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Jumbo Package: Does the Transfer Portal destroy quality depth?

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Saban sure thinks so.

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NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Morning, sorry this is a bit late; I was at the Red Cross donating blood (and more on that later). So, this edition will have to be pretty quick for you.

The first thing I stumbled across this morning was a very interesting stat re: Alabama basketball. DYK that Alabama is one of the best teams in the country at driving the basket, getting the bunny, and then getting to the line?

They’ve needed to as well. Alabama has 11 wins this year decided by single digits, which is by far the most in the SEC. When the shots aren’t falling, you have to make your offense. And getting three the old fashioned way is just as good as any.

This is music to the ears of many, including a unanimous RBR staff, who tired of watching Tua labor in a scheme that did not fit his talents — while the next generation of QBs have been given offenses tailor-made to their skills.

“The first thing is to get him ingrained in the system,” new quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Darrell Bevell said Wednesday. “Once we are able to do that, then I think the system is going to be built and tailored to him, and... bring out all the positives in his game.”

Bevell said with quarterbacks, it’s vital “to tailor the game to them, to their talent, rather than fitting the round peg in the square hole. We can tailor the offense to bring out the strengths of each guy.”

New Fins QB coach has promised to — shockingly — play to the strengths of the player rather than coming in with some rehashed Chan Gailey scheme and expect a 3-yard checkdown offense.

And, so far, alongside Tua’s accuracy (67.8%, 7th in the NFL), Bevell likes a lot of what No. 1 can do:

“That’s the thing that jumped out at me right away is looking at him. I haven’t done like a complete deep dive yet. But I’ve looked at enough tape that I like the accuracy that he has. I like his ability to make some off-schedule plays. He can get outside the pocket. He’s not going to be a major runner, but he can run and make plays with his feet. I really like those kinds of things.”

We’ve seen this talking point a good bit lately: The P12 scuttling a 12-team playoff was a rare repudiation of the SEC. It signaled a win for everyone over the vast hegemon — particularly the west coast and the Pac 12.

But, did it really?

Au contraire, USA Today makes the case that, far from being chastened, all the P12 has done is give the SEC a blank check to spend the next three years going rogue, creating its own mega-super conference, inviting some others along for the ride, and then staging a television spectacle that Utah-Michigan State can’t match: the best playing the best.

Be careful what you wish for. This is a two-conference sport, and one has a tremendous incentive now to rip 11 of the top 13 markets right off the set in a parallel playoff. Because, I assure you, advertisers are not paying for Pitt-Iowa playoff games.

As a point of reference, what is the biggest obstacle? The Big 10 and P12’s insistence on auto-qualifiers. Here are other issues where we’re at an impasse, and how to solve them.

Man, the in-state 2023 class is a rarity — it’s absolutely loaded with high-end talent. Oh, sure. Alabama produces its share of blue chippers, but top-to-bottom, it is one of the best in half a decade: and a great many are Alabama leans already.

Tide Softball begins its 5-game swing in the Mardi Gras Mambo tourney today. I’m sure CB will have more on that later.

The Alabama softball team will compete in the Mardi Gras Mambo at the Youngsville Sports Complex in Youngsville, Louisiana from February 25-27. The No. 2 Crimson Tide will play five games in the tournament: Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana, Northwestern State, Louisiana Tech, and No. 20 Louisiana.

Alabama Gymnastics’ Lilly Hudson was named the SEC Freshman of the Week

Hudson finished second in the all-around as well as on the floor exercise behind teammate Lexi Graber with her score of 9.925. She recorded a 9.90 on beam to help boost the team score to a 49.625 in the event, the Tide’s second highest score of the season.

Outstanding talent and a great effort in a very tough environment. Looking forward to seeing more of her.

Alabama has been a big winner in the Portal, as predicted by Saban himself. But the downside is one that very well could have cost ‘Bama a title in January — the Portal cuts both ways. Alabama has lost 17 players; players that could have been developing their skills and be the next man up.

Quality depth, in a word, gets gutted with this de facto free agency. Interesting remarks from Saban on this.

No, we’re not tone-deaf

Finally, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, as the largest war in 45 years was launched by Russia last night on the people of Ukraine — and it is now the largest European conflict in almost 80 years.

If you want to help:

  • The Red Cross is accepting blood donations (I have AB-, the rarest type, so I give as often as is practical). As always, the IRC can use donations of the more material kind as well.
  • Revived Soldiers Ukraine is an aid agency of on the fly medical personnel who are evacuating the wounded and supplying them with medications. If you want to help fix up an ad hoc ambulance or pitch in so that the worst-wounded can be airlifted to safer nations for treatment, they’re located here in the states.
  • If you want to assist Ukrainian aid agencies directly, this Reddit mega-thread has tons of great causes which have been vetted by the official Ukrainian Sub.
  • Civilians are going to be absolutely pummeled by this. So far, 1.4 million refugees are estimated to have already taken flight — in a nation of 34 million. But for those left behind, and those in transit, humanitarian supplies are in dire need. Nova Ukraine is handling that:

You can donate clothes, shoes, household supplies, personal hygiene products, baby food (with an expiration date of not less than six months from date of purchase), diapers and medicine. Heart2Heart is specifically in need of shoes and clothing for children. They also accept wheelchairs, anti-decubitus pillows and personal hygiene items for wounded soldiers.

I have so very much to say, and at the same time no words will ever fully convey the enormous grief and impotent, seething rage coursing through me. I’m hardly alone. But this is exactly why I enlisted to serve my country.

There are actual fucking bad guys out there, and as we sit here and tear ourselves apart, we are only making those imperial ambitions easier. Villainy is real. Evil is real.

We’re Americans. We rally ‘round. We defend democracy. We’re supposed to put aside differences and be the good guys. I only hope and pray that we can all remember that again.

Roll Damn Slava Ukraini.