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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban speaks on the state of college football

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Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Athlon published its preseason All-America team, and three Alabama players made the first team: Will Anderson, Bryce Young, and Jordan Battle.

Nick Saban spoke about a few things on Greg McElroy’s podcast, and Mark Heim has the notes for you.

“We don’t have any guard rails on what we’re doing right now,” he said. “We have no restrictions on who could do what. Some people are going to be capable of doing certain things. Other people aren’t going to be capable, but the bottom line is we’ll lose competitive balance.”

The comments are similar to the ones made about NIL and Texas A&M in May, though, Saban didn’t specifically name teams, coaches or players.

The number of scholarships and the same recruiting rules – Saban argues – were in place to keep things balanced.

“You gonna create more haves and have nots,” Saban, who admitted Alabama is one of the haves, said about the lack of guard rails.

As the divide in competitive balance widens, “they’ll be less good games,” he said.

People will dismiss Saban’s comments as self serving, but he isn’t wrong. Third party money has been welcomed into the sport, and recruiting success is as dependent on who has the most aggressive boosters as who has the best program. Still say that Saban’s pivot will likely be to focus on overachieving sophomores on second tier teams who would love the opportunity to chase a ring and benefit from a year or two of Saban’s development program as they head into the draft.

Many hands have wrung over Peter Woods, but there is still talent available on the defensive line.

“I do think Alabama needs traction on the defensive interior,” Sports Illustrated director of recruiting John Garcia said, “…it just so happens that the state is loaded with inside-out athletes on the defensive front.”

G.W. Carver-Montgomery’s pairing of James Smith and Qua Russaw likely takes top priority. Both are elite five-star wrecking balls that have been products of national interest. Gardendale’s Kelby Collins has kept climbing rankings as schools become more impressed with his size and athleticism at 6-foot-5, 280-pounds.

Phil Knight is desperate.

One industry source said it might take $500 million for a school to exit the ACC given the league’s ironclad grant of rights that keeps schools in the conference until 2036. You can buy a lot of superstar coaches, $1 million coordinators, facilities and swag copters for that kind of money.

Some of the pressure has shifted to boosters. Will they make up the difference? Can the current rate of spend be sustained?

A source at one high-resource football program says the donors are tapped out.

Imagine being poor Phil, having all these billions to blow on Oregon football while boosters at some other schools are starting to reach their limits, yet none of the big leagues will let you play with them. Your heart just goes out to him, doesn’t it?

The Athletic’s college football staff collaborated on a great piece about Wake Forest’s color commentator sharing their playbook with opponents some years back.

Wake Forest hired an investigative firm to dig into the leak. The firm uncovered oddities in Elrod’s computer habits. Like many team color commentators, he had access to Wake’s practice tape to prepare for that week’s game. But a source said investigators found that Elrod logged in at strange hours.

There were records of phone calls to opposing coaches: a 25-minute call with Galloway the Wednesday before the Louisville game; another with Shane Beamer, then an assistant at Virginia Tech, the night before Wake played the Hokies in 2014.

When Dave Clawson took over at Wake Forest he decided not to retain Elrod, so Elrod decided to sabotage him. College football’s pettiness is often celebrated, but that’s another level.

Last, The Gut got another transfer.

BREAKING : Michigan LHP/UT Lauren Esman (@LaurenEsman) has committed to @AlabamaSB for her final two years of eligibility.

Esman, who started 38 games at 1B for the Wolverines, is currently 6-0 with 34 K’s & a 1.70 ERA over 24.2 IP in the @FGCLsoftball pic.twitter.com/atqtAlem55

— Brett Greenberg (@74Talk) July 11, 2022

Her batting stats are not great, and it seems that she is transitioning to full time pitcher. The stats over those 24 innings are strong, and Alabama must have seen something.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.

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