SDS Mailbag: Jimbo Fisher vs. Nick Saban, SEC Baseball Tournament picks, SEC coach cage match
There really isn’t a college football “offseason” anymore.
With the transfer portal, things are crazy from a roster-building standpoint up until May 1 (and even beyond, as the Jordan Addison situation shows). Then, on a seemingly quiet offseason Wednesday night, Nick Saban lit the college football world on fire.
Now, he and Jimbo Fisher are publicly sparring, and it seems likely the SEC office and commissioner Greg Sankey are going to have to weigh in and hand out some punishments.
Fortunately, that leads to plenty of material to discuss in this week’s SDS Mailbag! So, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s questions:
Whose side are you on in the fight between Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban?
They’re both right and they’re both wrong. Saban has even admitted he shouldn’t have called anyone out by name. Shane Beamer basically said the same things about the current NIL landscape on Wednesday night (around the same time when Saban was saying them), but he didn’t mention names, and that kept him out of the headlines.
Saban’s right. We do need some uniform NIL rules. But Fisher’s also right. I believe him when he said Texas A&M didn’t do anything wrong during the 2022 recruiting cycle.
This is just the landscape we live in now. Did Jimbo Fisher pay players personally? Of course not. Did Texas A&M pay players directly for their commitments? It doesn’t sound like it. Were NIL collectives involved? Well, even if they were, that’s perfectly legal now.
Online sports betting has come or is coming to a number of SEC states down south. Residents of states where legalized sports betting exists can bet on things like the Heisman race, SEC football games each week and more... all right from their mobile device.
Saban’s message was more directed toward Alabama boosters, the NCAA and Congress. He just shouldn’t have mentioned Texas A&M specifically.
Now, we’ll see if that relationship between Saban and Fisher is harmed beyond repair.
Who do you have winning the SEC Baseball Tournament? Any chance Tennessee loses?
There’s always a chance! The Vols haven’t been flawless down the stretch, but they’re still the best team in the SEC. They sport an overall record of 46-7 and an SEC mark of 22-5. They’re also the No. 1 team in the country.
And, they have one of the most exciting pitchers in all of baseball (including the majors) in Ben Joyce, who fired a 105.5 mph fastball earlier this year.
All that said, it’ll be very hard to beat the Vols in Hoover this coming week. But, Kentucky took 2 of 3 from the Vols earlier this month. Georgia stole a game this past weekend. All it takes is one hot opposing pitcher or a couple of timely hits for the Vols to lose a game.
I’m still picking Tennessee to win the SEC crown, but I’d say there are 3 teams with a chance of pulling off an upset of the Vols – Arkansas, Texas A&M and Auburn.
Which non-SEC team are you most worried about winning the 2022 College Football Playoff title?
I know Ohio State has been getting a lot of preseason love this year, and the Buckeyes should be in contention for a College Football Playoff spot in 2022. Heck, they have QB CJ Stroud, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB TreVeyon Henderson coming back. That’s a great trio to build around.
But, I’m looking a lot further West for the team I’m most concerned about. That would be the USC Trojans.
Say what you want about coach Lincoln Riley and losing in the CFP semifinals, but he is putting together a strong team out at USC. QB Caleb Williams is a superstar. WR Mario Williams and RB Travis Dye are also big-time portal additions. Oh, and they just added reigning Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison to the mix!
Alabama transfer LB Shane Lee is stepping in to lead the Trojans’ defense, too. So, Riley has a lot of pieces to work with.
The Trojans also have a very manageable schedule. Perhaps their toughest games are at Utah on Oct. 15 and vs. Notre Dame on Nov. 26. We’ll see what happens, but don’t be surprised if the Trojans are in the top 4 by season’s end. Then, in the Playoff, anything can happen!
With the Saban-Fisher drama, and with Coach O no longer being the obvious choice after being fired by LSU, which current SEC head football coach would you pick to win a cage fight?
That’s tough. You’re right, Ed Orgeron was an easy pick the past couple of years. But, now that he’s gone, the field is wide open!
Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea would be my sleeper. I also think Lane Kiffin is an obvious pick as a heel. But, give me Bryan Harsin to be the babyface who wins it all at the end.
Harsin played quarterback at Boise State and doesn’t look like he misses many workouts. I think he can take down Lea in a final showdown. Sam Pittman can hold his own, too, but I think he goes down a bit earlier than the other guys I’ve mentioned.
Now then, how do we make this actually happen at SEC spring meetings in Destin? Or, better yet, at SEC Media Days in Atlanta?
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.