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Jumbo Package: Remember last week when “Nick Saban let the game pass him by and couldn’t recruit?”

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That was funny

CALEB DOWNS SZN

ICYMI yesterday, Alabama picked up the nation’s No. 1 safety, the highest ranked player of the Tide’s 2023 class — and Ohio State’s biggest target of NSD: Caleb Downs, from Georgia.

Yes, it is important for the team, but it also makes great trolling fodder.

For instance, Alabama has now signed 3 of the top 4 players in Georgia — in fact, all were UGA targets, and all went elsewhere.

With the addition of Caleb Downs, #Alabama now has commitments from three of the top four players from the state of Georgia in 2023. pic.twitter.com/PdytrSpgzL

— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) July 27, 2022

Sure, that kind of trolling towards Kirby and his new $11 million contract is fun, but it’s equally amusing to poke fun at Ohio State. The Buckeyes hosted their version of a Big Cat weekend on June 24th, where Ryan Day brought in seven blue chip players at critical positions of need.

What was the result?

They did not sign a single one of them. In fact, Alabama nabbed the commitment of three of them, while LSU, USC, and even UCF poached others.

Buckeye Bro is not handling this well.

June 24th Official Visit will go down as the worst visit weekend in Ohio State history. WTF

Justice Haynes: Alabama
Darron Reed: LSU
John Walker: UCF
Olaus Alinen: Bama
Tackett Curtis: USC
Caleb Downs: Bama
Troy Bowles: Georgia

— Zeke (@anotherbucksfan) July 27, 2022

For more on Downs, about as sure a thing as you’ll see in five-star guys, there’s a lot more to digest. And he made the media circuit yesterday, many of which are worth your time:

“Coach Saban means a lot. The mentorship he can provide, the development on the field… The pedigree and the winning traditional Alabama has, I love that.”

️ 5⭐️ safety @caleb_downs2 talks about why he chose Alabama over the likes of Ohio State, Georgia, and Notre Dame. pic.twitter.com/AbwI7Y35d7

— 247Sports (@247Sports) July 27, 2022

He also had prerecorded a Player’s Tribune vlog in the weeks leading up to the commitment. About an hour after he signed, the vid dropped:

“Let’s keep it simple. #RollTide

Five-star safety recruit @caleb_downs2 makes his college announcement with The Players’ Tribune. pic.twitter.com/0py0GSHuPw

— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 27, 2022

And, it turns out all the people beg-tweeting at Caleb really had no shot anyway, despise abasing themselves. Per Downs, he knew it was going to be Alabama “weeks ago.”

With his commitment, Alabama now has three five-star DBs secured for the 2023 Class.

Seems that all those “Nick Saban has lost his touch!” stories are beginning to dry up. The GOAT has still got it, because he can big dick it into any living room in America and promise a unique combination unmatched by anyone in the country:

Entering his 16th season at The Capstone, Saban still knows exactly what recruits want — NFL opportunities, national championships and college degrees.

Saban has been boisterous this offseason, when reminding the media, that his Crimson Tide alums have earned $1.7 billion in NFL salaries. Additionally, the Tide holds a record 41 first round draft picks in the last 14 seasons.

The Goat has won six national championships in his tenure with the Crimson Tide. Every single recruit that has spent three seasons under his watch in Tuscaloosa can point to their jewelry box and call themselves a national champion. Alabama needs to win another title by the 2023 season to keep this statistic alive, good thing the Crimson and White are heavy favorites for the 2022 title.

Lastly, according to the Graduation Success Rate figures released by the NCAA in December 2021, the Alabama football team posted a score of 86. It was the 13th consecutive year that the Tide has finished in the top four in the SEC.

So no, he’s not lost it. And just like that, the Tide’s small class is Top 5 again.

Surprising absolutely no one, B1G Commissioner Kevin Warren confirmed what we’ve long suspected: With the addition of USC, Texas and Oklahoma to an already stout SEC/B1G roster, the Big 10 is perfectly willing to listen to a Rust Belt / Cracker Belt-only playoff:

He was, however, specifically asked whether he has opened his mind to a potential SEC and Big Ten playoff if expansion continues.

“Everything has to be on the table,” he said. “Everything. We owe that to our student athletes, our fans, our member institutions, our alumni base and we owe it to college football at large. Put everything on the table. And as I mentioned yesterday, the business of college athletics has evolved at a more rapid rate than the organization and the governance ad we can’t allow that anymore. We need to really sit down and stop saying, ‘Well, this is how we used to do it.’

So, while Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma are lining up for a four-way New Year’s Eve television ratings bukkake, the parallel “playoff” is going to be equally sad.

Think advertisers are raring to go at the thought of Oregon, Clemson, Pitt, and Baylor?
Me either.

And while no one wants to draw the limp biscuit here, my guess is that Clemson gets the honors when the lights come back on.

For a guy who looks like a CPA, Eli Drinkwitz talks some pretty good smack. This time, his witticisms were aimed at the Vawls and their low-rent, redneck cheating scandal.

“Me personally,” Drinkwitz quipped, “I got to question my wife’s commitment to winning. I don’t know how much she’s committed f she’s not engaging in some of these things. I didn’t know that was fair play.”

Drink also said that his personal coaching record is going to improve, because the Vawls are going to have to vacate wins for cheating. LOL.

Imagine getting faded from the guy who looks like he’s there to check your water quality. (That is an inside joke that is not-at-all about our beloved Brent Taylor).

Man, you have to feel bad for a player like Jameson Williams, who relies on explosion and speed, but trying to overcome an injury that limits all of his best skills. He’s having a hard time getting mentally adjusted to not being able to do what he knows he can do. Fortunately, he’s doing his homework and is involved in everything but the full-pads practice aspect.

He knows what he can do and what he’s capable of, but he’s just not there yet, and that can be frustrating. But we’ve got a plan for him. He’s working, he’s progressing, and so I think it’s big.

“The football is where he’s, obviously, really all in. He loves it. He eats it up. He knows what’s going on. He’s attentive in walkthroughs and meetings, and so I think it always has got to start there. That’s the goal, that’s the reach, that’s where you’re going for, but to get there you’re starting down here, so we got a plan, and there’ll be some days that’ll be rough. That’s part of rehab, too. It’s not always easy. But he’ll get there.”

“There are moments where it’s like, ‘What the hell?’”

Kirk Ferentz, the ever-blunt, white bread Iowegian mainstay that he is, is giving voice to what many around the country are thinking. College Football is sick. But it hits a bit different coming from someone of his stature, who has (mostly) been able to duck controversy and is not known for being confrontational or acerbic.

And the issue at the heart of all the uncertainty? Lack of leadership and structure…you know, what the NCAA is supposed to be doing.

“I think we’re in a really precarious place,” he shared.

“There’s just a lot of vagueness, a lot of uncertainty. We really don’t have a firm structure. We don’t have a basic set of operating rules. I don’t think anybody right now can really explain NIL in detail – What you can and what you can’t do. I know you can’t entice recruits, but it sure seems like maybe that’s going on a little bit. There’s just a lack of overall clarity.”

“We need some intervention, and then my bigger concern is: Who’s going to do it, right? Where’s it going to come from? Where’s that leadership going to come from, because we’re all busy?”

Good question.

Bryce may be a Top-3 favorite to win the Heisman, but more money is going in on OSU’s CJ Stroud at the moment (and history certainly does not favor repeats either).

That should surprise no one. In fact, 6-7 weeks ago, I told you to take Stroud, and explained why that was the smartest bet on the board.

Hope you got in early.

If you didn’t, you can still read up on the wherefores here…and then make smarter decisions with your wagering dollars.

Just as an item of interest, former ‘Bama OC Mike Locksley, had an interesting quip in the B1G Media Days about former Tide QB, Taulia Tagovailoa. And you know, I’m having a hard time disagreeing here:

Taulia Tagovailoa returns for a third season after breaking numerous Maryland football records,” Locksley said. “I don’t think there’s a more underrated player in the country than Taulia Tagovailoa, and I’ll continue to say it, as he’s a guy that has really been the catalyst to making us go on offense.”

“I said this, you take the second quarter of the Iowa game out of his resume and body of work a year ago, he broke records of some of the top quarterbacks in Maryland history,” Locksley said on Big Ten Network. “I mean, at one point Maryland was Quarterback-U Boomer Esiaison and Frank Reich … all played in the league and these guys had records that Taulia broke. The Iowa game to me is obviously an anomaly for him. And if you take that out, I think that’s what people remember. It was a nationally televised game, but the kid played great football for us a year ago. And it’s really in my craw when you talk about top quarterbacks in the country and his name doesn’t come up and the thing that he needs to continue to do is that mental maturity that we talked about where you know, in the words of the late Trevor Moawadl who I’ve worked a lot with, getting him to stay at neutral.

‘Lia had a standout season in 2021: 3,860 yards, 26 TD, 11 INT. Five of those INTs were in one bad blowout loss against Iowa (who incidentally led the nation in interceptions). The only nationally televised game with ‘Lia also happened to be the one where he played one of the nation’s best secondaries with an injured RB and a missing WR. And of course, that awful UMD defense behind him, that almost always makes Maryland play from behind. In retrospect, bed-sharting was all but assured.

Diving a bit deeper into the data pool, ‘Lia had a 69.2% completion percentage in 2021 — that was good for 9th in the country (2nd B1G). His 26 passing scores were T-18th (3rd B1G). He completed 66% of his passes in B1G games (2nd), and if you remove the Iowa game, threw for 14 TD (3rd) to just 5 INTs (2nd). And, again, removing the Iowa game, against ranked opponents, he completed 62% of his passes for 8 scores and 4 INTs.

He is underrated. And, like his big brother, he does occasionally let the previous play get to him. But, rest assured, the Tide didn’t miss on ‘Lia at all; he was just a depth chart casualty of a QB room that had a Heisman finalist and a Heisman winner on-deck.

If you want to adopt a non-Bammer for 2022, why not make it Taulia? (And I kind of have a soft spot for Locks now, one of the many positive beneficiaries of Nick Saban’s Home for Wayward and Disgraced Coaches.)

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