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Jumbo Package: Will they or won’t they? The ridiculous 9th SEC game non-debate.

If you’re scared, get a dog.

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Corporatism sucks...

Before we broach the heart of the JP, we do need to address my least favorite part of sports media — talking about the industry itself. And, in a crowded market that has seen several quality (and no-so-quality) imprints be gobbled up or relent before the harsh calculus of capitalism, the field has gotten instantly much smaller, and even more homogenized, overnight in a very literal sense.

On3 has now swallowed the venerated Bama Online / 247 Network, and Bama Insider and brought them into the fold.

This is a huge loss for consumers of ‘Bama content. No good ever came from consolidation of media and its attendant monolithic editorial voice — look at the very pages of SBN sites if you’d like to see the evidence of what happens when the content-side is dictated-to by the ad side, and where everything is awash in community-killing, engagement-destroying VC-approved lameness and sameness.

I’ve got your back though: I’ll ensure that my tasteless iffy metaphors and unapproved hot takes keep teetering on the edge of getting fired for your pleasure, fellow Gumps and Nega-Gumps.

I can’t wait to see what monstrosity the new On3 Orc Horde unleashes on us though (and I loathe that branding too). I am hopeful that folks like Reier and Potter and Stein continue with their unique voice, though I doubt it will happen. I saw what happened at The Athletic. Hell, I’ve lived through it about four times here in the last eight years. Such moves are rarely good for average readers.

Capitalism works. And as a handmaiden of the Enlightenment — alongside the rule of law and democratic governance — has liberated more people from misery than any other single innovation in human history.

But corporatism and cartel consolidation do not. They just suck.

Quick Plug!

Grand Slammers needs your help. Want to pitch in and raise some bucks for the SEC team that does the very most with the very least? Worried that Greg Byrne will be a cheap bastard again next year and not come off a few bones for the scholarship kitty? Well, now’s your chance: Become a member today of ‘Bama Baseball boosters.

And, if you missed the Tuscaloosa Regional primer, we got that for you too. Click below:

SEC gonna’ SEC

All eyes are on Destin this week for the SEC Spring Meetings. The hottest agenda item has been scheduling. With the MegaSuperDuperTarded conferences upon us (seriously, send Texas and Oklahoma back, at least), the call to expand to nine SEC games is loud, and growing louder.

Nick Saban has loved that idea for 15 years, and had been the sole voice in the wilderness to often for it. But ESPN won’t pay additional money for an extra game, and ADs have grown accustomed that sweet 8th home game, usually a dial-a-win against the Sisters of Perpetual Mediocrity — as well as the smooth ride to the playoffs that a guaranteed W helps you navigate. But, with just three games left to work with, and the general Power 5 mandate to schedule another Power 5 game, that leaves very little leverage with two remaining contests.

And now, even Nick Saban has been gagged by its administration in UA’s mad chase for playoff dollars, TV revenue bumps, and an 8th home game.

A ninth game would be good for the sport, no doubt. Everyone knows that.

But now that some of these venal salary thieves can taste what they believe to be never-ending Mouse money, they are refusing to budge. But the joke’s on them. This is a well whose waters are fast evaporating. ESPN has already declined to renegotiate a contract with a 9th game; Gen Z is the least engaged viewing cohort in history; attendance has been down nationally almost year-over-year for the better part of a decade; and people simply have better things to do with their time.

The Big 10 realized that it would have to stick with 9 games if it wanted to have steadier revenue streams. So, they did — and then landed a secondary contract with NBC Sports / Peacock. Why can’t the SEC look elsewhere?

Play the damn game, stop whining, and realize that you will only have 7 home games every other season and that you may not make the CFP every season. But noooooo, for now, the focus is on “short-term scheduling solutions.” Typical. If this conference — if college athletics generally — is known for anything, it’s short-term, short-sighted “solutions” that just kick the can down the road.

“It’s a combination,” Byrne said. “It’s the playoff—what does it look like from a financial standpoint, what is the right balance from a strength of schedule standpoint?”

The uncertainty around the expanded CFP is one of two primary reasons that the league may choose this short-term, eight-game scheduling plan. The other one: additional revenue from ESPN, which isn’t expected—at least not right now.

Most of the conference supports remaining at eight games without extra dollars from the network. In fact, only five schools have been public about their support for nine games: Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU and Missouri. A majority of the 14 schools (eight) is needed to pass a scheduling format, and Texas and Oklahoma do not receive a vote, because they are not official members until July 2024.

Even Wetzel the Pretzel states the self-evident. There’s not a meaningful choice here at all: a 9th game is the only solution.

Greg Byrne enlightened us yesterday in where Jason Jackson stood in terms of the now-open Bama Baseball coaching job. And, as is his want, he said absolutely nothing.

“He did a wonderful job from the very first meeting with the team and it has continued,” Byrne said. “I’ve been around him a lot and been very pleased with the job that he has done and been very pleased with the job the kids have done. They’ve stayed focused on the task at hand.”

Seriously, man. How hard is it to say, “for now, we are focused on hosting our first regional in 17 years. The team’s play through adversity has been outstanding, and our focus and attention deserve to be on them. A decision will be made at the end of the season, and we will conduct a national search, exercising extreme diligence. Coach Jackson will be given serious consideration. Blah. Blah. Blah.”

Something. Anything to let us know that you’re actually thinking about the program?

With the loss of Angry Chuck and Clowney, Alabama finds itself suddenly very thin in the front court, with a shocking lack of length. ND State C Grant Nelson pulled his name from the NBA draft, and has now scheduled an OV with the Tide. To date, Alabama is the only team to have a visit from Nelson, so hopes are high in Tuscaloosa.

I’d love to land Nelson though: he’s perfect for the Tide’s scheme. At 6’11”, he’s a true stretch that can handle the ball in the open court, create his own shot, competently distribute, and even bring the ball upcourt. He’s not right for every team, but he’s right for this one.

In other hoops news, as expected, Jahvon Quinerly will return for his sixth year of CBB. After being the SEC’s 6th Man of the Year, and testing the pro waters, Jelly has decided that ‘Bama ball is better than learning Mandarin. For the Tide, the veteran leadership of he and Mark Sears will be necessary on a Tide team that is heavily rebuilding. Having JQ in the locker room, and the offensive spark he provides as one of Alabama’s most reliable scorers, is fantastic news.

And, yes, his backcourt mate and starting PG, Mark Sears, is also returning — which answers a lot of questions about next year’s starting lineup.

We’ll have more on hoops later. I had been waiting on the NBA draft deadline to try and finalize something in the midst of this fluid situation. But for now, no major surprises: Clowney and Miller gone. Two somewhat surprises: Jaden transferring and Angry Chuck staying in the NBA draft. Two expected outcomes: Sears and JQ back.

It could have been a lot worse. Look at Kentucky’s Black Wednesday.

Finally, three kickoff times have been firmed up for Alabama Football this year.

I would draw your attention to one game in particular that caught my eye, and not for a good reason either: USF — 2:30 in the damned afternoon. In Tampa. In mid-September. On the road. This is a contest that will leave your underwear needing a snorkel.

But, hey! At least the tickets are ridiculously expensive on the secondary market too!

Miss me with every bit of that.


Eight games or nine games?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    8. Let’s breeze into the playoffs like we’ve got a Big 10 OOC schedule.
    (82 votes)
  • 79%
    9. This is not even a serious debate.
    (320 votes)
402 votes total Vote Now