Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Wednesday usually marks a turning point in Alabama’s game preparation. Halfway through the week, with really only one full day of prep left before the game, news usually either comes in a flood or dries up entirely. This week was closer to the latter, with a couple of injuries as the only items of note. SEC Country’s Marq Burnett has the rundown of Alabama’s practice and Nick Saban’s press conference.
I will say I found Saban’s comments — or lack thereof — about the Tony Brown suspension interesting. It’s not often that a player has such a prolonged run-in with the NCAA that’s kept this tightly under wraps. It would be irresponsible to speculate specifically, but the mind does wonder.
- Ryan Anderson is a force on the field, but maybe more importantly, is the ultimate ‘locker room guy,’ from Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News.
- Former Alabama guard Chance Warmack is headed to injured reserve.
- Jonathan Allen made the right decision coming back to Alabama, from AL.com’s Ranier Sabin.
- AL.com’s Joseph Goodman has an interesting column on Saban and the power of protest.
- Expanded replay is actually not a disaster, according to SEC officials.
- An NFL scout loves Reuben Foster, so y’all probably have that in common.
- And it turns out there’s a reason Saban hates turnovers!
Alabama is 32-0 since '07 when plus-2 or better in turnover margin, 6-6 in same span when minus-2 or worse https://t.co/u0nQUzf9K2
— Brian Fremeau (@bcfremeau) September 21, 2016
#BuiltByBama: Bonus edition
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 21, 2016
Julio didn’t have the biggest week last Sunday, but the Falcons are still celebrating the fact that he’s an absolute freak of nature superhuman.
WATCH: Saban’s full presser
At six minutes, this one’s a little more manageable than Monday’s. Video from TideSports.com’s Tyler Waldrep.
The only Drake we recognize
— Crimson Tide FB (@CrimsonTide_FB) September 22, 2016
You may remember our hard-hitting expose on serial front-runner Drake in Monday’s Rammer Jammer. Well, I’m sorry to report that Aubrey has taken his particular brand of fandom to the next level and will probably be obnoxiously referencing Alabama football for the next several months. Most Alabama fans are taking it in stride.
i really can't stand you pic.twitter.com/fT8XuK3if3
— Brian Oliu (@beoliu) September 22, 2016
Around the Capstone
- Alabama soccer hosts No. 15 Arkansas and No. 14 Texas A&M this weekend. The homestand will go a long way to showing how much of this season’s improvements are real, and how far Wes Hart’s program still has to go.
- Technically a club sport, but the Alabama hockey team is ranked this week.
- Basketball season is just around the corner, and Avery Johnson is ready:
— Alabama M Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) September 21, 2016
Thursday night predictions
There’s no SEC game this Thursday night, but Clemson at Georgia Tech is a sneaky good game. The Tigers haven’t won in a decade visiting the Yellow Jackets, and never under Dabo Swinney. Clemson’s the better team, but Georgia Tech’s triple option on a short week of prep can create problems. If Clemson wants to remain the frontrunners for the ACC crown ahead of next week’s Louisville matchup, DeShaun Watson needs to start reclaiming some of the praise that Lamar Jackson has been stealing from him. I’m picking Clemson to win, but Georgia Tech to cover (+9.5).
What’s on tap?
- Alabama soccer hosts Arkansas for its first conference homestand, live on SECNetwork+ at 8 p.m. ET
- Nick Saban’s weekly radio show, “Hey, Coach!” – 7:30 p.m. ET, the Crimson Tide Sports Network
In defense of the cupcake game
Media members and college football intelligentsia loooove to hand-wring about the powerhouses of the college football world essentially taking a week off in the middle of the season to play a school that, supposedly, doesn’t belong on the same field. “But the quality of the competition! Won’t someone think of the integrity of the game!” they cry from their fainting couches, distraught as Michigan scores its 12th touchdown of the day against The Little Sisters of the Poor.
Now, the economic necessity of these games ensures that I don’t really need to make this point, because they’re not going anywhere. As Kevin Trahan notes for VICE, FCS schools depend on these games for their survival. Alabama needs a home game, Kent State needs to be able to afford to buy Gatorade. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.
The chief complaint people have is that it’s somehow a waste of time for the fans, who are forced (I’m not sure by whom) to endure a weekend of football in which every national title contender is not on UPSET ALERT. Now, leaving aside the fact that there are an approximated 77,349,876 college football games on every Saturday, this line of reasoning is really more about writers complaining about having to watch a bad football game. If we remember that there are fans who don’t have 75-inch flat screen TVs in their RVs and who can afford to road trip to every game, we realize that actually, these games are #good.
Alabama’s fans are notoriously rabid. The alumni of this university like to point to some dubiously calculated number indicating that most self-proclaimed “fans” never darkened the door of a classroom at The University, and so our degrees are suitably unsullied by their antics. And this is probably true! Alabama is the biggest show in a state of 5 million people. The closest professional teams are in Atlanta or New Orleans or Tennessee, depending on where you are in the state, so the Crimson Tide is the closest thing most people have. And as has been well-noted, just about every person in this state is a football fan, whether crimson and white or orange and blue.
Consider, then, that the median income for this population is $43,000. Consider, also, that 15 percent of this state lives below the poverty line. Consider, as well, that football is just about the only thing that Alabamians can point to that we do better and more fervently than anyone else. It’s been this state’s pride and joy — really, our sole pride and joy — for a century.
The cheapest Kent State ticket on the secondary market is going for roughly $30 right now. A hard-working Alabama fan might be able to afford to actually take their family to game, to show their kids what it is they holler about in front of the TV on Saturday afternoons live and in-person. They’ll be able to share the moments that many kids in this state talk about sharing for the rest of their lives.
The cheapest Kentucky tickets are nearly three times as expensive. Next week, some families just won’t be able to afford that.
So, when the screeds denouncing SEC-on-MAC violence resurface, try to remember that some son or daughter is utterly awed by the three-quarter full stadium at 11 a.m, seeing their state play against a team that never stood a chance.