Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter links

Greetings to one and all from our living room in Leeds, where the pleasant sunshine that accompanied this morning's Easter festivities has given way to more thunderstorms. Also, smoke.

And with that, here's a late-Sunday version of the links from around my sports world.

-- Obviously, the big story of this week was CBS' decision to move Alabama-Auburn (don't call it The Iron Bowl, please -- The Iron Bowl died when the game move out of Birmingham just like Lynyrd Skynyrd was never really the same after the plane crash) to Friday at 1:30 p.m. Like Todd, the more I think about the less I like it.
To be blunt, this sucks. This sucks for the fans that will have to adjust their Thanksgiving travel plans, this sucks for the people who aren't fortunate enough to be able to take that day off to watch the game, this sucks for the state of Alabama's economy, and this especially sucks for the players who will now likely be forced to miss out on Thanksgiving with their families. Yet of all those involved, those that are least affected are unsurprisingly the ones with the most to gain.

Maybe the most nightmarish idea came from my mother today, who pointed out that her normal gameday routine -- drive to Tiger Town, park and ride the trolley to campus -- will likely be an out-and-out disaster, with the normal Black Friday crowds merging with the gameday masses to create something resembling a hellish, angry mob. Also there's the problem of what will happen to those who have high-school games that Friday -- the state semifinals are traditionally that week, and there's simply no way any fan of a particular high school in the semis will be able to attend the state's biggest game and make the playoff matchup. The AHSAA will likely work with the schools, to allow them to play Saturday afternoon or something (they wouldn't play Thanksgiving, would they?), which will be profoundly weird.
It's going to be a problem, let there be no doubt. But, LSU and Arkansas have played the game in this spot the last several years, and their fans make it work. So maybe it won't be a huge deal.

-- Speaking of the AHSAA, the other big story of the week was the state's decision to move the Super 6 out of Birmingham and to Auburn and Tuscaloosa's campus (to save perpetually "disrespected" AU fans the effort, the decision to actually start the process in T-town likely had less to do with its overall awesomeness and more to do with the fact that Auburn has to host the state's biggest event weekend the week before and they probably felt like sparing the city planners the headache). As bad as I feel for Legion Field -- which is like an old, decaying haunted house at this point -- it's genuinely exciting for high school kids. Had I the chance to play at Bryant-Denny Stadium at age 18, I might have actually murdered someone to make it happen.

-- On things related to actual football, Greg McElroy continues to lead the charge for the Tide QBs, not a huge surprise given his (apparent) acumen and experience in the offense. Also, Gentry Estes has the most terrifying thought of the day: Terrence Cody is hungry. If you see him, walk away slowly. Just trust me. Estes also has the skinny on the most recent scrimmage, which wasn't pretty.
If you're interested in a look at spring scrimmages around the country, The Wiz has you covered. And Luke Brietzke can tell you more about Auburn's scrimmage, also.

-- BSR tells us Kenny Stabler is now permanently done in the broadcast booth. As a tribute, here's one of his greatest calls.

(HAHAHA ... yeah!)

-- From the professional ranks, Rashad Johnson is privately improving his draft stock. Everything's already been said about Rashad, but his is a fantastic story, and I hope he has the chance to continue playing football.

-- To baseball, where Alabama dropped another SEC series today, this time at home to LSU. Since SEC play began, 'Bama has won two series -- Georgia and Tennessee -- and lost three -- at Florida, at Ole Miss and LSU. And this weekend they're at Vanderbilt. Something needs to change and change quickly.
On the plus side, the Braves have already won their first two series of the season, even though the bullpen is a giant, terrifying question mark less than a week in (and calling it a question mark is generous, frankly). But the offense is a huge plus so far, particularly Brian McCann, who is on a tear thus far.
The last two seasons have been lost in June. We'll see how things turn out this time around.

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