— College football-related stuff first:
- Part-time South Carolina QB (and Tuscaloosa native) Chris Smelley announced over the weekend his intent to transfer ... to Alabama. Bear in mind two things about Smelley: a) he's been jerked around by Steve Spurrier since he arrived on campus in 2006; b) he probably would've come to Alabama in '06, but Mike Shula & his staff were too busy chasing Tim Tebow in Florida (which worked out great). Exactly how much he'll help Alabama is debatable, since he'll have to sit this fall and will only give the university one season (by which time the job could belong to either Greg McElroy, Star Jackson or even AJ McCarron). But it's interesting, I suppose.
- While we're on the subject of recruiting and South Carolina, here's a funny anecdote: apparently coach Spurrier has been banned from Tucker High for rescinding a scholarship offer.
- Of course Tim Tebow decided to return to Florida for his senior season. As Will Graham said in "Red Dragon," "it makes him God — would you give that up?" In all seriousness, however, Tebow's not giving up the chance to quarterback a repeat national champion, win another Heisman and possibly go down as one of the greatest college football players of all-time. Unless you're just broke, why give that up to be a clipboard-carrier in the NFL? Seriously.
- Slightly more surprising: Glen Coffee's decision to bolt for the NFL. RBR made some good points in a follow-up post: he'll be running behind a rebuilt offensive line; he'll be splitting time with Upchurch, Mark Ingram (and possibly several others); his draft stock likely isn't going up with one more season. Still, it seems unlikely he'll be a high pick with so many other quality RBs already on the board. Anyway, Cecil has a good perspective on this, as always.
- Ian had a funny story in yesterday's B'ham News: apparently, Alabama's recruitment of Louisiana's top receiver is upsetting many in the state (like it takes that much to upset those people). I said it when Saban was hired, and I'll say it again: the two programs hurt the worst by Saban's hire at Alabama were Tennessee and LSU, both of whom were thumping Alabama for recruits under previous head coaches. Now they're not only not raiding into Alabama anymore, they're losing some of their own in the process. Sorry, guys. But it was a fun 10 years, right?
— In case you haven't been paying attention — as Bob Uecker said, "And judging by the attendance, you haven't!" — Alabama's basketball team won its conference opener against LSU, a tepid affair that was ultimately decided by the officials and the whirling-dervish play of Senario Hillman. If Whit ever decides to blog regularly (c'mon, man, everybody's chantin ya name!) he can provide better perspective for us on this Alabama team, which lacks any semblance of an outside shooter, relies a point guard that's at least two steps slower than he was two years ago and steadfastly refuses to play an up-tempo style despite a roster that simply can't function in a halfcourt set. But, whatever.
— For those who don't know, my actual love affair with sports began with the Atlanta Braves, a team I loved even before I ever became an Alabama fan (in fact, the reason I was ever interested in working in sports media was because of Skip Caray and Ernie Johnson). Anyway, with baseball season looming, I encourage all of you to read Talking Chop more often — in fact, I'll help you get started with a link to a post about Atlanta's new Japanese pitcher signee.
(Also, if it's college baseball that interests you, I highly suggest you read The College Baseball Blog, one of those sites that's so thorough it makes me feel like a Grade-A slacker.)
— Finally, since professional football is still going on, I feel obligated to link you to Peter King's MMQB column, as King — an unabashed NFL homer — valiantly attempts to polish up the pig that could be the Worst Super Bowl of All-Time (Ravens-Cardinals).
Of course, the irony is that Baltimore was prominently involved in the game that currently holds the distinction of being the Worst Super Bowl of All-Time (in 2000, when Baltimore defeated the Giants 31-7 in a game so boring I don't remember one single thing about it, and that's fascinating for a dork like me). So if you like football, root for Pittsburgh, as awful as that sounds. You'll thank me.