Before I start with this weekend's links, I promise not to mention the former Packers QB, the Yankees' 3B or the Dodgers' LF. Although it's worth noting how hard sports tries to make us dislike it, and yet we keep coming back.
As always, we start the weekend with a little Webb — this one is also a singles masterpiece, and is called "Can't Lose You." Definitely listen for the bridge when the bald one stretches his voice to its highest limits.
And we're off.
— Senor CFB discusses the SEC schedule, and whether balance is more favorable to tradition. The conference has attempted to straddle that line since it broke up into divisions in 1992 by allowing each team to keep a "traditional" rival from the opposing division (originally it was two — and the "" exists because not everyone's permanent opponent is actually a tradition, like Arkansas-South Carolina). This approach comes in opposition to the Big XII, which dissolved year-to-year rivalries like Oklahoma-Nebraska with its division format (no permanent opponents).
Obviously, as a 'Bama fan, I don't want to lose Tennessee as a yearly opponent. But I do enjoy seeing UGA and Florida more often in the rotating format, as well. So what if we compromise: add an extra conference game to the schedule and give back the two permanent opponents PLUS the two rotating dates. The NCAA has already given us the chance by adding the extra game to the schedule, and it allows you to see your inter-division opponents more often (because a fewer number of teams are rotating through your schedule). The PAC-10 already took this approach by using the extra regular-season game as an opportunity to add an extra conference date.
The biggest problem is obvious: it's another week that allows the conference to beat up on itself, which ultimately harms the overall record of the conference and thus any potential MNC contenders from the SEC (remember: the PAC-10 doesn't play a conference title game). And frankly, I don't know if there's any getting around that sticking point, at least until we rid ourselves of the abominable BCS.
— 8Box tackles one of the growing problems in college football and sports today: internet defamation between rival fan bases. This may be the most hateful aspect of the rise of blogs: for all the flaws of the mass media industry, there's a certain accountability people demand from their media outlets that they simply don't request from blogs (because most people like me regard blogs as being "just for fun," even though many of them are becoming increasingly legitimate — this obviously isn't one of them).
If I write defamatory things about Gene Chizik in the newspaper, he can sue me. I have a desk and a phone number and a face and an identity (and an attorney). If I write defamatory things about Chizik on this blog ... well, what do you do then? Just ignore it? Think about all the blogs you read on a daily basis — do you know any of the people who author those posts? I certainly do not. In fact, I was walking out of the St. Clair County Courthouse the other day and saw a guy wearing a H.A.B.O.T.N. t-shirt, and wondered momentarily if that was Jay Tate (it wasn't ... I don't think).
You get my point. If I had one.
(One other note from that link: if you ever doubted the insanity of David Housel, read that thing. He actually said those things, folks. And he means it. Good Lord.)
— Good news for UA fans: the APR scores are in! And they're good! And they made Nick Saban smile (kinda)! Much like what we wrote here Wednesday about boring, disciplined football, this is part of that package: good guys who go to class, make grades, stay out of trouble and ... aw, hell. Well, nothing's perfect, I guess.
— Speaking of those little things, two that make a successful football team: the kicking game, at which Alabama wasn't necessarily great in 2008; and, of course, offensive line, which this story says is a great indicator of future success, even more so than the QB position. I'm telling you: the tackle positions are the most important positions on this offense in 2009. Greg McElroy or no.
— 'Bamasphere notes: RBR is engaging in a twitter war with some guys from Colorado; and AG added another reason to hate the SEC to its award-winning list.
— Big weekend for Tide baseball: Arkansas comes to town for a three-gamer. TCBB has a preview of the weekend in conference play. While you're there, check out their regional projections, which currently have our boys playing in Austin in the NCAA Regionals. And this link is reg-required, but it's a good read: the life and times of Ross Wilson.
— Finally, breaking the rules I set at the beginning of my own entry: Manny Ramirez and Jordan Schafer. Damn it all.