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Jumbo Package: The awkward wholesomeness of Nick Saban

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Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

For all of his fearsome reputation, the GOAT is a big lovable dork

You know one of my favorite parts about the offseason in general, and recruitniks specifically? The fact that they all angle to justify the recruiting beat as a valid form of analysis (and thus for their continued employment). To that end, I give you (for about the 12th year in a row) Bud’s “Blue Chip Index.”

This clever example of post hoc ergo propter hoc says that because Team X signed enough of Player A, B, C — and thus creating a higher ratio of Player A, B, C within Team X’s roster — and that a national title was won, it was therefore because of that ratio. Given those results, we can thus project forward that any team with a higher ratio of A, B, C ought to be considered a national title threat.

Look, everyone knows that talent does matter, and outside of things like SPARQ and the tape measure, it really is a subjective matter. And, shockingly, when there is more talent, there is a better chance of winning. But this is throwing a dart and then painting a bullseye around it later. And, even then, it’s still missing.

Want to know who was in the Top 20 of the 2021 Blue Chip Ratio?

Auburn 56%, 6-7 record, almost fired coach
USC 53%, 4-8, worst record in 20 years, fired coach
Florida 54%, 6-7, fired coach
Texas 66%, 5-7 record, almost fired coach
LSU 66%, 6-7 record, fired coach
Penn State 55%, 7-6 record
Miami 56%, 7-5 record, fired coach
Additionally, five other teams had at least three losses

Nor, is the deficit just in overestimating success; it fails at the other end of the tail too. It can’t tell you who will succeed based on this magic ratio. Don’t believe me? Try this on for size:

Neither participant in the Big 12 CG was on this list, including the conference winner
Neither participant in the ACC CG was on this list, including the conference winner
Only one of the B1G CG teams was on this list.
Only one of the P12 CG teams was on this list, and that team lost.
Congratulations. Alabama and Georgia are good. Did you need a ratio to sort that out?

All I’m saying here is that when 35% of the coaches on this list got fired, and 60% of the conference title game participants didn’t even show up on the list, that’s probably not a very predictive measure — all you’ve done is point out that at the very tippy-top, very good teams are very good. BREAKING: Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama are good.

But, if any of that abuse of data floats your boat rather than insults your basic reasoning skills, here is the 2022 Blue Chip Ratio, featuring — Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia. Again.

I tweeted this one out yesterday, but Saban and Prime seem to have buried the hatchet…like men do, rather than melting down like overwrought 9-year-olds.

But I’m not naming anyone specifically here.

Speaking of Saban, Channing Crowder relayed a great story from his Saban era with the Fish:

“I brought strippers into the Dolphin’s facility. She walked in with nothing but a thong on and a Jason Taylor jersey and she went up there and Nick Saban was on his chair and she went up there and shook it for Nick Saban and Nick Saban grabbed her hips and moved her to the side and ran up the stairs,” said Crowder.

It’s hard not to appreciate that sort of awkward wholesomeness. Sure, a lot of it is because lives in mortal fear of Miss Terry, but he’s just a lovable little dork at the end of the day.

Four-star DB Makari Vickers narrowed down his finalists yesterday, and Michigan, Alabama, and Oklahoma made the cut. Here’s what 247 had to say about him.

The Tallahassee, Fla., native ranks in at No. 115 nationally, No. 6 in safeties, and No. 23 in Florida in his recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

“A natural playmaker on the backend with ball skills that is quick to read and diagnose. Impressive open-field tackler for someone his age that will strike ball carriers and wrap up. Looser hips allow him to get east-west better than most his size. Understands how to fight through blocks out on the perimeter or in the ally and make a stop,” said southeast recruiting analyst for 247Sports Andrew Ivins.

With Brent Venables back in Norman, be prepared for a lot of head-to-head recruiting battles featuring the Sooners. He was the heart and soul of Dabo’s squads — on the field and in the living room — so I would expect nothing different as he rebuilds the tissuey-soft nougat that is the OU defense.

Oh, look…it may be illegal under California law for the UCLA Bruins to piss on off to the Rust Belt after all. As I wrote to a reader a few days ago, we haven’t even touched on the independent contractor law (SB5 IIRC?) that would essentially make players actual university employees. Nah, I’m sure that won’t be a big deal, right?

And, the Regents haven’t even discussed the matter yet, much less approved it, though that is upcoming. Just as the State Assembly has not given its blessing either, but is also slated to take up the matter next week. This ain’t over, not by a long shot. Gee, I wonder who could have predicted that.

That dude is a pretty smart MFer. I bet he is equal parts feared and loved; perhaps is considered adroit, tender lover, with hog like Pete Davidson; and he likely even has a brain with Ramunujan-esq accuity.

Allegedly.

This is actually a great little feature: AL takes a stab at indirect moments that helped build Alabama’s dynasty, now 15-years-strong and counting.

I’ll include my favorite one, perhaps of all time:

The Razorbacks were 5-4 entering that afternoon game in Oxford. Ole Miss appeared to be in good shape, up 52-45 in overtime with the visitors facing a 4th-and-25 play. The sideline celebration even started to leak onto the field at the exact moment everything flipped.

And while not quite Stanford-Cal/the-band-is-on-the-field, what happened on that fourth-down play could be the most underrated moment in saving Alabama’s season. Razorback quarterback Brandon Allen found tight end Hunter Henry short of the sticks, right in front of the Ole Miss sideline. Just as he was about to be slung to the turf, Henry launched a blind lateral into the void.

“Yeah, we actually got a lot of fan mail from Alabama fans, people down here thanking us for beating Ole Miss,” Arkansas QB Brandon Allen said with a grin Tuesday in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. “Obviously we would have loved to have beaten both of them, but I don’t think we ever thought of it when we were playing Ole Miss. We were just trying to win the game and it just kind of fell the way it did and worked out for them.”

I think that’s about it for today, y’all. Fortunately for Alabama, all is quiet in Tuscaloosa this offseason. Enjoy your day, and Roll Tide.

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