All Things CW: College Football Surpasses the Equivalent of DEFCON 3, and Who was Alabama's Best Offensive Lineman in 2011?
Those who lived through the Cold War, or at least saw the movie War Games, are already familiar with the term DEFCON.
No, not Def Con, one of the world's largest and most notable hacker conventions, held annually in Las Vegas. This is in regards to defense readiness condition, the alert state used by the United States Armed Forces. You know, the think they talk about in Watchmen.
DEFCON 5 means things are calm. Level 1 means the nuclear missiles are flying. Each step up is a bad thing.
If college football had an equivalent in regards to the coronavirus, we'll call it Footcon for our purposes, we're getting awfully close kickoff armageddon. The Big Ten and Pac-12 took the sport up another level when earlier this month they announced going to a conference-only season.
While some considered the moves pre-emptive, the general feeling is that the sport will eventually follow suit, but the Southeastern Conference won't do so until it absolutely must.
On Thursday, everyone got yet a little closer when the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Pac-12 is finalizing a 10-game conference-only football schedule with a mid-September start and multiple dates for the championship game. Per Jon Wilner (a top-notch sports journalist), the league will make an official announcement next week, and not begin fall practice until mid-August.
This is Footcon level 3-plus, with the season moving to the spring the next step because there's nothing left to fall back upon.
Footcom 1 is the worst-case scenario, no season at all. But unlike the military gauge there's not much risk of quickly going from stage 2 to 1, as often portrayed in the movies.
Ironically, the briefcase that always accompanies the President of the United States so he could authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, is called "The Football."
Who was the best offensive lineman Trent Richardson played behind at Alabama? No disrespect to anyone else on the stellar 2011 team, when the running back was the first player in Crimson Tide history to win the Doak Walker Award, he says it was guard Chance Warmack.
On Thursday, Richardson claimed Warmack was by far "the most physical" of the starting five, which is really saying something as the line also had massive right tackle D.J. Fluker, guard Anthony Steen and William Vlachos, who was a very physical center.
The comment was made on the Jay Barker Show. Richardson also called Outland Trophy winner Barrett Jones the "LeBron" of that line because of his ability to do everything. The next season, Jones went from left tackle to center, where he won the Rimington Award, in part to open up a spot for Cyrus Kouandjio.
One of the follow-up questions to Richardson was if he knew what happened when Jones pushed quarterback AJ McCarron in frustration during the 2012 title game against Notre Dame.
Even though the Crimson Tide was up 42-14 with roughly seven remaining, Richardson, who was watching on the Alabama sideline, said he did. It was simply because the quarterback got in his face when Jones couldn't hear the call.
"I'd never seen Barrett mad," Richardson said.
Today's cover story on Sports Illustrated is course about Opening Day in Major League Baseball.
To open the 2020 season the reigning champion Washington Nationals will face the New York Yankees. The season was to begin on March 26th, but the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak caused the longest delay for a baseball season in history.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci has the story and shares his thoughts and feelings about MLB's return. It's been 266 days since the Nationals won it all and Verducci writes never have we needed baseball more.
Meanwhile, according to BaseballReference.com there have been 256 Major League players who attended Alabama (the key word there is attended. Not all played for the Crimson Tide). Here are the names to keep an eye on during this abbreviated season:
- Alex Avila, Minnesota Twins
- Matt Foster, Chicago White Sox
- Taylor Guilbeau, Seattle Mariners
- Tommy Hunter, Philadelphia Phillies
- Wade LeBlanc, Baltimore Orioles
- Adam Morgan, Philadelphia Phillies
- Jimmy Nelson, Los Angeles Dodgers
- David Robertson, Philadelphia Phillies
- Spencer Turnbull, Detroit Tigers
Nelson (back) is out for the year and Robertson is coming off Tommy John surgery. Minus Avila, they're all pitchers.
Wednesday afternoon, lawmakers predictably teed up on the NCAA when president Mark Emmert testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee.
The reason why it's predictable is because the NCAA requested help from Congress on an NIL bill in December, seeking a federal uniform standard that will preempt differing state NIL laws.
You know the saying about opening a can of worms? This was nothing short of an invitation for Congress to get directly involved in everything the NCAA does. When you have every state involved, and hundreds of politicians trying to make headlines, they're going to do everything to try and do exactly that.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) led the way this time by scolding Emmert and the NCAA for not enforcing proper health-and-safety standards and for not seeing that athletes are graduating. His blasting away was particularly noteworthy because he used to be a tight end at Stanford.
“The time has come for substantive reforms,” Booker said. “The NCAA has failed generations of young men and women even when it comes to the most basic responsibility: keeping the athletes under their charge safe and healthy.”
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) drew some laughs when he said “We don’t want a bidding war for recruits” and “Very few coaches get paid a lot of money that lose over time.”
But three things Emmert said foreshadowed what might be next:
1) He supports what’s called a “scholarship for life,” where athletes may later return to get their degrees.
2) Emmert denounced COVID-19 waivers that some schools are requiring athletes to sign before they return to campus, calling them “inappropriate.”
3) He supports allowing athletes to transfer once without losing a year of eligibility.
Check out Ross Dellenger's coverage: 'It's Time for Substantive Reform': Senators Demand More From Mark Emmert, NCAA in Hearing.
SI Swimsuit Issue
So you might be wondering why there's a video of a swimsuit model attached to this story, and what it might have to do with Alabama athletics.
Pretty much nothing. We're part of the Sports Illustrated family, and the swimsuit issue continues to be a successful part of the SI brand.
SI Swimsuit 2020 is here and over the next few days, we're going to introduce you to the latest edition's rookies. If it's not your thing we totally understand.
Otherwise, her name is Hyunjoo Hwang, and she's from Korea. We don't know if she has a favorite college football team, but who's to say it isn't the Crimson Tide?
Did you notice?
• How the Dodgers landed Mookie Betts for 13 years.
• Daniel Bard’s road back to the majors started with him Googling “how to get rid of the yips” seven years ago.
• 20 reasons to be excited for the NBA’s restart.
• The Seattle NHL team unveiled its new logo and name, Kraken.
The lighter side
• Put me down as not liking the larger-than-life video of fans in the background of NBA games, as they distract too much from the play on the court. But there is this plus from the league's setup:
• This is nuts: Footage of a soccer player getting struck by lighting (he’s fine).
All Things CW by Christopher Walsh regularly appears on BamaCentral.