Welcome to the Thunderdome!
Want to know a secret to the SEC and Big 10’s power? They’ve been remarkably lockstep for almost a century, presenting a united front in their demands, long-term strategic thinking, and mimizming grumblings and grousings — or at least reserving them for annual Destin bitchfest.
Not so for leagues like the Big 8, the Big East, the SWC, then the Big 12...and now the P12 and ACC. Everyone has been acting like crabs in the bucket, pushing climb over the heads of their peers to reach the top. It utterly tore apart those other leagues, and it is about to do so again with a venerable staple on the college landscape: Tobacco Road.
“We’re not unified,” is how one ACC source explains it. “We’re unified until someone offers a school more to go somewhere else. Everyone is going to grab it.”
This is your current ACC status: situationally and temporarily unified, with all parties trying to make the best of the current arrangement while eyeing the exit doors. At least they’re upfront about it.
I absolutely blame one thing for this at the end of the day; one of two sins from which all of college football’s woes emanate: the incessant demand for 30 years now to have a 1 vs. 2 at the end of the year. We saw it with the Bowl Alliance — and then SEC and B1G expansion followed; we saw it with the BCS — and thus the Big 8 and SWC died, giving birth to the Big 12. We saw it with the playoffs — where everything has gone to hell.
The chase for a “champion” has introduced impossible-to-ignore money into the system, which in turn has upended century-long rivalries, commonalities of culture and history and geography and institutions, and devoured leagues and destroyed traditions in a mad rush headlong towards the awaiting arms of the Superconference Borg.
And it’s as mercenary and myopic as it is just plain sad.
As for expansion? I don’t want any rejects from the Atlantic Coast — I’m fully on board in wanting to kick the Big 12 teams back to their Flyover Hoovervilles and Meth Shanties.
We already have Kentuckies and Arkansases, thank you very much.
Guess what is coming back next year? EA Sports NCAA Football ‘24 — this time with paid players (including midmajors and D1AA guys):
Finally: EA Sports College Football is coming back next summer and FBS players will be able to be have their actual names and likenesses in the game.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) May 17, 2023
EA Sports & OneTeam have a partnership in place, paving the way to make it happen, per @mikerothstein. https://t.co/JsktEzCcLL pic.twitter.com/WV2wj5bOwP
This is exactly what NIL was meant to encompass, BTW. Not a million-dollar lump sum to sign on the dotted line...Jimbo.
It’s been quite a while since we’ve had an installment, a full decade. So in case you forget what was lovable (and frustrating) about the series, here’s a refresher:
One of the true delights of every NCAA Football game was to search for one of the lowest-rated programs, particularly one that lacked a true football pedigree, and do your best to lead that team to the top of the mountain. Depending on how steep that mountain was to climb, it may have taken multiple seasons and recruiting classes to get there, but that was part of the fun. Next thing you know, UMass might be the game’s new preseason No. 1, while the perennial powerhouses were forced to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong.
For those who played NCAA Football ’14, the gap between Georgia State (60 overall rating) and Alabama (99) was nearly insurmountable. But therein lies the challenge—one that never got old.
The Spurs won the lottery for the NBA 2023 Draft, and as certain as the sun rises in the East, and Hugh Freeze cheats, San Antonio will select Eurostud Victor Wembanaya. The race for No. 2 is far more interesting, and comes down to two players: former Auburn recruit-cum-G League star, Scoot Henderson, and the Tide’s Brandon Miller.
I would love for Miller to be drafted as high as possible, obviously. But Charlotte is where talent goes to die. Let them take Henderson. Instead, ship B Mill off to the cheap, but talented Blazers with the 3rd pick, and pair him up with Dame. That is a terrifying frontcourt.
Hornets Blandness Bobcats have taken a shine to our beloved No. 24, and Miller is “very much in play to be the No. 2 selection”
You will also not be shocked to learn that due diligence performed by the highly-visible, 30-team multi-billion dollar sports juggernaut not only did not find anything wrong with Miller, they praised his candor and integrity and judgment and maturity.
Adrian Wojnarowski says NBA teams finding no red flags with Alabama's Brandon Miller:— On3 (@On3sports) May 17, 2023
“They are finding a young man who they say is mature, focused, who’s character and his habits are actually an asset in their evaluation of him.”https://t.co/PFqQfF36i6 pic.twitter.com/ufFR3MGI77
Everything about that pisses me off all over again.
Would you rather...
See Miller be taken 2 overall, but be exiled to a bad franchise and a generic boom city in Charlotte
See Miller fall to 3rd overall, but be exiled to the dying city of Portland and be subject to Oregon’s crippling tax burden?
I’d rather he slide even further, and land somewhere competent. Houston at 4, perhaps?
Many people wondered why Nick Saban would return to the well, and pluck out the oft-traveled Kevin Steele from Coral Gables to fill ‘Bama’s defensive coordinator vacancy. There wasn’t much of a search at all, TBH.
I thought it really was self-evident:
This seems exactly what it appears: a known quantity; a continuity hire; an older man hiring another older man and doing so with clear expectations of the defense, the program, the coaching staff, and all the other associated woes and thrills that come with being a high-profile member of the Alabama staff. You don’t have to teach Steele the base defense — he knows it (although, he was always a better 4-3 signal caller). You don’t have to teach Steele about work ethic: he’s had stints under Johnny Majors, Tom Osborne and Nick Saban — all three were notorious hard asses. You don’t have to adjust to a learning to an SEC learning curve — he ran his own program in the B12, and ran defenses in three Power Conferences. You don’t have to teach him the ins and outs of the recruiting trail — Steele has been doing this about as long as most of the parents have been alive.
And yesterday, Kevin Steele confirmed as much, though implicitly through the inverse:
Kevin Steele was hired as the defensive coordinator at Alabama in February, which will make a third stint with the Crimson Tide for the 64-year-old football coach. Speaking at the Team Focus fundraiser in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday evening, Steele explained what brought him back.
“Well, it’s very simple,” Steele told reporters prior to the annual event. “Obviously, the feeling about it, when you’ve done it this long, you only do things you feel good about. It’s the third time. I obviously understand what Coach (Nick Saban) wants, and the reason is, it’s Alabama and it’s Coach Saban. Without those two things, that probably wouldn’t have happened.”
He didn’t want to screw around with training a younger coach in everything from the scheme to the expectations to the system. Simple as that.
It may not have been proven it on the field over the last 7-8 years, where Alabama has been in the discussion, but is not the end of the discussion, but CBS still ranks the GOAT as the best current CFP Coach.
Nick Saban: He’s the greatest college football coach of all time and remains No. 1 in these rankings. Seven national titles, 11 conference titles (shout out to 1990 Toledo!) and an army of former assistants running programs nationwide — including the guy hot on his heels here — fill out his extensive resume. Saban has been so phenomenal throughout his career that going two years without winning a national title has people wondering whether he’s lost a step. 2022 rank: 1 (E)
Two key recruits have narrowed down their Top 5 lists, and Alabama made the cut for both.
One is an intriguing guy, Jaden Reddell (TE):
Four-star tight end Jaden Reddell is down to five schools, he announced on Wednesday evening. The programs still alive for the Peculiar (Mo.) Raymore-Peculiar tight end are: Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Tennessee.
Redell has an official visit locked in for Alabama the first weekend of June. He was on campus for A-Day last month as well.
“The A-Day experience was great,” Redell told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. This was his second time in Tuscaloosa this calendar year after attending a game last fall. “I got to see the tight ends get involved a lot and how they are used in the offense. The pride the players and coaches have to be at the University of Alabama always stands out to me.”
The other is at a position of immediate need next year: Safety. The Tide will lose Malachi Moore, Jaylen Key, and perhaps may see Story transfer out. There’s going to be an immediate spot open beside Caleb Downs. KJ Bolden has begun taking his OVs, and ‘Bama is on the list.
NEW: Five-star S KJ Bolden locks in five official visits, sets new commitment timeline.— ChadSimmons (@ChadSimmons_) May 17, 2023
Story: https://t.co/PgUXx46NwL (On3+) pic.twitter.com/t9iZ2uCfex
He is filthy good too:
Finally I leave you with this, the douchiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Unique to the entire Big 10 (and perhaps all of College Football), THE Ohio State Buckeyes are already 1-0 on the season.
How so, you ask? They credited themselves for winning their Spring Game.
No. That’s not a joke.
So, I clipped this and saved it before OSU admins pull it down — like Texas did a few years ago when they bragged about their football team’s C- GPA.
I’m sure the Buckeyes won’t hear about this ever again from some more academically-inclined peers (which is almost everyone in the Big 10).
That’s it for now. Roll Tide
Which ACC team do you LEAST want to see the SEC absorb when expansion inevitably happens?