Happy Tuesday, everyone. The Coaches’ Poll was released yesterday, and Alabama is listed third behind Georgia and Michigan. As Eddie Timanus of USA Today notes, that’s been a decent spot for the Tide in past campaigns.
Michigan will open the campaign at No. 2, its highest-ever preseason ranking in the coaches poll. The Wolverines didn’t receive any first-place nods but still finished a comfortable 21 poll points ahead of third-ranked Alabama.
The Crimson Tide experienced a rare playoff miss in 2022 but nevertheless picked up four preseason No. 1 votes heading into this year. That No. 3 start might bode well for them, however, as two of their championship campaigns, 2015 and 2020, began with a No. 3 ranking in the preseason.
Ralph Russo is previewing the AP poll that has yet to be released.
“Our team seems to be pretty hungry this year and motivated,” coach Nick Saban said during SEC media days. “Like all teams, we probably have some issues that are created by graduations and people leaving the program. Obviously, the No. 1 thing that people are most interested in is the quarterback.”
Everybody should be so lucky to have the Tide’s uncertainty as Saban tries to sort through another roster filled with former blue-chip recruits to unearth the next wave of All-Americans. The last time Alabama began a season ranked outside the top three was 2009, when the Crimson Tide was No. 5 — and went on to win its first national title under Saban.
Tyler Booker’s words will please a lot of Alabama fans.
“Fall camp is about development — physically, obviously, but we’re also developing a mindset that we’re going to run the ball on you and be dominant,” Booker said.
“Physically dominant. That’s the mindset of the whole room. We want to physically dominate you. We want to intimidate you. We want the third quarter to roll around and the defense to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we still can’t stop the run, how are we going to stop this run?’ We want guys to tap out. We want guys to fear us. But that’s a mindset that we have to develop now in camp. Being here at The University of Alabama, that’s the mindset of running the ball. You’re not going to play offensive line if you don’t have that mindset. We’re going out there trying to make you quit every play.”
We could stand to see some asses quitting again.
Kevin Steele is focused on reducing the penalties that plagued the team last year.
“Penalties, those type things, when you have something to correct, then you place an emphasis on them,” Steele said. “We have officials at practice. We chart the officials. There are repercussions for your actions, and it stays in front of you. In most cases in life, if you keep something that you need to correct in front of you continuously, most people learn.”
Nearly eight times a game a year ago, the Crimson Tide committed a penalty. Its 103 infractions were fourth-most by a single school, behind Tennessee (105), Syracuse and Utah State (both at 111). Overall, UA granted its opponents 893 free yards. Comparatively, Alabama’s opponents committed 87 infractions against the Tide, giving it 663 yards
Alabama’s basketball team is going to have some serious length this season.
Big offseason for Alabama’s Nick Pringle, who is now listed at 6-11 after being listed at 6-9 last year. Also 10 pounds heavier. Could be Tide’s starting center after departure of Charles Bediako. pic.twitter.com/wkwlp0FuqH— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) August 7, 2023
Freshman Sam Walters is listed at 6-10 after he was 6-8 in 247 Sports’ recruiting database. Kris Parker — listed as a guard — is 6-9 after he was 6-6 in 247’s recruiting database.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) August 7, 2023
Alabama also added 6-11 Grant Nelson, 6-11 Jarin Stevenson, 6-10 Mohamed Wague and 6-7 Mo Dioubate.
Last, Russo chimes in on conference realignment, correctly pointing out that consolidation is a better word for what’s happening.
By the time the CFP was unveiled in 2014, the Big East was out of the football business. The American Athletic Conference was birthed from its remnants, quickly confined to the so-called Group of Five conferences and cordoned off from the largest piles of cash TV networks were willing to pay for top-tier college football.
Now the line is about to be redrawn. The TV networks have less money to go around, and have come to realize that paying for Washington State and Oregon State doesn’t make sense when all they really want is Washington and Oregon.
“It’s interesting that the Big Ten and the SEC have separated themselves, and now it’s the race to who’s going to be third,” said Karl Benson, who oversaw the Western Athletic Conference as it was torn apart by realignment in the late 1990s and 2000s.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.