Happy Thursday, everyone. Coach Nate Oats landed his first signature win last night as Alabama blew out Auburn in Coleman Coliseum. As CBS notes, the Tide could go on a little run here.
Alabama can build off this win: In Oats’ first season in Tuscaloosa, it hasn’t always been easy sledding. Even with this massive win, the Tide are just 9-7 with losses to Penn, North Carolina and Rhode Island among those on the dossiers. It’s been a process. But this win comes at a good time for Alabama as it looks to gain real momentum for the first time under Oats. Up next in SEC play is Missouri and Vanderbilt, followed by an SEC/Big 12 challenge tilt against Kansas State before the end of the month. There’s a real chance Alabama can parlay what was anticipated to be a loss to rival Auburn into a four-game win streak in the next two weeks — which would be the Tide’s longest of the season.
While it will likely turn out that this particular Auburn team was never as good as its record, it was critical for the Tide to hold serve at home and get to an even 2-2 in the conference. This has looked like a different team in SEC play, and if they maintain this energy level for the rest of the season, they will have a great chance at not only making the NCAA Tournament but getting a decent seed.
They were having some fun with it afterward.
Celebrated as ☝— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) January 16, 2020
That was for you Bama Nation‼️ #RollTide | #BlueCollarBasketball pic.twitter.com/sE10WWyWVa
In football news, you probably saw that Odell Beckham Jr. was handing out cash to LSU players, with cameras rolling, after the title game. An LSU official initially tried to claim that the money was fake, but then someone asked Joe Burrow.
“I’m not a student-athlete anymore so I can say yeah,” said the Heisman winner, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick of the Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Joe really could have worded that better, because the way he said it made it sound as if he’s been coached to lie while he still had eligibility. LSU released a statement saying that they are working with the SEC and NCAA to rectify the situation. One thing no one has mentioned though: what if it turns out that Beckham had promised reward money to players before the game as motivation and someone on the LSU staff knew about it?
Understand, there is no outrage from this corner. I’m all for players being able to get what they can get on their own, and if Julio Jones wanted to pass out $100 a touchdown or whatever, I’d have no problem with it. Based on current rules the NCAA would, however. This is worth following just for the entertainment value in watching them squirm, even if nothing will or should come of it.
Speaking of LSU, they aren’t likely to compete for much of anything in 2020. Thus far, six of their draft eligible juniors have declared for the draft, including a couple who probably weren’t expected, and a couple of others including Thaddeus Moss and K’Lavon Chaisson have yet to announce their decisions. Their offense will return three starters, at most: WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Terrance Marshall, and OT Austin Deculus if he decides to return. Of course, Joe Brady is also off to the Carolina Panthers and Dave Aranda is being mentioned for the head coach job at Hawaii, where he previously served as defensive coordinator.
Moving on, Sports Illustrated put out their early top 25 for 2020 because that’s the silliness that happens this time of year.
The expectation is that running back Najee Harris will stay in school, a big boost as the Crimson Tide deals with its annual early-entry roster churn. Mac Jones showed that he can be a capable replacement for Tua Tagovailoa—if he can hold off incoming freshman Bryce Young. The harder work for Alabama will be restoring a defense that has slipped the past two seasons, but a lot of freshmen got valuable playing time in 2019 and should be ready to make bigger impacts in ’20.
This Crimson Tide team, returning six starters on offense if you don’t count Jaylen Waddle and Mac Jones, and six starters on defense if you don’t count LaBryan Ray, ranks two spots behind Georgia.
Y’all keep this up all offseason and you may as well go ahead and engrave the trophy. As a matter of fact, please do that.
Pretty slow news day folks, so that’s all I got for now. If anything important comes along we will let you know, as always. Have a great day.