The All Things CW notes column by Christopher Walsh will appear in five parts this week, one each day as the Alabama Crimson Tide prepares to host Auburn for the Iron Bowl.
This is ...
It's Thanksgiving Eve, and like with the general news it's tough reading many of the sports headlines and stories being reported by major media outlets.
• Headline from Sports Illustrated: Enjoy the Last Michigan-Ohio State Clash That Could Actually Mean Something
"The expansion of the College Football Playoff will come with a cost—diminishing the drama and meaning of storied rivalries that have helped make the sport great."
There's no way to deny that it's true. Factor in CFP expansion, conference re-alignment and college football's rivalries sort of seem to be like an endangered species that not enough people are concerned about.
• Speaking of which, here's a tweet from Dennis Dodd of CBSSports: “It was strongly suggested to me that if UCLA is forced to stay Pac-12, common sense move is Big Ten HAS to fulfill that media rights contract. It would go get the likes of Oregon & Washington (maybe more) & effectively collapse the Pac.”
• Last week Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops signed that contract extension which will run through the 2030 season, with an $8.6 million salary starting in February. This week he said of NIL: “It is absolutely insane what’s going on. Transfers. Your own team. You know how many people are going after our young players? We have as good of freshmen as I’ve ever had. And it’s like a free-for-all… It’s mass chaos.”
• Final Four sites for 2027-30 were announced, and included Las Vegas for the first time. The others were Detroit, Indianapolis and North Texas.
• Similar to a politician claiming election fraud without proof just because he or she didn't like the results, ESPN commentator Robert Griffith III accused the College Football Playoff selection committee of SEC bias after 9-2 LSU was ahead of 10-1 USC, and 9-2 Alabama was ranked ahead of 10-1 Clemson in the latest rankings.
Dear Robert. The conferences aren't even. Sincerely, everyone else.
BTW, there are only two people on the 13-person selection committee with any kind of SEC tie, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart, and former coach R.C. Slocum, who was at Texas A&M before it joined the conference. Pus the SEC has won 12 of the last 16 national titles. It's earned the reputation.
• Associate Professor of Economics Michael Stern was awarded just shy of $650K in damages from an Alabama jury last week after the group found that Stern, a former dean and chair of his department at Auburn, had been illegally punished for blowing the whistle on the athletics program intervening in academic matters as they related to football student-athletes.
All anyone seems to care about Auburn is if Lane Kiffin is making the jump from Ole Miss.
As a footnote to that, Nick Saban mentioned during his press conference Monday that Auburn interim coach Cadillac Williams has given the team some juice as the Tigers are coming off back-to-back wins against Texas A&M and Western Kentucky.
But fans can't help but notice that Juice is also the name of Kiffin's dog.
• At Michigan State, charges have been filed against seven football players for their involvement in the tunnel melee against Michigan players on Oct. 29. Khary Crump was charged with felonious assault, Jacoby Windon with assault and battery, and five others with aggravated assault.
• Late Tuesday, a California jury cleared the NCAA of liability in a $53 million wrongful death suit brought by the family of a former University of Southern California linebacker posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy." However, there are many more cases out there.
• New Mexico State Police issued a statement about the fatal shooting that resulted in basketball player Mike Peake getting shot and the death of another student, 19-year-old Brandon Travis, Friday night.
“Through investigation, agents later learned that Travis had conspired with a 17-year-old female and two of Travis's male friends, all UNM students, to lure the 21-year-old victim to UNM campus and assault him.”
The 17-year-old female has been apprehended and charged with aggravated battery and conspiracy. Peake, who sustained a gunshot wound, is said to be stable.
Is it just me or does it seems like the soul of college athletics is vanishing before our very eyes?
They definitely feel different.
It's something to consider as we head into both Thanksgiving and what's left of the 2022-23 season.
However, there was this good piece of news out the horrible tragedy in Virginia, where three football players — wide receivers Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis, Jr. and linebacker D'Sean Perry — were killed by a gunman roughly 10 days ago.
Running back Mike Hollins Jr., who was shot in the back, was discharged from the hospital.
He plans to return to football following his recovery.
At least we know from former Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr., who was shot twice during a failed robbery in August, that such a comeback is possible.
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