Just a brief “thank god” here: Tua has been ruled out of the playoffs. He needs six months to get healthy and not turn his cranium into oatmeal — least of all to waste that gray matter for a road game in Buffalo, where the Fish are heavy underdogs.
Get healthy, get everyone on the same page, let Miami shore up the OL and defense, and then make a run at a ring next year. And for the love of god, take Judo or something so you can learn how to take a fall.
The transfer portal was always going to be abused. What most probably did not see was just how quickly it took for the entire project to go off the rails, with some guys now on their 3rd team...just in the NIL era.
What began as a well-intentioned sop to players to bring a little more balance to the scholarship contract has turned into a refuge for far too many disgruntled underachievers, disciplinary cases, the entitled and lazy, and the locker room cancers.
And, frankly, it’s been a transparent cash grab from several guys too — with destinations like USC and Oregon and LSU being high on the landing list. Last year, nearly 2000 players were in the Portal. And 120 D1 quarterbacks declared their services for sell, including the absurd JT Daniels, now on his fourth school in as many years.
‘Tis a bad look, this blatant one-year free agency project. Someone was going to have to act. And yesterday, the NCAA took a small step towards closing the barn door just a smidge for these multiple transferees. Oh, sure, transfer will still available. But now guys will have to sit, barring some very narrow exceptions.
The NCAA Division I Council approved legislation on Wednesday to limit waivers for second-time transfers. Now, undergraduate players who transfer will have specific guidelines they must meet in order to be eligible for immediate playing time starting with the 2023-24 season or risk sitting out a year in between transfers.
First, a player can receive immediate eligibility if they have a physical injury or mental health condition that pushed them to transfer from a school. Additionally, the NCAA will consider “exigent circumstances” that could force a player to leave an institution — like sexual assault or abuse. No other factors will be considered, including academic considerations or playing time.
If you’re keeping track, Alabama has now lost three wide receivers in the last two years who would be subject to this rule. One wonders if places like Kentucky or UCF look more appealing if guys know they have to sit for a full year? We shall see. But, as Roger rightly noted today, the NCAA is going to be positively gratuitous in granting exceptions. That’s one of the most litigation-shy agencies going, and it has had a terrible string of luck in California courts (because of course it’s California).
The offseason got a lot more stupid, a lot earlier than we thought, with AP and USA Today voters essentially being shamed for casting their ballot and not having TCU second in the final polls.
Just as silly, Nick Saban’s ballot — which mirrored those of the advanced statistic models — had ‘Bama at No. 2...and he’s getting grief for it. As if that’s not also a perfectly defensible option given how everyone outside of Georgia finished their season.
But, we may have a serious shitstorm brewing on the horizon. Harbaugh has definitely been interviewing for NFL jobs. With a looming NCAA sanction heading his way, the Pete Carrol Golden Parachute has to be an attractive option.
If the Michigan job opens after a playoff appearance? Whoo boy. All bets are off. So many dominoes are going to fall, and the ripple effect will be seismic.
So of course I want it to happen.
If you’re Michigan you at least call Jimmy Sexton and make Dabo and Kirby say no, right? They’re both under 55, in their prime coaching years; both have won a pair of titles; both recruit at a high level; both are used to kicking the hell out of bad teams in a soft division to retain national attention. Hell, maybe even Saban for a final jewel in his crown; the vanity project of all vanity projects?
What’s a national title or two, and the prospect of a dynasty, worth to the Wolverines? Twelve million? Fifteen million a year? Complete control over football ops? All of the above?
Bring on the chaos.
Keep an eye on this: After Sark poached half the damn staff on the way out the door, now he’s after Alabama’s No. 2 man, Assoc. Head Coach / WRC Holmon Wiggins.
Look, I realize that a lot people are down on the WR production after the past two seasons. But I think with all the transfers we’ve seen, it’s just as likely a work ethic issue from the bad eval that the entire program suffered under, as much as it is anything else.
His loss would be a big one, not least because of his stellar recruiting. And some of the route separation he coaches is the very best in the business. Still, at the same time, if you get a few years to mentor under Steve Sarkisian’s innovative mind en route to your own career progression from WRC —> OC —> HC (and in Austin, no less), you would probably take that, right? I think I would.
Plus, I’m afraid that Bill O’Brien or some other NFL retread just isn’t going to move the needle quite like that prospect would.
Though, at the same time, the best way to advertise yourself is to be part of a program that wins big. Has Sark ever done that as a solo head coach? After a decade, the answer is no, we’re still waiting. Maybe a promotion to Co-OC and sticking around Tuscaloosa behooves him even more?
But, just in case, go ahead and make your mental list of WRC’s you’d like to see in Tuscaloosa. I’ll bet this one happens if the money and job responsibilities work. And you’d guess Sark will make the money work — FFS, he paid a million dollars for a special teams coach, who left his family to very publicly date a stripper, the charming Pole Assassin...who comes with her own “emotional support monkey.”
All bets are off when talking about that program.
‘Bama’s prize RB in the 2022-2023 NSD class, Justice Haynes, is lighting up the All-American Bowl practice field.
247 was gracious enough to go film it. You should check it out: the kid runs better routes than Agiye Hall
In the real news category: Last night, Alabama went to its house of horrors, a place just as awful as the ‘Barn — Bud Walton Arena. The Hogs have had Alabama’s number of late. They were 8-2 coming into the series, and Alabama had won just twice in BWA in 20 years: the last was over a decade ago, in 2012.
And while it was nip and tuck early, ‘Bama controlled the second half with some hot shooting, its lockdown defense, and overall did a good job protecting the ball.
Here’s everything spaketh by Gigachad Nate Oats, the Man For Whom I Would Take A Bullet. But I would highlight this passage particularly:
On freshmen coming through down the stretch in a tough environment…
“Clowney’s not scared of much. Neither is Brandon, but we’ve seen it from Brandon. But Clowney stepped up big in some big games. I sat down and met with Clowney last night. They’ve shown that they’re not gonna guard guys that have lower percentages. He hadn’t been shooting it great at the beginning of the year, so his percentage was lower. I thought he’d been shooting it well, though, since we got in conference play. I just told him, ‘If you’re open and your feet are set, don’t hesitate. Let it go.’
“He went 3-for-4. Brandon went 2-for-2. Those freshmen combined to go 5-of-6. I thought the three Noah Gurley hit was big, too. It kind of staved off a run from them. Brandon’s been big, clutch. He makes big free throws. He’s made big shots. But those three threes between the two of those guys there when we were making that run was huge.”
This team has some dogs in them. Even better, there’s a lot of fight in those dogs too. This squad is just built different.
That brings me to the shameless plug. Later today, we resume Points in the Paint, where we shall discuss what it will take to keep this Golden Saint in Tuscaloosa. Spoiler: Greg Byrne best get some guys on turning a shovel soon.
And, if you missed Roger’s recap of last night’s double-digit road win over No. 15 Arkansas, check that out as well.
We’ll be back later with some more hoops for you. Roll Tide
Will restrictions on multiple portal entries help curb some of the team-hopping that got out of control this year?
Quite a bit
Probably some; but not as much as the NCAA expects
Very little to none
Let’s see how many of those exemption waivers there are. and how they are handled, then I’ll tell you if the rule actually has teeth