Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday links: Memorial Day edition

A quick roundup today, since I have to be off for the office — yes, I'll be honoring the troops by working today — in a few minutes. As always, let's be careful out there.

UPDATE: Two things we missed: first, the inevitable Jim Tressel resignation finally came down today; second, as always, we implore you to visit the Red Cross' website and donate, if you haven't done so already. Thanks.

— Certainly, the biggest news at home was Alabama's softball team exorcising last year's demons by rallying to beat Stanford and advance to the Women's World Series in Oklahoma City. Like a lot of other Alabama teams, these girls believe they're playing for something greater than themselves right now, which is pretty cool.
— The baseball team wasn't quite so inspiring: After winning the one game everyone agreed they needed in Hoover, Bama was pretty lifeless in two straight losses. Their regional destination will be public today — ESPN is sending us to Tallahassee, while Baseball America has us back in Atlanta.
While we're here, Jon Solomon wrote an interesting piece on college baseball's agent issue, something that, like college baseball itself, nobody really pays any attention, except at this time of the year.

Of course, there's still football to talk.

— Dr. Saturday posted his glance at Bama last week, with his usual fair assessment of the team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now the scary part: With All-SEC Mark Barron's decision to skip the draft for his senior season, this fall's defense will reprise the veteran template of the 2009 group with a whopping ten returning starters — all but defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, a top-five draft pick — every single one of them a former four or five-star prospect from the succession of chart-topping recruiting classes that have beaten a path to Tuscaloosa since 2008. (To say nothing of the latest chart-topping class that signed on in February.) If it makes good on its promise to get to the quarterback more often, the 'Bama D will again be the most fearsome unit in the country on either side of the ball, bar none.

The most worrisome issue — aside from a tougher schedule in '11 (Penn State, Florida and Auburn on the road) — remains in the passing game, with a new QB and no Julio. Duron Carter's delayed enrollment probably won't help.

— What will help: Trent Richardson's presence in the backfield, where he, like the softball girls, is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. The good news: relief is coming from everywhere, as Cecil points out in today's column.

— Elsewhere, Tower illustrates the greatest horse race of all-time; Tony Barnhart foretells the coming college football divide; and Hinton discusses the predictions of Auburn's fall as this year's hot internet meme.

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