Your usual quick dump of links and such before the weekend gets underway:
— Auburn has announced that their three representatives at SEC Media Days will be Lee Ziemba, Josh Bynes, and Aairon Savage. This is deligthful news for two reasons, one much, much more delightful than the other:
1. Surely, surely, they wouldn’t be sending Savage to the podium if he wasn’t going to be able to say “I’m 100 percent healthy and ready for my hitting to live up to my last name again.” Am I wrong in thinking this is the clearest sign yet he’s actually going to be able to make a go of this thing? It’s going ot be one hell of a story if–when?–he does.
2. If they’re naming players for SEC Media Days, that means Media Days aren’t far away, and once we hit Media Days, that means fall camp’s not far away, and once fall camp starts, it’s all gravy from there. I’ve enjoyed the Winter Olympics, and NBA playoffs, and really enjoyed the World Cup … but I am also beyond ready for some college football.
— At that same link: Dontae Ayock has gone home to Tampa and will walk-on at USF in the hopes of earning a scholarship. The last RB to depart on questionable terms from an Alabama school and transfer to the Bulls–the Tide’s Mike Ford–wound up the starter down there, so there’s some positive precedent for Aycock. Best of luck to him.
— I haven’t done much playing around here just yet but it looks like it could be fun. HT to commenter Rick.
— ESPN’s Jamie Newberg provides an overview of Auburn’s current recruiting efforts not all that dissimilar (though obviously a lot less roster-specific) than the one done here at WBE this week. A lot of the names he mentions are extreme longshots for Auburn, but for the recruiting fans out there, it’s well worth looking over his comprehensive Auburn watch-list anyway. Also, hearing him say the following …
With eight commitments in the fold, Auburn currently finds itself with a top-10 class (No. 9 in the ESPN team rankings) but has a long way to go. With 17 or so more commitments ahead, expect the Tigers to land one of the top classes in the SEC. That means they will have one of the better classes in the nation.
… is kind of nice after the recent sky-is-falling talk.
— RBR’s OTS is realistic about the difficulties for the Tide in claiming a second straight national title, but what’s really noteworthy about the post is this nugget of wisdom as regards preseason prognostication:
[E]ach season is the effective dawn of a new day. Some people like to believe in the notion that you can take the previous season as a baseline and then add or subtract from it based on the offseason attrition of the teams in question, but in reality things are far more complicated than that simplistic analysis ever envisions. Simply put, each year is different. The teams are different, the players are different, the location of the games is different, the coaches are often different, and the strategies employed by the teams often change as well.
I enjoy reading season previews as much as the next guy, but there’s also little doubt that the repeated X starters – Y graduates = Z success formula gets awfully tiresome, and doesn’t account for the kinds of quantum leaps taken by teams like Auburn 1983 or Alabama 2008, nor the kind of endless wheel-spinning we’ve seen from Notre Dame in the Weis years or Tennessee at the end of the Fulmer reign. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect Auburn to improve by a game or two this season. But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility they don’t improve at all or get worse. It’s quite possible they explode for 11 or 12 wins. The equations just aren’t that easy.
— Anyone in Atlanta who wants to break into sports radio, now’s your chance.
— All I’ll say about the LeBron thing is that after reading this excellent little piece by Will Leitch, I’ve never been happier that the teams I really care about–Auburn University’s, mid-major college hoops squads, the U.S. Men’s National Team–are all outside the American professional sports mainstream. Leitch shouldn’t feel stupid for being a sports fan; he should feel stupid for being a pro sports fan.
–A couple of worthwhile World Cup links for those of you so inclined: the ESPN Ombudsman explains the decision to allow the sound of the vuvuzelas over the broadcast (and reveals, unsurprisingly, that the excellent British broadcasters ESPN’s brought in this time around are being recognized by viewers for the excellence they’ve brought), and the Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson explains why Germany went from so good to so feeble in the space of one round.
And lastly, an update on the TWER World Cup pool: It’s down to yours truly and frequent commenter Joe Blow. I’ve got Spain in the final (even though I’ll be heartily rooting on the Dutch, somewhat ironically) and he’s got the Netherlands. A Dutch victory would technically result in a tie between Joe and fellow WBE comment-thread denizen J. Cargile, but I think Joe wins the tiebreak. Hup Holland! Or, where the pool is concerned, go Spain, or something. It’s almost a win-win.
Have a great weekend, folks.