Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday tube: let's go be champions, boys

Not sure if anybody realizes it, but our basketball team — no, really — has the opportunity to go to Florida tonight (Tuesday) and clinch a share of the SEC regular-season championship. In that spirit, here's what happened the last time we were matched with Florida with the SEC on the line.

Yes, we're going into off a pretty lousy week: a narrow escape vs. Auburn, and an unendingly frustrating loss at Ole Miss on Saturday. And we're going in with a team that can't shoot, and a coach whose game management is a tad ... shaky (and that's being kind).
But you know what? So be it. We're going to war with a chance to win the frigging SEC. And if we're doing it on the road, with a flawed team and an overmatched coach, then we'll do it all the same.

Let's go be champions, boys. Roll Tide.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Andy: guess I'll sit down, too

So much of what made Andy Griffith a great show had to do with the music on the show. And while most people remember Andy and Barney singing duets, or the Darlings' various jams, one of the better musical episodes centered around Rafe Hollister.

Back with more later, one hopes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

shameless promotion (2.0): Feb. 24, 2011

Editor's note: In the ongoing effort of this blog to get its primary author firedpromote the failingcareer of its primary author, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. One note: Last week there was no column, and this segment thus took off a week. As always, feel free to provide your own thoughts here, or find us on Twitter. We thank you in advance for feigning interest.
The trouble with the pros is that they are just too professional

A number of factors make professional sports simply not likeable.

Maybe the hardest part, though: They’re professionals.

Every decision made in the world of professional sport, whether it is about schedule, rule enforcement or salaries, ultimately comes from a business standpoint — “What decision will make our organization the most money?” It’s hard a thing for a fan of sports like me to understand.

(And here’s the part where you say, “Wait, aren’t you the same guy who religiously follows college sports? What part of this isn’t a business?” And you’re right, but please allow me to delude myself for a few more minutes about the amateur nature of things and pretend that my favorite players care about my school as much as I do. OK?)

Here’s the thing: Even though I don’t really enjoy pro football or basketball — I didn’t grow up with any attachment to any particular teams aside from the Atlanta Braves — I do like sports. And I like seeing them played at the highest level, particularly for the highest stakes (the playoffs, specifically).

Trouble is, it’s hard to pay attention to the action on the field when so much attention is now paid to what’s taking place in the boardroom. For every great moment the NFL had this season — and there were many, with the Packers’ Super Bowl title a crowning moment — everything was tempered by the looming threat of a work stoppage.

“Enjoy football while you can,” said just about everyone. “Who knows if we’ll have pro football next year?”

Basketball is no better — what should be a banner year for the league, with marquee franchises, marquee players and spectacular athletic achievements, is being clouded by its own labor strife. The NBA will almost certainly have a work stoppage in 2011, and it may extend until sometime after the Mayan apocalypse of 2012.

Wait … what’s happening here?

In the Harrison Ford version of “The Fugitive,” one of the investigators asks why someone as rich as Dr. Richard Kimble would want to kill his wife.

“She (his late wife) was more rich,” is the simple reply.

And this is where the average fan disconnects. Nearly all of us who care are willing to shell out ridiculous amounts of money to watch these games, have a drink and maybe even a platter of chicken fingers. None of us really cares if the NFL owners get an extra $1 billion in revenue in a new collective bargaining agreement, or whether the NBA owners can institute a harder salary cap to create more competitive balance. Really, don’t we deal with enough business talk during our regular lives? It has to infect our sports-watching, as well?

Here’s what we will care about: On Sundays this fall and this winter, will there be games to watch? Can I see my favorite team? My favorite player?

And if the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then we’ll find other things to do. That, my friends, is not good business. For anybody.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday tube: in honor of my grandfather

Today is my granddad's birthday, so for our "Tuesday tube" feature, here are some of the great moments from the Paul Bryant era in Tuscaloosa (note: I'm posting these here even though Granddaddy probably doesn't read this blog, or any blog ever).

That was fun. Happy Birthday, sir. We love you. Roll Tide.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday links: big weekend

Before we get to this morning's links, let's share this.

It was the highlight of Saturday night's big win over Arkansas, in which Tony Mitchell stepped into a phone booth and emerged wearing a cape (note: look here for a complete highlight of the game). Honestly, we were fortunate Mitchell and freshman point guard Trevor Releford stepped up when they did — Arkansas was beating us to every loose ball and everybody else was shrinking from the moment. Releford was especially huge because he found his shooting touch (3 big 3-pointers in the second half), and if he can do that with some consistency ... I mean, do I even need to say it?

— So here's your Toomer's trees from the Alabama perspective roundup: the group Tide for Toomer's was still raising money at last report; my friend's daughter took an adorable photo standing next to a tree; and Kleph explains the importance of the trees to rival fans.
One day I want to go see the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium and watch my beloved Crimson Tide put a beat-down on Auburn they haven't seen since the days of Coach Bryant. I want it to be epic and undeniable. When the game is over I want to walk through Toomer's Corner under those big beautiful oak trees and marvel how wonderful they look in their unadorned splendor.

— A little more from Saturday night at Coleman: the jumbotron caught coach Saban taking in the game with Barry Sanders and his son. Is this an NCAA violation? SportsbyBrooks says it is; Alabama says it is not. The offseason kind of sucks, doesn't it?
— Speaking of the offseason, the Auburn thing continues. Good grief.
— One last thing before we go: Phil Steele has the odds to win the 2011 championship already. Yeah. Have fun with that.

See you guys tomorrow. Roll Tide.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Andy: Romeo & Juliet

A late edition of Andy Griffith, in which he talks about love and feuding families (the story is actually a bit from Griffith's stage career, re-told here as part of the show).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

on poisoned trees and a toxic atmosphere

"Seriously, can our 2 teams please quit playing organized sports against each other?"

That was the text I received from my cousin Jamie last night, as social media, the national media and the blogosphere raged on about the (apparently very intentional) poisoning of the live oaks at Toomer's Corner in Auburn yesterday, or as I refer to it, Possibly The Dumbest Thing That Ever Happened Ever. The rhetoric was predictable: Auburn fans bemoaning the classless attack on the campus landmark, Alabama fans condemning the act disowning the guy who (apparently) copped to it and the national press enjoying an offseason civil war that just won't stop.
The question now becomes: Can something positive come from something so absurd?

Maybe the most hateful development of the digital age is an increase in vitriolic rhetoric. For reasons that are not entirely clear, people seem much more inclined to be hateful to one another from behind a computer screen. In the wake of the horrifying shootings that occurred in Tucson earlier this year, a number of political leaders and analysts on both sides of the aisle have wondered if we should not re-examine the atmosphere in our country, and whether we are encouraging people to be violent through our over-the-top rhetoric.

Alabama and Auburn fans may now need to do the same before a similar incident of violence occurs between them. The increased stakes — both programs competing on a national level, both recruiting at a national level, with accusations of cheating and fraud on both sides — is making a simple sibling rivalry into a violent culture war.
We should've seen it coming, of course. I even wrote about it in the spring of 2009, as some Auburn fans planned to hire private investigators to follow certain Alabama recruits in search of proof of wrongdoing.
The Alabama-Auburn rivalry — call it "The Iron Bowl" if you wish — has always been an intense one, no question. When we play one another on the field, we want nothing more than to beat one another's brains in. That's the way football is supposed to be played.
One thing that's always struck me about attending those games, however — and I've now been to every one since 1995 — is how (relatively speaking) friendly the rivalry actually is. ... We're all going to have to work together, worship together and live together when all this is settled.

(An important note: This isn't merely limited to Alabama and Auburn or even the SEC, and if you don't believe me, read this entry from Deadspin about the war of words between Duke and North Carolina.)

Of course, the climate isn't any better. In many ways, with both teams coming off a national title, they are now worse than they ever were, culminating in ... whatever this is (don't believe me? read this Meltdown post from RBR).
And so the question now becomes, Where is the breaking point? Will this be the thing that finally causes us all to take a collective step back and have some perspective? What else has to happen here? Does someone have to be arrested? Does someone have to die?
(Good grief. I just wasted an entire post on the deaths of some trees. I hope you guys are happy.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

state of Bama basketball, per coach Heath

With Alabama's feet now planted firmly on the NCAA bubble, it seems like the right time to bring back my brother Whit Heath, aspiring basketball coach and avid watcher of hoops around the world (be sure to check out his upcoming book, "I'm Thinking Seriously About Murdering Everyone in Mark's Madness"). For perspective, be sure to check out Whit's posts (here and here) from around this time last season. And as always, feel free to join the conversation at any point by commenting here or by finding me on Twitter.

will: How nit-picky are we allowed to be with a team that's 8-2 in conference, 1st place in the SEC & 2-3 plays away from being undefeated?
Whit: I don't know that we, as Alabama basketball fans, are ever able to be "nit-picky." I do think that I have been a little critical over the past few years, but don't find myself doing that this year. The only reason that I can find for not being so critical this year is that this team will play hard every game, and they will not give up at any point. I think in prior years I have been very skeptical of the Alabama program because they seemed to not show up for a few games, but that hasn't happened this year. They have been in every game that they have played, and they have been fun to watch.

will: Why do we continue to go to Jamychal in crunch time, even though he's clearly terrified?
Whit: I don't think JaMychal is terrified by any means. I do think that he is trying to do too much in those situations. In the Vanderbilt game, for example, he ran a pick-n-pop with Tony Mitchell. JaMychal received the ball just inside the three point line, and he then chose to drive it in and got forced out-of-bounds. I like the play call because it gives Mitchell the option and he made the right decision because both defenders crashed on him which left JaMychal open. I like everything about the play except JaMychal's decision to drive (note: not dribble-drive, just drive). He had a great look at the basket when he received the ball. The shot is well within his range. I would've much rather seen him take the wide open jump shot with his body squared towards the basket than drive the ball towards all of the defenders.

will: What would you have said to the SEC had you been coach Grant after the Vandy game?
Whit: Whatever my thoughts, I'm sure that they wouldn't have been politically correct. To tell you the truth, I probably would've lost my mind long before the end of that game. I do think that Coach Grant did a wonderful job of showing me that he is awake, alive, and passionate about what's happening during the game, unlike his predecessor.

will: Give your assessment of Trevor Releford, good and bad.
Whit: Releford is amazing in the open court. I love watching him. I do think he tries to do too much at some times during the games, but those are the times when Alabama is tired and have very little movement in their offensive sets. I think he's going to be a great player if he will allow Coach Grant to coach him and mentor him much like Grant did for Eric Maynor at VCU.

will: Is this really happening?
Whit: Yes, it is really happening.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday tube: on the hardwood

Just a reminder: Our basketball team needs your support this week, with two must-win (or must-not lose) games this week, beginning Thursday night at LSU. With that in mind, here's a crowd video from last Saturday's win over Ole Miss.

Probably all we can do today, since it's a busy day. Hope to see you back tomorrow. Roll Tide.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday links: for love of the game(s)

This weekend's weather is about as close to perfect as it gets ... and in the middle of February. As such, it's not really fair for me to spend too much time around the blog. Nevertheless, here are a few links to help us start the new week.
Before we start, here's a completely cool a capella song from the most recent episode of "Glee," in honor of Valentine's Day.

And away we go.
— Let's get the important stuff out of the way: Alabama went 1-1 this week after surviving Saturday night vs. Ole Miss. We could, of course, bemoan what happened vs. Vanderbilt — the officiating and the lousy game management — but that doesn't change the following things about this basketball team:
• The Tide is currently 9-2 in conference play, and a possession or two from being undefeated in conference play.
• The team is currently first place in the conference.
We've now played ourselves onto the NCAA bubble.
Who saw that coming, honestly?
— To football. First, coach Saban expects the 2011 version of his team to show up hungrier and more mature. Let's hope he's right: Phil Steele projects us in the top-10 for the coming fall, and Bama fans are already securing tickets to the 2012 BCS title game.
— One loss for Bama that didn't get nearly enough play in 2011: not having Robby Green, which meant an already young secondary got even younger. This BR entry wonders whether Green can get anywhere near the field this fall.
— If math is your thing, this 2011 Alabama preview should be particularly eye-opening.
— Since it's February and we're out of things to talk about, it's time for another round of discussion about Oversigning, the great evil of our time. Here, BSR examines it from Alabama's perspective.
If it's legal, and no kids are harmed in the process, then the guy who's getting paid upwards of $4 million dollars a year to win football games ought to be doing it. If he's not, he's not doing everything he can - within the rules - to win football games. And that's not acceptable. That's the cold, hard, unfeeling truth here.

— A few final odds and ends: the Gym Tide continued its dominance over Auburn; the women opened Foster Auditorium Sunday with a win; and Tower of Bammer wonders how Jadeveon Clowney will push the envelope with today's announcement.

That's it for today. Be back tomorrow. Roll Tide.

Friday, February 11, 2011

weekend thought: nobody really knows anything

Normally, this is the time of year I would spend an entire blog entry predicting the finish for the 2011 football season in the Southeastern Conference, attempting to take into account a) what everyone has coming back and b) what everyone picked up in the recruiting race (witness, for example, my prescient look at the 2009 season).
Unfortunately, looking at the SEC in 2011, I have no idea how to make heads or tails of it.

Screenwriter William Goldman famously once said, "Nobody knows anything." That's the way I feel looking at the potential season looming in this league. For the first time since 2007, we're entering the season without a clear favorite.
Don't believe me? Conventional wisdom in football suggests the two most important positions on a football team are coach and quarterback. Teams can't win championships based on those two attributes alone, but they're usually the two things we as media members pick out when we're identifying preseason favorites.
Well, where would you look at this year's SEC for a reliable coach-quarterback combination? Consider, among the contenders ...
• Alabama enters 2011 with a defense that should be nasty and a coach that absolutely knows how to recruit and coach defense better than anyone else in the game. But the offense will be in the hands of the untested A.J. McCarron, a strong-armed kid with way too much confidence in his arm and the potential to possibly give Nick Saban an aneurysm before everything's said and done. Moreover, play-calling duties still belong to Jim McElwain, whose offenses have been ... inconsistent. And that's being kind.
• LSU brings back enough talent on both sides of the ball to talk championship this season. But, the guy at the head of the program still occasionally resembles an escaped mental patient running an NCAA dynasty, and the quarterback is still some combination of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, neither of whom inspires visions of a young Peyton Manning at the helm.
• Auburn is ... actually, let's talk about Auburn later.
• No one knows what to make of Florida, a program stocked with talent now coached by Will Muschamp. Is he a good coach? A bad coach? Can he run a program? No one knows anything about him as a coach, except that he is very adept at a) blitzing and b) swearing violently on live TV.
And the quarterback here is still John Brantley, who everyone assumes can be good in the right offense. Is he in the right offense? Who knows?
• South Carolina "arrived" in 2010 by beating a Georgia team that was trying desperately to get its coach fired, ambushing the defending champs in Columbia and beating a rapidly unraveling Florida team in Gainesville. Along the way, they lost to Kentucky, got drilled at home by Arkansas and were chewed up by the Cam Newton World Tour in Atlanta. I'm supposed to ride them to repeat when they have to replace quarterback Stephen Garcia?
• Not only do I have only a small amount of confidence in Tennessee's Derek Dooley, their quarterback has his own surname tattooed across his shoulders. Whatever.
• Weirdly, the team that looks the best judging by the "coach+quarterback" formula: Georgia, which returns the talented Aaron Murray and still has a strong talent base under Mark Richt. But considering how blatantly his team quit on him 2010, how much faith are we supposed to put in the guy a year later?

The other factor that makes me leery about picking the conference favorites in February: Every year a team arrives that I never saw coming. Auburn in 2010, of course, is the ultimate example: they rode the Cam Newton Express and a favorable schedule (every important game in their backyard until November) to national prominence, and by the end of the year, they were an unstoppable force. I didn't see that coming at this time last year, and I don't think most of us did, either.

That's ultimately what makes it fun: We can make predictions, but nobody really knows anything.

Friday Andy: what's your hurry?

Today's edition of "Friday Andy" features an inspiring message from Dr. Harrison Everett Breen, who interrupted his vacation to be with us today.
That's one subject you just can't talk enough about.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

shameless promotion (2.0): Feb. 10, 2011

Editor's Note: In the ongoing effort of this blog to get its primary author fired promote its primary author's failing writing career, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. As always, you are more than welcome to share your own thoughts here, or by finding me on Twitter. We thank you in advance for your feigning of interest.
Another year older, and deeper in debt (and other birthday cliches)

Now they’re makin’ movies in old black and white
With happy endings, where nobody fights
So if you find yourself in that nostalgic rage
Honey, jump right up and show your age …

Just how cliché is a column about turning 30?

Almost as cliché as the remarks people make on your birthday card when you finally reach that age.

“Happy Birthday,” one of my friends wrote. “Tomorrow you will be closer to 40 than you are to 20.”

Thanks, man.

The truth is, I didn’t want to write a column about turning 30. Do you really want to spend 10 minutes reading about my various aches and pains that I now have for no reason, or me grousing about the younger generation having no respect? Don’t I do enough of that in a normal column?

“Happy birthday! Welcome to Decade #4,” wrote another friend.

Happy to be here.

The past decade pretty much flew by, as most people predicted it would. It included four different towns, three different jobs and three different trips to the hospital with orthopedic issues. I went from being a single, broke, unattached college student to a married, still broke, very attached “adult” with a mortgage, a car payment and three very hungry animals.

“Happy Birthday and welcome to the 30s!!” another said. “Like the 20s but with more ibuprofen!”

How exciting.

One of the things I was warned about when I was in high school was decreasing knowledge. My senior English teacher warned me just before graduation.

“You know, right now you’re as smart as you’ll ever be,” he said. “Because you think you know everything. You’ll spend the rest of your life realizing how little you know.”

How right he was. In fact, the more I educate myself — by reading, studying and talking to people — the less I know about an ever-evolving world. Moreover, the more I learn how little I know, the more I become convinced that those shouting that they have all the answers (in whatever forum) are people you’d generally want to avoid under pretty much every circumstance.

(One bizarre side effect: The desire to correct people seems to decrease with age. Honestly, if some doofus on the radio wants to believe that was Kevin Bacon playing Iceman in “Top Gun,” let him. What good would it do to set them straight, honestly?)

In any case, those are all the reasons I attempted to avoid writing an introspective, self-aggrandizing column about reaching my 30th birthday. Although, obviously, it didn’t work out that way.

“Happy birthday to you!!” said my high school choir director. “Will, you know life only begins when you are 30!”

Let’s hope.

some Thursday movie weirdness: now with more killer tires

In an effort to tide us over through this offseason, I'm going to attempt a weekly feature in which I share with you, the home reader, one of the odd movie trailer that shows up in my RSS every week. This week's edition: "Rubber." I would attempt to describe it, but ... you should probably just watch it yourself.
Yeah ... whatever.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday tube: some familiar faces

Many apologies for my disappearing act the past few days — many exciting things happening (too much to recap here for the moment). In any case, Sunday's win by Green Bay over Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl marks the third consecutive season a member of the 2005 Alabama defense earned a ring (Anthony Madison, Roman Harper and now Charlie Peprah). Which is a perfect excuse to show that defense's highlights from 2005 (apologies for the music — I don't soundtrack these things).
Fortunately the video's author had the good sense to leave out that year's Auburn game, if only because I'd like to remember all the good things that happened for that team, and not their failure to show up in the biggest game of the year.
Also, if you're interested in reading more about our championship trio and have a few minutes, read this story from Sunday morning's Birmingham News.

A programming note: I can't promise what I'll be up to the next few days, and thus can't promise what will be posted here during that time period. But I shall try to have something new before week's end.

Thanks as always, and Roll Tide.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

shameless promotion (2.0): Feb. 2, 2011

Editor's Note: In the ongoing efforts of this blog to show why its primary author should be terminated with extreme prejudice promote its primary author's failed writing career, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. As always, feel free to offer your own thoughts here or by finding us on Twitter. We thank you in advance for your feigning of interest.
The view looks much different from behind a pair of handlebars

The original working title for this column was supposed to be, “Things a 30-year-old can learn on the back of a bicycle.”

Unfortunately, here is a list of what this (nearly) 30-year-old has learned in that capacity thus far:

• Cement trucks don’t have to stop for red lights, it turns out.

• Spandex flatters no one (repeated: NO ONE).

• No one in an automobile has any sympathy for you.

And that’s really it.

Not that spiritual lessons are unavailable somewhere out on the riding trail, of course. It’s just kind of hard to look for them when you’re completely winded, in first gear going up a hill with two very annoyed motorists trying to decide if it’s safe to fly around you on their way down the highway.

About a year ago, my wife and I decided it might be better (read: safer) if we actually joined up with a group that rides weekly. If there’s a pack of bicycles, we’re much less likely to get pancaked, right?

And the answer is a resounding … kind of.

See, this group we joined up with is full of (mostly) serious folks, the kind that wear spandex, buy bicycles built specifically for pavement and put shoes on their feet that are attached to cleats (it’s for pedaling purposes, I’m told, although all I can see when I look at them is a burning pile of money).

In any case, they’re all in shape and fast, and they don’t always ride off and leave us (mostly out of pity) and they even give us cookies when we all make it back alive (so far, a 100 percent success rate). And, um … they have yet to chastise us for being so slow and anchoring the ride like two people encased in lead, riding lead bicycles … in mud.

Truth be told, it isn’t the uphills that cause me to lose the pack; in fact, going uphill — and this is a tad immodest, so sue me — I can almost keep up with the fast and in-shape people (if only because they’re all going about half-speed). Where I lose them, inevitably, is on the downhill side, when I’m just coasting (and attempting to suck air back into my lungs) and they all take off like they’ve been shot out of a great big cannon for bicycles.

Of course, they all stress (very politely) that an afternoon ride “isn’t a race” and that we’re all just out there to have fun, exercise and fellowship. So far I’ve accomplished one of those three things.

And we all get cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

Maybe that’s the spiritual lesson we’ve been trying to find.

thoughts on Signing Day: Same song, different verse

Yesterday I checked in with the live blog at Bama Sports Report, where a bunch of people I (sort of) know were discussing the impending announcement from someone named Cyrus. Full disclosure: I've barely followed the run-up to Signing Day, and so have only the vaguest sense of who any of these people are, so this Cyrus person could've been Billy Ray Cyrus as far as I knew.
Anyway, apparently he announced he was committing to Auburn, followed by a number of the folks on the live blog gnashing their teeth. And I wanted to be upset, but ... I mean, at that point I couldn't even tell you what position the kid plays.
That, in a nutshell, describes my feeling about National Signing Day, and recruiting in general, every year: I spend months and months attempting to ignore it, then wind up checking the web a billion times on the day itself trying to find out how it's going. I think next year I'm going to seriously consider leaving the country.
In any case, I'm posting these links out of obligation: As Coach Saban said aptly, we're very happy with our recruiting class, just like everybody else is happy with theirs; unlike (nearly) everybody else, our recruiting class is the creme de la creme in the nation today, meaning that coach Saban and his staff have landed a top-3 class for the fourth consecutive season. In a related story, the team has won 36 games on the field in the last three seasons, as well.

Some other thoughts:
— Following up on our opener, the dominant story that came out of Wednesday's flurry of activity is the saga of Cyrus Kouandjio, which should serve to underscore just how fragile this thing is (and, conversely, the value of a quality recruiting staff). Honestly, I don't even care that much where he goes: We'd love to have him here, of course, but the poor kid needs to make a decision, for the sake of his own personal sanity.
— For Bama fans, the only other huge headline was the firm commitment of Russellville's Brent Calloway, who caused some consternation leading up to the big moment before flashing a pair of Bama gloves to the crowd. Good for him. And good for us.
— Calloway's announcement was nothing compared to Isaiah Crowell's statement; Crowell brought a bulldog puppy with him on stage, to announce his commitment to Georgia. He just became dead to Peter von Herrmann, sadly.
— A notable story from the T-News: Alabama has devoured Mobile this year, something the savviest college football gurus predicted when Nick Saban set foot on campus. Recall that Saban and his staff at LSU were all over Mobile in the early part of the last decade (Jamarcus Russell, et al), a trend that continued until Saban showed up in Tuscaloosa. So you could argue that LSU actually took the biggest hit when Nick Saban came to Alabama.
— This was an interesting vignette from SbB: a Tennessee commit accused Alabama media of trying to influence his decision. Note that he also refers to himself (or rather, implies) as "the best player in the country." Good for him.
— Finally, two more fun links: EDSBS rates the classes (semi) seriously; and TBL shares your standard "gratuitous scantily clad woman shown from an interesting camera angle" for today.