Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Before we get to Alabama’s routine demolition of Kent State, let’s take a moment to wonder at the Brave New World of a post-Les Miles SEC West. Once considered the SEC’s unquestionable second-best coach, and always quotable, Miles made the SEC West more fun and was, by all accounts, a well-loved and respected leader at the flagship university through difficult times in Louisiana. I, and many other football fans, Louisana and otherwise, will miss him dearly.
Miles’ firing makes Nick Saban the dean of SEC coaches, a mark of Saban’s once-unexpected longevity in Tuscaloosa and his own dominance, which has created untenable positions for many of his colleagues. Miles was basically let go for his inability to beat Saban on the field and on the recruiting trail. It could be argued that Saban’s dominance had a hand in the end of Gene Chizik’s and Mark Richt’s SEC careers, and if Gus Malzahn is gone from Auburn at the end of the season, it will partially be because he largely paled in comparison to his cross-state rival (despite that one second).
While Urban Meyer wasn’t fired from Florida, many have attributed his decision to temporarily retire and seek a new conference to the threat of competing with Saban year after year. And now, years after many said he’d be moving on, Saban is the longest-tenured coach in the SEC.
So nobody outside the state of Alabama has an SEC title as an active head coach. Saban and Gus. That’s the list now.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 25, 2016
Also of note is the 2017 LSU recruiting class, ranked among the top in the nation. Nobody has decommitted yet, but it’s now open season on a class full of 4- and 5-star recruits. Saban has gone into Louisiana and come out with some of the top athletes in the state before (Landon Collins). With Les out of the picture, Saban might be poised to have his pick of the litter, despite interim LSU coach Ed Oregeron’s best efforts.
SEC Country has wall-to-wall coverage of the Miles firing here. Elsewhere, Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report has the excellent missive from Miles’ last game as LSU’s coach, and Jon Soloman of CBS examines why Saban has thrived while Miles’ career wasted away.
What they’re saying nationally about Alabama
- From Fox Sports’ Aaron Torres, Alabama has found yet another crop of outstanding running backs.
- Bleacher Report’s Caleb Turrentine has game analysis and grades.
- Alabama leads ESPN’s SEC power rankings and bowl projections.
- Bleacher Report’s Ed Feng thinks Alabama is more likely than not to make the playoff.
- Alabama still leads the AP Poll and the USAToday Coaches Poll.
Closer to home
- The Tuscaloosa News’ Aaron Suttles says the win over Kent State was Alabama’s cleanest game of the season.
- Terrin Waack has a breakdown of Alabama’s passing attack, which took a small step forward.
- Tommy Deas has a running game breakdown, including injury updates.
- And the imitable Cecil Hurt has an excellent column on the end of an era at LSU.
- SEC Country’s Marq Burnett gave Alabama straight As.
- BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter looks at Alabama’s statistical rankings.
- AL.com’s Ranier Sabin with four surprises from Alabama’s win.
- And, if you’re really a sadist, relive the Rammer Jammer against Kent State.
- Former QB Blake Sims was released by the Falcons.
- RB Eddie Lacy ran for 103 yards for the Packers on Sunday, and also did this:
Eddie Lacy just became Beast Mode. pic.twitter.com/17kVWtYeP5
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 25, 2016
- Mark Barron had 9 tackles and an interception for Los Angeles on Sunday
Trumaine Johnson and Mark Barron, breathing a bit of life into the Rams. Barron's first INT with his current team comes against his old one. pic.twitter.com/iDYdTnxf2x
— Jack Wang (@thejackwang) September 25, 2016
- Amari Cooper caught 4 passes for 62 yards in his Oakland Raiders’ win over Derrick Henry’s Titans. Henry finished with 45 yards on 10 carries.
- Former Alabama golfer Justin Thomas finished T6 at the PGA Tour Championship after being penalized one stroke on Day 2. A few hours later, he was left off the Ryder Cup team.
Around the Capstone
- Alabama soccer beat No. 14 Texas A&M on Sunday night in overtime. It’s a huge result for coach Wes Hart and the growing Crimson Tide.
Check out some highlights from tonight's win over No. 14 Texas A&M! pic.twitter.com/ISRuQHFt0r
— Alabama Soccer (@AlabamaSoccer) September 26, 2016
- The men’s tennis team finished 12-16 at its home Four-in-the-Fall tournament.
- Volleyball beat No. 19 Texas A&M at home but fell to No. 6 Florida in straight sets.
- Women’s golf finished second at the Schooner Fall Classic.
- Women’s tennis played in what appears to be an exceedingly complicated Rice Invitational.
Play of the week: Mack Wilson’s TD catch
— InsideBamaRecruiting (@RTRnews) September 24, 2016
So maybe Wilson’s touchdown wasn’t necessarily intentional, but that doesn’t make it any less remarkable. In a game full of extraordinary plays by Alabama on all sides of the ball, Wilson’s catch was a lovely combination of athleticism and, it turns out, fun.
Though not necessarily tied directly to Alabama, the sports world endured two tragic losses Sunday. The first, Jose Fernandez, was made all the worse by the man’s youth and love of life. Fernandez was a Cuban defector who saved his mother from drowning during the escape, their fourth attempt. He played baseball with all the verve and enthusiasm of someone just happy to be playing a kids game for a living. If you have some time today, I encourage you to revisit this Grantland profile of Fernandez, written during his rookie season. We can all learn from the way Fernandez lived his life.
The second, though tragic, was not unexpected. Arnold Palmer had been in failing health for some time, and his occasional golf appearances inspired little confidence, if no little awe. Growing up, Palmer was a name I heard placed in a pantheon of sports stars from Ken Stabler to Hank Aaron. I’ve spent many an hour watching his footage, and as a terrible golfer who grew up surrounded by and extremely interested in the game, Palmer will be missed.
He was, and remains, nothing short of a legend.
No caption needed. pic.twitter.com/n4FLrC3MbU
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) September 26, 2016