Happy Monday of game week, everyone. Any of you who are on the Gulf coast, we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and not too terribly impacted by Ida.
As Michael Casagrande notes, Alabama’s run of marquee neutral site openers will come to an end after Saturday’s game.
The sport is changing by the minute and the future of scheduling games remains uncertain. Alabama doesn’t have a single neutral-site game on the books as it pivots to a structure of home-and-home series. With games set for teams in all four current Power 5 conferences stretched all the way through 2035, Alabama’s clearly taking exits not labeled Atlanta or Arlington unless it’s the postseason.
None of that is lost on Gary Stokan, the CEO of the Peach Bowl, Inc., who will be welcoming the Tide to Atlanta for the sixth Labor Day Saturday game next week.
“I think ADs are also looking at, ‘Hey, revenue-wise, we need to keep our season-ticket holders happy and interested,” Stokan said. “And so we need to schedule big time against at home so that’s a lot of revenue when you’re talking about the season ticket base.”
This is a good thing for the towns and the fan experience. College football just isn’t the same in NFL venues.
CBS Sports has an early week preview out.
No. 1 Alabama (-18.5) vs. No. 14 Miami (FL) — Atlanta: We have seen Alabama really run away with games in Week 1 against Power Five opponents, but in terms of AP Top 25 rankings, this is one of the “tougher” matchups the Crimson Tide have faced in these neutral-site kickoff games. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King is looking to show full recovery from a knee injury suffered in the bowl game, and if he’s got the Hurricanes offense rolling like it was at its best in 2020, the underdog might have a chance to make it interesting. Bryce Young and the Alabama offense, now under the guidance of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, is a big unknown; however, it’s generally believed that the Tide will be anchored by one of the best defenses in the country.
There will be many more to come before Saturday.
Creg Stephenson reposted his 2017 interview with some of the players from the 1993 Sugar Bowl. This George Teague quote about “The Strip” is just fantastic.
“He went streaking down the sideline and I saw Willie slide out of bounds, and that was my ‘holy crap’ moment. I was out of position and it was my fault. I know the play probably only took six seconds, but in that short amount of time, I saw my life flashing before me. When I go back to the sideline, coach Stallings is probably going to rip my facemask off. My teammates are going to be pissed off, wondering what I was doing. So then I went back to my track background and thinking ‘how am I going to go catch this guy?’ I put all that together in four or five seconds, and then decided, ‘well, I’m going to catch him.’”
The Strip was lit on the night of The Strip.
Sophomore OLB Quandarrius Robinson was already facing long odds for playing time, and they just got much longer.
Alabama linebacker Quandarrius Robinson was involved in a car wreck and arrested for driving under the influence Sunday morning, according to the Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Office. The accident occurred at 11:18 p.m. CT at the corner of Hargrove Road and Prince Avenue.
Though it involved three cars, no one was injured, according to police. Bond was set at $1,000.
Thankfully nobody was hurt. Needless to say, this was an immature and irresponsible decision. Mac Jones got a DUI his freshman year and successfully used it as a learning experience. Hopefully Robinson can do the same. The next time he or the people he hits may not be so lucky.
The Dolphins continue to be rumored as the frontrunners to land Deshaun Watson, even as Tua has an outstanding preseason.
With the other potentially interested teams (Panthers, Eagles, and Broncos) reportedly bowing out, the question becomes whether the Texans will reduce their demands, if the Dolphins won’t give Houston what it wants.
The most fair approach continues to be tying future picks to games that Watson plays this year, next year, and perhaps in 2023. If the Texans are willing to pay Watson $10.54 million to not play this year, it becomes more likely that they’ll get what they want in early 2022, if the legal situation becomes a little more clear by then.
It’s not like Watson is on a cheap contract. Why any team would give anything of value for him, let alone three first rounders and two second rounders, before his legal problems are resolved is beyond me.
Mac Jones has made his case.
Mac Jones throwing people open like a vet. pic.twitter.com/L6pB0ER7qs— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 29, 2021
“Like I always say, I’m focused on today. I think there’s a lot of stuff I can clean up. I held the ball a little too long at some points today. I’ll work on that ... but I’m here to play any role I can play, help in any way I can, and I’m going to be ready whenever my time comes,” Jones said after finishing 10-of-14 for 156 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Newton, who was 2-of-5 for 10 yards with one interception on Sunday, was not made available to answer questions after the game. He hasn’t addressed reporters since the COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding” that led him to miss three practices last week.
Thus, the postgame media spotlight shined brighter on Jones.
“I learned at a young age, just prepare like the starter. You don’t have to be the starter, but prepare, get into your routine,” he said. “That’s something Coach talked about today. We’re going to be in this stadium again [Sept. 19 against the New York Jets] and that’s kind of what I did. That’s how you can get into a flow.”
Odds are that Newton starts game one, but Mac’s time is coming very soon.
Speaking of flow, Brian Oliu, an English instructor at Alabama, offered his response to the Miami fan diss track.
Flo Milli, Rich Boy, Doe B, The Last Mr. Bigg, G-Side, Dirty, Gucci Mane, & YBN Nahmir were all too busy to respond to @TheCoachCoop’s brutal assault on our beloved Crimson Tide so I took it upon myself to defend Alabama’s honor. pic.twitter.com/8mSWhX8rKs— Brian Oliu (@BrianOliu) August 29, 2021
Very refined, Brian. Nice work.
Last, this was some classless nonsense all the way around.
ESPN’s commendations WENT IN on Bishop Sycamore pic.twitter.com/RCJv46gOA3— Kirk Barton (@kirk_barton) August 29, 2021
ESPN announcers roasting the school on air like that shoudn’t happen. The marketing agency and network failed to do its due diligence because they wanted to get IMG on the screen. That’s their fault, and to be frank IMG had no business playing such a school.
That said, everyone in the Bishop Sycamore athletic department should be fired. Besides blatantly lying to ESPN about the talent level on its roster, even allegedly fabricating a roster with players that aren’t on the team, they played the IMG game a mere 48 hours after their last game. That is a safety issue that should never happen, particularly with high school kids. Don’t be surprised to see lawsuits here.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.