With yet another tornado ripping through another area this weekend, suddenly it's more imperative than ever that we all donate whatever we can to the Red Cross. Here are a few links to keep us distracted while we pray for ... well, everybody.
— Our softball team is on about the task of resolving last year's unfinished business with a whipping of Chattanooga for the regional title. That means our girls are off to Stanford for a shot at the Women's College World Series, where hopefully illegal bats won't be an issue.
— Alabama baseball did just enough to make it into the SEC Tournament over the weekend, even though it dropped 2 out of 3 to defending national champ South Carolina. Eternal optimist Cecil Hurt thinks this team might just be built for the postseason. The pitching staff — particularly the starting three — has been excellent, but our predilection to leaving runners on base is maddening beyond belief.
(Note: Beyond talent issues, it sometimes seems as though our baseball team isn't terribly smart. In Saturday's rubber game vs. Carolina, the Gamecocks brought a reliever into a bases-loaded, 2-out situation — the reliever promptly walked in a run on 5 pitches, making the score 2-1. The succeeding batter — and to be honest, I can't even remember who it was — having seen all this, took a pitch out of the strike zone, then chased the next pitch for a weak bounce-out to first base. End of threat. And this happens all the time.)
— Throughout our entire run last basketball season, I was continually amazed at how Anthony Grant coaxed 20 wins and a deep run in March (yes, it was the NIT, but so what?) out of a squad that didn't have one reliable scorer. Grant, apparently, realized that as well — last week's signing period ended with Alabama's Mr. Basketball, Trevor Lacey, and some dude from Belgium on the roster in Tuscaloosa. Assuming the 7-footer, Engstrom, develops at all this offseason, that allows him to be 10-deep on the roster, with enough flexibility to go big or small, and a variety of different defensive options as well. I don't want to jinx it, but this could be a top-3 team in the conference this spring.
— ESPN the Magazine dubbed this "The Year of the Scandal," which is fun, right? In celebration, here's Cam Newton singing a Justin Bieber song.
Also, Jon Solomon discusses the SEC's impending oversigning debate. Let's pause just for a moment so Peter von Herrmann can say something mean about Georgia.