Catch 5's picture

Catch 5


Member since 25 October 2011 | Blog

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I'm a Bama fan looking to expand my knowledge and experience beyond the South. I mostly read the articles but will occasionally spout off to defend SEC country or question the perveived evils of oversigning.


  • SPORTS MOMENT: 1992 Sugar Bowl, when Langham stripped the ball. Awesome.
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Current: Barrett Jones All time: Mark Ingram
  • NFL TEAM: Atlanta, I guess. No real affiliation
  • NHL TEAM: Philly, but I dint know why.
  • MLB TEAM: Braves
  • SOCCER TEAM: Manchester United

Recent Activity

Comment 9 hours ago

 The sort of students that might be attracted to attend an sec school, or discount a B1G school based on relative football prowess is the type I doubt many B1G Presidents are losing sleep over.

You may want to reign that in a little.  Since Saban's hiring in 2007, Bama has seen their undergraduate program increase by 33% - and seen the academic qualities of those students rise.  A large percent of these new students are coming from out of state as well.  From Forbes:

Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students ... But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did.


For the admissions office, more applications mean more selectivity. Six years ago, 64% of students applying to the University of Alabama were accepted. By 2012, the acceptance rate had dropped to 53%. About one in four students from the 2012 freshman class carried a 4.0 high school GPA. The class also includes 241 National Merit Scholars, more than any other public university in the U.S.

BTW, the 241 scholars also puts Bama at 4th of all schools - behind only Harvard, U of Chicago, and Southern California.

Comment 9 hours ago


Well, 100+ is pretty strong indeed:  I would guess that it is mostly, football scholarships.  When I was in college, I played on the soccer team my first year (I wasn't on scholarship).  Scholarships were few and far between - and the ones that were available were usually only partial as there wasn't a lot of money for the sport.  I imagine that is the case for many of the smaller sports.  Football has deep pockets (especially at OSU) so full, 4-year scholarships isn't a problem for football players where it may be less common elsewhere.

Comment 9 hours ago

That's a very interesting article.  It does support that Saban is issuing 4-year scholarships, but apparently not to everyone.  While I tend to agree with him that it really doesn't make a difference in the way it effects the players, I for one would like to see everyone on one.

It is also interesting to note the number of "scholarships not renewed".  Isn't that what this is all about anyway - players having their scholarships taken away?  Seems like everyone on this list (OSU included) is pretty close to 10%, with a couple notable teams that are lower (Auburn, Michigan State, Missouri stood out to me).  I would really like to see just the football numbers - to see if they agree with what I came up with on my own:  football seems to have a higher rate - about 30%.

Comment 14 Sep 2014
It's not? For a team that was as bad as them last year, a win over the pirates and now Texas Tech is pretty good. It does give Bert a transitive win over the Buckeyes you know. /ducks /don'thitme Edit: I knew something didn't sound right there. It is South Carolina that beat ECU, not Arkansas. You may sleep soundly now as the previous statement about Bert is obviously in error. My apologies for any discomfort that may have brought.
Comment 14 Sep 2014
It's not really about who they beat this week as much as the defining win/loss of the season. Va Tech losing to ECU is plenty good reason to hurtOSU at this point - and Boise State continuing to win helps Ole Miss (though 10 is a bit high in my opinion)
Comment 12 Sep 2014

Numbers don't lie, and there's a major difference between signing 3 players more than you know you have schollies for, and signing a dozen more than you have room for. 

I completely agree.  But you don't know how many he has room for.  Neither does Stewart Mandel or Andy Staples, or Hannah Karp (or me).  When you say he signs 12 more than he has room for in February, you ignore that players like Dee Hart have already told him that they will be transferring after the academic year.  Or that players like Wilson Love and Harrison Jones will not be returning after this year since they are graduating (really? How can such players that never contributed stay for 4 years and graduate?  How aren't they cut loose long before?)  and yes, he sometimes knows of a medical hardship beforehand (though the last ones I'm aware of him issuing (still waiting on that list of 12 since 2010 btw) actually caused them to be under the 85 limit.

It's funny how Alabama's attrition seems to be announced in June and August.  You and the oversigning moralists instantly assume it is because that is when Saban is cutting players.  Ok, kinda makes sense - but isn't that also when the academic year (June) and summer classes (August) end?  Wouldn't it make sense that if a player is going to transfer to do so after the year is over?  If a player is struggling academically, wouldn't you give him through the summer to rectify things?  Alternatively, teams in the B10 seem to announce a lot of transfers and medicals in December and January - just in time to have their numbers right before NSD.  Is that not suspiscious to you?  If Saban cuts players in the summer because he oversigned, what's to stop Meyer from cutting them in December to keep him from oversigning?  Same effect, same causation different dates on the announcement.

You like numbers you say?  This is why I started tracking attrition.  If Saban is cutting players like they say, he would have to suffer a higher attrition rate - but he doesn't.  In fact, he is a little below the average attrition rate for both the SEC and B10 conferences.  That tells me that either Saban isn't cutting players like you say - or pretty much all coaches everywhere are and it's just a matter of when the announcement is made.  As you say, numbers don't lie.

Comment 12 Sep 2014

Or would you rather focus on what I suggested, which is any accusations against Meyer, in his time at OSU, dealing with his handling of scholarship numbers? 

Perhaps you didn't read the articles - or just overlooked this because it was before he was at OSU (should that really matter?):

Few do [recruiting] better than Meyer. Few are as ruthless when it comes to recruiting—and when it comes to making room for recruits. Thomas was a four-star recruit from Zephyrhills, Fla., and had a series of knee injuries hinder his development.

After the 2008 season, Thomas says he was told he had to “move on” because he wasn’t in the team’s plans for 2009.

“I told (Meyer) I was on track to graduate, I wasn’t a problem and I did everything I was supposed to do—I just had a knee injury,” Thomas said. “I told them I wasn’t leaving, and if they tried to force me to leave, I was going to tell everyone everything."

The next day, Thomas says he was given a medical hardship letter by position coach Chuck Heater stating Thomas had an injury that would prohibit him from playing football. The medical hardship scholarship doesn’t count against the NCAA limit of 85, and allows the affected player to stay on academic scholarship.

It also made room for another recruit. Meyer denied this tactic of roster management.

Now, you claim your accusations are based on ACTUAL players with ACTUAL quotes about being "pressured" (btw, if a kid is hurt to the point he can no longer compete, why wouldn't you encourage him to do this?) to take medicals.  Provide such.  Name one kid who hadn't been injured and was forced on a medical.  Quote ONE player who says anything as bad as the quote above from Thomas.  If I can find one guy angry with Meyer who provided that quote, is it so hard to imagine that there may be one guy with a similar grievance toward Saban?  That's what the WSJ article is:  one guy who felt bitter.  Everything else in that article with respect to numbers and recruiting could be said about Meyer over his first couple of years at OSU.  Maybe it has something to do with differing methods between the previous coaches?  I have never seen an actual list of these famous 12 medicals that Saban issued over his first 4 years (and I'm pretty confident you'll never provide a list of 12 since that time as you claim) but I know a couple of them had been hurt for a while (Tyrone Prothro is one of these.  He broke his leg in a game against Florida in Oct of 2005 and walks with a limp to this day.  He wasn't put on medical until 2007 when Saban took over.  He is one of those 12 "encouraged" to take a medical)

Comment 11 Sep 2014

I find it ironic that I'm arguing with a Buckeye fan and he's using the media as a source for his outrage - as if they wouldn't have an agenda of their own and would never spin their articles to direct the reader to the conclusions they want.  I'm sure that only happens when they write about Meyer.

You want negative articles on Meyer?  Really? OK, but only because you asked:  Here's one, and another, another, and another.  There is nothing new here - a bunch of stuff you've probably already read and dismissed as media bias against a coach they feel did them wrong somehow.  Same with the links you offered on Saban.  Hold them up to the light and ask if they can actually show that their accusations are true and you realize most of it is simply opinion offered as fact.  It is your job to separate the two.

Comment 09 Sep 2014
Woody, you really need to get better at reading comprehension before you attack me or my arguments. Neither of those articles you linked back up your argument that Bama has used so many medicals since 2011. I challenge you to name me these 12 mystery players. Yes, Saban used it 12 times in his first 4 years - similar to the 8 times Meyer has used it in his first 2-1/2. BTW, while there have been a couple players agree to greyshirt when they signed, most of them (like Bozeman) end up enrolling earlier - and none of the players have said they were forced out. I'll be waiting on your list of players as I'm sure you aren't full of B.S.
Comment 09 Sep 2014

On signing day for B1G schools you may only accept as many LOIs as you can show you have room for. Graduate 12, lose 3 to injury, 2 guys are transferring, for example means only 17 LOIs. You can apply for an additional 3 signees under certain circumstances.

This is exactly correct - but if you were at 75 scholarships due to scholarship restrictions, and have 20 graduates - you now have room for 35 signees under the 85 cap. 

~~Some new scholarships are back datable to the previous year dependent on some stuff I don't quite know well enough to ramble on about.~~

In my fictional scenario, a team has 35 open places.  They are restricted to only 25 signees per year (class) so that leaves 10 open spots on the roster.  If the previous year's class was less than 25 (let's assume it was 17) then they can fill that year's class with players that enroll before that year is up.  This means my team can sign 7 players in 2015 that count towards the 2014 class if they enroll in the 2014-1015 academic year (this is usually in January).  I can then sign 25 new players in February to the 2015 class to effectively bring in 32 new players.  Some call this oversigning, but my team would actually still be under the 85 limit.

 ~~The SEC makes room for these players over the 85/25 limit by let's say "creative use" of medical scholarships (Bama is a leader in medical shollys,) grayshirting, and so on i.e. cutting players.

Well, first off OSU has used medical schollys a whole lot more than Bama has lately.  I think the count is up to 8 now since Urban took over the program.  I think Bama has used it 2 or 3 times in that same frame.  As for all the other attrition:  Bama has a lower attrition percentage than the B10 average over the last 4 years: lower than Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia and Florida.  This means that if you had enrolled at Bama 4 years ago, you have a better chance of still being on the team (or having graduated if JuCo or been drafted) at Bama than at other schools I listed.  Oyster calls it fuzzy math.  I call it an honest question:  If Bama is cutting all these players (enough for a whole extra recruiting class) on top of its normal attrition, why aren't they way over everyone else here?

Comment 09 Sep 2014

It really depends on how many they signed last year.  As I understand it, the B10 doesn't have a limit on yearly signings like the SEC (which is one reason I prefer the B10 rule to the SEC rule).  They can sign 25 with this year's class and can sign more depending on how many spots are open from last year's class and how many kids can enroll early.  For example:  PSU signed 25 in 2014.  Let's assume they were able to back-count 8 players (as the 2013 class was only 17) - then the actual class size for 2014 was 17, leaving 8 spots available to this year (providing these 8 players enroll early).  That means that PSU would be able to sign as many as 33 with this coming class (assuming the sanctions had them down in scholarship count enough to have room for that many).

Comment 09 Sep 2014

Because failing or refusing to acknowledge the same actions by yourself (or your team) that you so quickly condemn from others is the height of hypocrisy.  And you just described it perfectly with your comment.  Now, I don't say that to demean your character personally - you come across to me as a good guy and I would never want to do that.  I say that as an accusation of our blind fandom that we all are probably guilty of.  The Penn State crowd is another example to a higher degree.

Comment 09 Sep 2014
Ha. I can't believe you actually said that. I don't doubt that you believe it, just can't believe you'd actually print it.
Comment 03 Sep 2014

Why is that?  Since preseason polls are based on assumptions and previous year's results with different teams, they should change a LOT over the first 4-6 weeks since that is when real data is becoming available.  Voters who aren't willing to change the rankings drastically this early is what causes the problems most people have with the polls.

Comment 03 Sep 2014

Except that it wasn't a 1 game suspension.  Gus only said that Marshal wouldn't start the game.  It was pretty much universally accepted that he would play at some point - most figured it would be the second half.  And it wasn't their QB that was struggling - the starter played very well in fact - it was their run defense, which was horrendous.  Once Arkansas got away from the run, the game was over.

Comment 02 Sep 2014
Do you have a link for that? I live in the state and the only thing I've heard all summer from the local media was as I said: suspension, but not telling for how long. I'd love to pile on with you, but I need some verification as all the articles I've come across said only that he would not start. Example:
Comment 02 Sep 2014

Bama's quarterbacks isn't their problem.  The guy went 24/33 for 250yds and one interception.  That's with a 50-yd drop from a wide open Christion Jones that should have resulted in a TD.  Now, I'll agree that the stats look a little better than he did, but they do support my point that the QB isn't the problem.  Andy Vance alluded to it below somewhere:  the defense looked pedestrian.  If the linebackers and secondary don't play better (including getting in the right formation) then there are 2 losses on that schedule at least.  My guess is that those issues get worked out (at least markedly improved) by the Florida game. 

On the bright side (for us Gumps, anyway), it looks like we found a kicker!  4-4 with 3 being well over 40yds.  Color me satisfied for now.

Oh, and I need to add that I'll agree with most of you:  Bama should have dropped a few notches, I'd have no problem with that.  Tamu and Georgia look like the teams to beat right now.

Comment 28 Aug 2014

Alabama didn't prove that it was one of the 2 best teams that season.

It may have been arguable before the BCSNG, but with hindsight I don't see how you can say that.  Had you watched that game where no touchdowns were made (is that a requirement to win?) you fail to mention that both defenses were the tops in the country.  I saw something the other day that pointed out that 16 of the starting 22 defenders (8 from each team) from that game have been drafted in the NFL (with at least 2 others making active rosters through FA).  That doesn't count the reserves who have also been drafted (another 11 players). I get it that offense gets the attention these days and if teams aren't lighting up the scoreboards to the tune of 50+ points a game it is considered a snoozer, but that was one of the best games I've ever seen - but then again I appreciate good defense.  And yes, I'm biased, but Bama outplayed LSU in the loss.  Everyone is lamenting over Bama's lack of a quarterback this year.  You're barking up the wrong tree - they've won the national championship the last two times they started a new quarterback - it's the kicker.  Bama lost that game to LSU because they missed a bunch of field goals.  Same with the Iron Bowl last year (and I'm not talking about the kick-6).  If we make just one of those field goals (there were multiple missed in each game) we win.  Bama also has a new kicker and a true freshman punter.  I'm infinitely more concerned with that than the QB. (sorry, changed subjects on you there)

~~They only beat 3 bowl teams that had winning records.  Oklahoma State beat 7.~~

Nice phrasing.  Of course you don't count Penn State there because they were ineligible - not because they didn't win enough games (which is what you are trying to insinuate with the reference).  Nice trick - and 2 of OSU's bowl eligible teams were Louisiana Lafayette and freaking Tulsa.  So you end up with Bama beating 4 decent teams with winning records .vs Okie State beating 5 decent teams with winning records.  Now throw quality of the losses into the mix and the eventual outcome is very reasonable.  I understand it will always be controversial and Bama got lucky (any team with a loss is lucky to be there) but it is not so cut and dry wrong like you want us to believe.

Comment 28 Aug 2014

It really depends on how you figure SOS.  Which is more difficult, 1) Playing 12 teams ranked between #30 and #60 (none in the top 25) with an average ranking of #45 or 2) Playing 4 teams in the top 25 (two of which are top 10) and 8 teams ranked higher than #40 - with an average ranking of #50?

The answer really depends on the team.  A team like Kentucky, who considers going to a bowl game as a good year would pick #1 as it would be more difficult to become bowl eligible against that schedule.  For a team with higher aspirations like OSU and Bama, it would be #2.  While it is much easier to get to 6 (and even 8) wins with this schedule, going undefeated is much, much harder.  Rankings like the one referenced here, IMO do not really do a good job of comparing SOS for top teams.  You really need to throw out the bad teams and just look at the ones that are ranked or "rankable".  The fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter how bad a team is once you get past a certain point.  A team ranked #50 poses as much a threat to a top-10 team as one ranked #125 and they should be viewed the same way when evaluating these teams' schedules.

That is why SEC teams are "given a pass" in SOS comparison despite the presence of some really awful teams.  Yes, Bama plays Western Carolina but also plays LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and some think Miss St is going to make some noise (I don't) - and they do have one of the weaker SEC schedules.  OSU's schedule, while tougher on average doesn't have as many real threats.  Michigan State is the only real one on the schedule - If I'm being kind I'll begrudging nod at Michigan and Virginia Tech (I'm not buying Penn State, sorry).  As pointed out by many above, this is all subject to change when we actually see some teams play.

Comment 28 Aug 2014

It is a valad argument, but you also cannot deny that it is possible (and that year quite probable) that the best two teams in the country come from the same conference (and division).  If the purpose of the BCS was to have the best two teams play (and it was), then they got it right.

Comment 28 Aug 2014

Oh, I've researched it plenty.  Enough to know that Staples (as good as he is) makes a critical error in that story:  he assumes that the B10's definition of oversigning is the same as his own - and it isn't.  Something I wrote about once upon a time here and here.  When Staples says:

If, for example, Michigan ends a season with 20 open scholarship spots, then Michigan may sign 23 players. No more.

He is not exactly correct.  That is the way most oversigning critics think the rule works, because the B10 says they ban oversigning and that is how they (the critics) define it - so that must be the way it works, right?  Well, from a direct quote from Mr Hawley in a story published a few months after Staples':

 “What our rule does is make (a member) institution really plan ahead to get a solid handle on the number of available scholarships leading into an upcoming academic year [ed. that is the end of July, not January, when Mr. Staples says]. Institutes must evaluate each student athlete’s eligibility; see who’s transferring, going pro or just leaving the program, and who’s financial aid will not be renewed.

“Once they go through that process and determine the slots they have available, they can offer three over.”

That means that our mythical Michigan team could easily sign 25 players if Hoke knows of or projects a few transfers and/or guys that will leave the team with eligibility remaining after graduating - without even needing the exception of 3 overs.  Hawley even says they can account for players whose aid will not be renewed, so even if Saban is the scholarship stealing monster many portray him as he could operate under the B10 rule.  More likely, once you account for the other options discussed, Saban really only oversigns by 2-3 spots - spots he accounts for by having a few players agree to greyshirt (before NSD) if needed.  It is these greyshirts that the B10 rule restricts to 3.  It is actually a pretty good rule - much better than the SEC's rule which doesn't do anything good.