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Jumbo Package: Steve Sarkisian opens up and cupcakes are getting awfully expensive

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama A Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The softball team suffered a heartbreaker last night and now must run an extraordinarily difficult loser’s bracket gauntlet, starting with a Florida team on Saturday that managed to drop one against #13 Oklahoma State while the lowest seeded Tide took the clear favorite to the wire. Yes, we are still salty about the seeding as the Tide would probably be in the winner’s bracket right now had they played anyone but Oklahoma.

In football notes, Steve Sarkisian spoke publicly for the first time since taking the Alabama job.

“I offered Tua a scholarship after I went and watched him work out over at St. Louis High School in Honolulu,” Sarkisian said. “From then on, we re-connected through recruiting. I was there at Alabama right when he first showed up (as a true freshman early enrollee), but then obviously moved on to the Falcons and now back. Tua’s a very instinctual player. He’s got great instincts for the game, he’s got a very quick release. But I think the biggest thing about him is he’s had to deal with a lot of success and then the hardship at the end of last year. To see him put in the work this offseason — I know coach Saban been pushing him to do a lot of the little things to become the best player he can be. He’s done that. Today was our first day back for the summer, and he looked in great shape. I know he’s chomping at the bit to have another great season this fall.”

Saban believes in him and Tua Tagovailoa believes in him. That should go a long way.

Check out these odds:

At the Westgate, Clemson and Alabama are minus 170 favorites over the field, which is plus 145. The line opened at pick but sharp action quickly moved the number and the vast majority of money is on the Alabama-Clemson option.

It is May 31, and a national title matchup of Alabama vs. Clemson is actually a betting favorite over all other scenarios, including one or neither of these teams vs. anyone else. That is ridiculous.

Alabama has dominated the LSU series sufficiently to knock some luster off of the matchup.

Though CBS could technically select the Tigers-Crimson Tide clash for prime time later, as is it did in 2011, it is the first time since 2012 the network has not set its day-night doubleheader for the date of the LSU-Alabama game.

Instead, the network has chosen September 21 for its second doubleheader week (the other being rivalry week, of course) where they will choose between Tennessee-Florida, Georgia-Notre Dame, and Auburn-Texas A&M. My money is on the second choice as they vie for those Catholic eyeballs from all over the country, particularly those around NYC and Chicago.

If you’re wondering about drivers for the trend toward home-and-home series, it seems that the rising price of cupcakes plays a major role.

And the two-for-one series (including a trip to Tampa in 2023) makes financial sense as the guaranteed paydays for Group of Five games rise.

’Bama will pay New Mexico State $1.7 million for the Aggies’ trip to Tuscaloosa in September and another $1.9 million for their matchup in 2021. That figure is comparable to what the Tide will pay to host Utah State in 2022.

Sounds like a market correction. None of us is privy to all of the financials, but it appears that preserving an extra home date is worth somewhere between $1M and $2M. Once the number climbs higher, going on the road once makes more sense than paying for an opponent. The cupcakes are now going to have to choose between lowering their demands or seeing the Power Five schools squeeze them out.

Alabama is in another southern recruiting war for a five-star RB.

This now leaves Alabama, Georgia and LSU, which is going to be a heavyweight battle for Zach Evans. I think something to keep in mind with Zach Evans is he has a teammate, Damieon George, a teammate, an offensive tackle who is 6-foot-6.5, 348 pounds. There’s some chatter those two want to play at the same school. All those schools have offered. It could be a package deal as well.”

Saban has never been one for package deals, but Alabama is actually the only school of the three to have offered George at this point, with Karl Scott and Kyle Flood assigned to him. Hopefully that will pay dividends.

Scott Meyer has found his destination.

Entering the NCAA transfer portal in February, Meyer will transfer to Vanderbilt for his final two years of collegiate eligibility, BamaOnLine has learned. The Alpharetta, Ga., native graduated from Alabama earlier this month and will be immediately eligible to play for the Commodores.

Best of luck, Scott.

They are far from being good, but the Hogs are showing some signs of life.

“A goal of ours is to continue to be the best Arkansas Razorback football team that we can be, and whatever that looks like at the end of the year we’ll evaluate it at that point,” Morris said Thursday in Shreveport. “I think year two is a big step for us. I think the culture was established in year one and we have to teach our young men how to live the culture and just focus on getting better every day. We’re recruiting at a very high level right now and we got to continue to develop the young men we have.”

Chad has indeed improved the recruiting in Fayetteville. Last year’s class finished up at #23 on the 247 Composite and so far they are #20 for the 2020 cycle. Fitting that he made these comments in Shreveport. With a little luck, maybe he’ll be back there in December.

Last, he may not be from Alabama but for country music fans of a certain age, this is sad news.

Now Rogers — who has been crippled with pain and has not appeared in public since 2018 — has moved into a remote Georgia community and is selling off his assets, saying his final farewells and planning his own funeral, sources said.

The iconic 80-year-old has turned back toward the window and crushed out his cigarette. May his last days be peaceful and comfortable.

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

Roll Tide.