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Jumbo Package: SEC meetings were all about change

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Georgia vs Alabama Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. Last week’s SEC meetings were consumed by the massive changes the sport has experienced over the past couple of years, and more specifically what needs to be done to adjust.

Someone asked Kiffin this week if the NCAA could reinstate the sit-out rule for transfers; make them sit one year before playing at their new school. He shook his head.

“I don’t think we can,” Kiffin said.

Because it will be challenged in court?

Kiffin nodded.

So it’s still about adjusting to the situation, studying possible tweaks that are under the conference’s control. In the SEC’s case, this week it meant a proposal by Alabama to push back the league’s deadline to transfer within the conference and be eligible that year, from Feb. 1 to May 1. There was little support for doing so, one coach cracking during a meeting that he would keep his spring game off TV, or else it would serve as a showcase for players other programs could raid.

Though some knuckleheads would have you believe that Saban’s comments about NIL which set off the public spat with Jimbo Fisher were made out of fear, it certainly seems as though it’s other coaches around the conference who are fearful of the NIL/transfer portal combo. Mizzou coach Eli Drinkwitz and Florida AD Scott Stricklin were even speaking about players becoming salaried employees.

It’s a brave new world indeed.

In a wild twist, Steve Spurrier has become a voice of reason.

“I don’t like the idea of buying the players before they get there or giving them money before they get there. My suggestion would be go back to the original recruiting rules,” Spurrier said. “After a player gets to a college, he does very well, he can do a deal and endorse. If something wants to pay him a bunch of money, then it’s perfectly all right. But they have to come and play one year, and then, you know, it’s a free country.”

That almost sounds like actual name, image, and likeness compensation and not pay for play.

247sports ranked CFB’s most powerful coaches, and of course Saban tops the list.

Pate: “This won’t change. In fact, I would argue it’ll be several years after Saban’s retirement before he’s not the most powerful voice in the sport. I don’t know how long that will be, and I don’t know how long from now that will be, but Nick Saban has the best resume in the sport’s history. He is excellent in terms of track record, of being able to have an idea on things and being able to kind of see around the proverbial corner on things. But also, everything he says moves the needle. We’re a media company, so we get to see the data and the analytics behind the scenes of what happens if you put a name in a headline or if somebody says something relative to someone else saying that same thing. Which person, when they made the quote, moves the national needle? No one does it more than Nick Saban. You can give a recipe of his for brownies, it moves the needle. People click on it. It’s pretty crazy to see actually.”

Connor O’Gara over at SDS likes Ohio State to win it all this year.

But I wonder if Ohio State perhaps isn’t as far behind Alabama as some would think. We know there won’t be some massive talent disparity with a pair of programs who have been in the top 3 of the 247sports talent composite rankings each of the past 5 seasons. That likely won’t change in 2022, either.

I believe there’s a perfectly realistic chance that 2 evenly matched teams show up to face off for all the marbles. Seven times in the past 17 years, the preseason AP No. 1 team made it to the title game. You’d think that would favor the preseason No. 1. Just by reaching the title game, they showed they could handle those expectations.

Yet what’s the record of preseason No. 1 teams in the title game during that stretch? A lowly 1-6, and it’s actually a 1-4 mark since 2016.

Related, 247sports ranks the Buckeyes’ new defensive coordinator as the most pivotal name in the sport this year.

Given Ohio State’s talent overflow offensively, if the Buckeyes get back to playing at an elite level defensively this season, Ryan Day could be in store for his first career national championship as a head coach. The Buckeyes were embarrassed up front by Michigan in the regular-season finale last fall and for the second straight campaign, finished ninth in the conference in total defense. What happened to the tenacity? Where’s the disruption? Why were there so many miscommunications and breakdowns? Former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles was hired to fix all of that and he is the singlemost important figure in the 2022 playoff race, especially if you have a futures bet on Ohio State winning it all.

A five-star WR enjoyed his weekend in Tuscaloosa.

Coached by Patrick Surtain Sr., the father of former Alabama great Patrick Surtain II, Inniss is a college-ready receiver who excels as a route runner and is able to play bigger than his size. He agrees with Saban’s assessment that those skills would translate well into Alabama’s offense.

“I see myself making plays all over the field,” Inniss said, “and just helping the team win a national championship.”

Last, well, just check this out for yourself.

If nothing else, it’s creative.

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

Roll Tide.