Sports press release:

This year’s schedule kicks off on Sept. 14 with reigning SEC Champion Alabama visiting South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium. The annual rivalry game between defending SEC East Champion Georgia and Florida will take place on Nov. 2. In addition to the traditional Saturday SEC Game of the Week at its familiar 3:30 PM, ET time slot, there will be a primetime doubleheader on Sept. 21 and an afternoon doubleheader on Nov. 16.

For now, only UA-USC, UGA-UF, Army-Navy, and Mizzou-Arkansas are locked in as the CBS games of the week. But, with two doubleheaders this season, and just a few awesome ‘Bama games on the schedule, it’s a safe bet that the Tide will see its familiar 2:30 home for most of the competitive ones.

And, can we talk about how miserable that USC game is going to be in the hellmouth of Columbia, SC? In the middle of the afternoon? In late summer? It’s already consistently the hottest stadium in the SEC alongside A&M: a breezeless, joyless, concrete edifice built from sorrow and swamp ass. But, hey, at least it has relentless, soul-crushing subcoastal humidity!

I was going to go to this game, since Brice-Williams is one of the few SEC stadiums remaining on my bucket list. However, after seeing that 2:30 kick, I realize I can wait another 8 years and then give it a go.

Staples’ Punt, Pass, and Pork speculates on the SEC’s greatest emergent rivalry: Alabama-Georgia.

Georgia is going to have to win one of these to turn this into a true slugfest at the top—and LSU, Auburn and Florida still may have their say—but it appears these two programs are set up for an epic rivalry. Saban may be 67, but he just had hip replacement surgery and got back to work. He claims he wants to work for a long time. Every coach who has to recruit players will always say he wants to coach at least five more years, but ask yourself this, what’s a retired Nick Saban going to do all day? He probably is on board for the foreseeable future

I’d still say that LSU-Alabama or Barn-Bama is of more importance at the moment. The UGA-Alabama games over the past 6-7 years have been tremendous affairs, all nail-biters, and all for a championship of one stripe or another. But the simple fact is, to even get to that level, the three-way circular firing squad of AU-Alabama-LSU has to sort itself out first. And there is not a single rivalry among the three that does not have a lot of bad blood; nor has a single team outside of the trio made an appearance in Atlanta since Nick Saban’s arrival. And, only twice in that same dozen year-span has the East won one of them. This doesn’t even speak to the renewed animosity between UGA and UF, what with transfers, nasty recruiting battles, Mullen and Kirby firing off snark at one another, and the like

Staples is right about this point though: Georgia is going to have to win one of them against Alabama first. But not today, Satan. Not today.

Goodness gracious, not only is Will Wade a cheater and a liar, but he’s bad at both. Look at this exchange with reporters after a three-month period in which he was in hiding, only to reemerge in time for NSD to open the piggy bank for Trendon Watford...allegedly:

The sequence that probably summed it up was when Wade was questioned by Yahoo’s Pat Forde, the co-writer of the original story stating that on an FBI wiretap Wade was heard saying he made a “strong-ass offer” to sign Javonte Smart. What was the “strong-ass offer,” Forde asked Wade on Tuesday?

“Well I think … it’s a good question,” Wade said.

Then he didn’t elaborate.

OK, another reporter asked, was Wade quoted accurately in those stories alleging the “strong-ass offer”?

“I’ve not heard the recordings, so I don’t know,” Wade replied. “I don’t think any of us have heard the recordings.”

Another reporter tried a broader question: Did Wade or any current member of his staff exchange money with a representative or family member of a player?

“I understand you have to ask that,” Wade said.

Again, that was the extent of his response.

The only real denial Wade had made was in relation to a claim made by a now-former Arizona assistant on a wiretap about something Wade supposedly told him about a $300,000 deal to get Naz Reid.

“That’s absolutely false and did not happen,” Wade said.

Well, glad we cleared that up, Naz!

The NCAA is going to have a field day with this clown...assuming the FBI doesn’t get him first: The Feds showed up in Baton Rouge in late April after the smoke cleared in the first round of the college hoops trials. That, uh, is normally not good news.

Kudos to Sankey and crew for this: a comprehensive review of officiating in the league.

The SEC is conducting a comprehensive review of its football officiating. The obvious question: Why is the best conference in college football conducting a comprehensive review of its officiating?

The answer: Why not?

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the move to retain international accounting firm Deloitte was more proactive than anything else.

”I did this not because something is broken,” Sankey said on Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings. “… But I want us to be better. The sport officiating environment is evolving.”

Will it placate the tinfoil hats in Baton Rouge? Of course not. But at least objective outside accounting expertise will be on the record now.

We have a piece upcoming about Jerry Jeudy. There’s a softball preview later this morning, as the Tide are set to square off in OKC against an intersectional rival it should have not seen until at oeast the semifinals. And — hey! earlier this morning we talked about Jesse Owens and those legendary 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Not too shabby for the offseason.