Happy Friday, everyone. Women’s basketball has unfortunately lost two in a row after dropping one last night to Florida, who is only 4-11 in SEC play. They are still having a great season at 20-8 overall and 9-6 in SEC play, but this isn’t the right time of year to be trending downward. Hopefully they can get the ship righted.
The surging Gym Tide host LSU tonight in a matchup of top ten squads. The meet will start at 7pm CT and will be streamed on SEC Network +. Baseball hosts High Point this weekend, with the action set to kick off today at 3pm CT, weather permitting. The men’s basketball team has a big one at home vs Arkansas tomorrow at 1pm, and we will of course have full coverage of that one later. I have no interest in talking any more about the other issues around basketball and certainly am not going to bother linking more of the hot takes.
247sports says that Alabama’s 2023 football roster is the most loaded in the nation.
For the 10th time since 2011, Saban and Alabama finished No. 1 in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings for the 2023 recruiting class. Alabama wrapped up what is its second-best class ever with a score of 327.68. For historical comparison, Alabama’s 2023 group ranks No. 3 all-time behind Texas A&M in 2022 and itself in 2021. Headlining the Crimson Tide’s impressive haul is a record nine 247Sports Composite five-star recruits. This is a collection of talent, historically, that all but guarantees at least one national championship over the next four seasons for Saban.
Hopefully they will be able to avoid some of the issues that led to two losses last year and reach their full potential.
Brandon Marcello notes that Tommy Rees’ experience handling QB battles will help him as Alabama heads into 2023 with uncertainty at the position.
The immediate help Rees provides in the spring is his experience handling quarterback battles. The Tide are staging its most wide-open quarterback competition since 2016, when Jalen Hurts supplanted Blake Barnett a few series into a Week 1 showdown vs. USC.
Rees deftly handled battles in the last two seasons at Notre Dame, where he coached graduate transfer Jack Coan (2021) and expertly rotated quarterbacks Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne through a preseason battle and then in-season injuries. Pyne finished 8-2 as the Irish’s starter after Buchner, the competition’s winner in the preseason, was injured in Week 2. Pyne entered the Transfer Portal, leaving for Arizona State after he was told the Irish would open the quarterback job in the offseason with a transfer quarterback and a healthy Buchner returning. Buchner was thrown back into action for the Gator Bowl and scored five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) to lead the Irish to a 45-38 victory against South Carolina despite also throwing two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Let’s avoid that whole “two pick sixes” bit but other than that, sounds promising enough.
Blake Toppmeyer seems to be under the impression that anyone thought the SEC would gobble up Washington and Oregon.
Sankey jabbed at the Big Ten after it added UCLA and Southern Cal to stretch its B1G footprint from Los Angeles to Piscataway, New Jersey.
Contrast that with the SEC’s heist of Oklahoma and Texas, schools that fit the conference’s identity and enhance its already robust football brand, while increasing the SEC’s media rights appeal and boosting its strength across all sports.
“We really haven’t expanded our geographic reach,” Sankey told the SEC Network earlier this month. “Our longest trip will be from Columbia, South Carolina, to Austin, Texas. … You realize that’s actually shorter than what will be the shortest trip for the L.A. schools, when they move to the Big Ten?”
No, you expanded the geographic footprint last decade, Greg. But yes, two schools from Los Angeles playing in the Big Ten is going to be a logistical challenge.
Alabama outfielder Andrew Pinckney is showing off some power early.
“We were doing our little fireball scrimmage and at the end of the round sometimes Coach Bo is like, ‘Just hit a home run,’” Pinckney said. “Every now and then I have trouble pulling the ball for power. That’s what I’ve kind of been working on at the plate.
“So, he told me to hit the ball over the scoreboard and — to be fair, the ball was outside and I couldn’t hit the ball over the left field fence, so I just tried to put a good swing on it and it just happened to go over the fence.”
Pinckney capped off the story with his coach’s reaction:
“He was like, ‘Pink, I told you to hit it over the left field and you hit it over in right field,” Pinckney laughed. “’What are you doing?’”
This is cool.
Jackson was selected as the Bears’ Defensive Player of the Year by ChicagoBears.com.
Each NFL team participating in the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation program selects a “Courage House” that supports victims of abuse, violence and neglect. The Bears’ designated Courage House is Maryville Academy’s Crisis Nursery in Des Plaines. Maryville is a social service agency which sponsors programs for children and families. Maryville’s Crisis Nursery provides temporary emergency child care for families in crisis.
Last, Dwayne Johnson is a big AJ McCarron fan these days.
Takes less money signing with us over the @NFL because he wanted his little boys to see him play. Now he’s 2-0 and led his team to back to back exciting last minute wins. I’d say he’s creating some memories for his boys. AJ’s decision means a helluva lot to me, personally. #XFL https://t.co/AZG6EiIy9Z— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 24, 2023
AJ’s Battlehawks beat the Seattle Sea Dragons on a last second field goal last night.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.