Thursday, April 17, 2008

the numbers, man ... the numbers are bad

No ... not those numbers. We're talking scholarship numbers. And apparently, it's a prickly subject.

It's worth noting, for those who'd like to call this a "blow-up," that Saban appears to be on the verge of hysterical laughter as he's leaving the podium. And very little of what he says here makes any sense whatsoever. But never mind.

The issue at hand, of course, is how, exactly, Alabama is going to fit 91 players (counting the 66 currently on scholarship and the 25 coming to campus this fall) into the 85 spots allotted by the NCAA. None of the 'Bama bloggers have picked this up yet — none of the ones I read, I should say — but some of the national guys already have their say.
• The funniest take on it, naturally, comes from EDSBS.
I also have an announcement, yes, an announcement everyone: there is a horde of killer bees loose on campus, and they’re following Leigh Tiffin around campus. Why he’s covered with honey, I don’t know. That’s why I returned to the college game: for young people, and the crazy things they do, like walking in front of a masked man carring a honey sprayer and a basket full of killer bees on campus and not thinking, “Oh, my, what’s a man doing with a mask on and a gun that sprays honey and a basket labeled “KILLER BEES”, nope not suspicious at all.” Gotta love that about college kids.
• More matter-of-fact are SMQ and The Wiz. For SMQ, the tactic of over-signing is his annual rant about what's wrong with college football.
...coaches these days are politicians - votes are fans in seats - and in contemporary terms, Saban is Dick Cheney: ruthless, short-tempered, secretive beyond all reasonable bounds, likely to shoot colleagues in the face. Throw in paranoid, and he might be closer to Nixon. Scholarship policy, like energy and security policies that cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of tax dollars to the Washington press corps, is precisely the Alabama beat writer's business. Why didn't he just say, "So?" Or walk away and ban the whole lot of them forever? You can do that, you know. The media has no special rights; anybody can make a public records request. People don't need to know anything. Liberal busybodies probably had it coming.

Anyway, everyone has his own view of the situation, and those of us who grew up loving Alabama football no doubt have our vision tainted by our crimson-colored glasses. As I said in an earlier post, this likely will wind up being nothing but a whole lot of sound a fury, signifying nothing (I really hate what you did to this phrase, Stu Scott). Someone will likely decide to give up football and get his MBA (like B.J. Stabler); someone will fail to qualify academically; someone, undoubtedly, will get pissed that a freshman is taking his spot and flee to Troy or even North Alabama. These things even out.

As for Saban's intentional antagonism of the press, like I said, he seems to be chuckling over this particular incident, more than he's fuming. He probably should conduct himself in front of the press like more of an ... um ... adult. But once you start winning, answering those questions is a little easier. At least it should be.


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