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Jumbo Package: Everything Under the Sun Edition

All the sports. All of them.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We often say that the game has changed, but it’s not just eyeball tests — 2018 was officially the best passing year on record:

If it seems like the passing game gets harder to defend with each passing season (get it?), that’s because it does.

The 2018 season was officially the most efficient passing season on record in college football. According to NCAA data published by CBS Sports, the average passing play across FBS in 2018 went for 7.397 yards, a new record that narrowly edges out the previous record of 7.391, set all the way back in 2016.

FBS quarterbacks completed 59.887 percent of their passes, the third best rate in history. On the whole, teams scored 3.76 touchdowns and 29.56 points per game, also the third most in college football history.

So, Air ‘Bama is here to stay for the foreseeable future. And, you would expect that to be the case at least until rules are tweaked to bring some parity back to defenses.

Speaking of the guys who chuck it, the SEC is returning a mondo amount of QB starters next season — 8 in all, including three of the top four contenders in the west. BOL begins a two-part inquiry into the signal callers (and depth) for 2019:

Eight SEC teams return their No. 1 quarterback this season, three in the West — Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M.

In this first of two parts we’ll look at the SEC Western Division, beginning naturally enough with Alabama.

Reuben Foster, though not playing a snap for the ‘Skins this season, and still being on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, is not expected to face additional suspension by the Shield:

Foster has never played for Washington, joining the team as a waiver-wire claim in November after being released by the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ll just say we did our homework on what we had to do on the player himself,” Allen said, “and we know a lot of people who know him, and we’ll see. He still has a ways to go in order to get on the football field, but right now he’s doing everything correctly.”

Pro Tide:

Three Alabama alumni are playing in the Pro Bowl on Sunday. Two more made the roster for the annual NFL all-star game, but they withdrew with injuries.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper, Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson and Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker C.J. Mosley are at the Pro Bowl. New York Giants safety Landon Collins and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones also are Pro Bowlers for the 2018 season, but they aren’t at the game

Interesting nugget from that story: Julio Jones now trails only John Hannah and Derrick Thomas for most ‘Bama pro bowl bids. That is not bad company at all, sir.

Prior to Hoop’s 21-point defenestration of Ole Miss on Tuesday night, its three Quadrant Three losses were looming large. Despite having six wins over the Top 100, bad losses to flagging teams (Northeastern, A&M), saw ‘Bama on the outside looking in.

The smacking around of the Rebels didn’t convince many bracketologists yesterday either (Athletic / Paywall), with most forecasting that the Tide has work to do down the stretch. As of this morning, the Tide sits at No. 42 in the NET rankings.

Has the much-maligned NET system, in which advanced metrics form the core of the ratings, improved any?

Not really:

A more recent and specific criticism appears valid. Two weeks ago, LSU coach Will Wade said that Alabama did his team a favor by dribbling out the final possession of the Tigers’ recent nine-point win over the Tide. His reasoning: that while the NET may cap its measurement of victory margin at 10 points, its use of teams’ raw per-possession efficiency margins as a criterium means that even when a game’s outcome is not in doubt, a team has incentive to either run up the score or continue pushing for buckets.

This is exactly the crap that had to be eliminated from the BCS computers almost a decade ago. How the NCAA Selection Committee can then bake-in to its formula a metric that rewards running it up on hapless opponents is frankly beyond me.

Complete critique of the NET here in a great piece by SI.

BTW, if anyone wants a contrast: Alabama’s RPI weighs in at a spiffy No. 29 against the No. 17 SOS...good for an 8-seed in the West

Nick Saban’s annual trek to the Senior Day coincides with sage wisdom passed along to anyone willing to listen:

But for the three players at the Senior Bowl and the handful of others entering the 2019 NFL Draft, Saban has familiar advice.

“I always tell guys, ‘Look, everybody in the NFL’s looking for reasons not to pick you,’” Saban said. “‘You guys worked your butts off to get in the draft or have an opportunity to be drafted, so your character, your football intelligence, the example that you set as a leader in terms of how you play and how you perform, all these things are under scrutiny. So, you don’t want to give anybody any excuse not to pick you.”

Lots of good stuff in here.

For those of you into Rich People Sports, Alabama Men’s Tennis enters the season ranked No. 21 — and a projected 5th place SEC finish. While in the pool, Luke Kalisak was honored by the NCAA as a Top Ten recipient (excellence in all phases — athletics, academics, community service). And, on the diamond, Alabama transfer pitcher, Sarah Cornell, brings two years of starting experience and a big right arm that will be sorely missed with the graduation of Alexis Osorio. Cornell is one of two transfers (and a boatload of freshman) pitchers for the Tide this year. She joins the National JUCO pitcher of the year, Krystal Goodman.

Baseball practice begins Friday. Our man, Rog, will have some previews and practice notes for you soon.

In the run-up to NSD ‘19, Alabama is fighting very hard to keep two of its stud verbal commits in the class, including DE Khris Bogle:

At the All-American Bowl earlier this month, Bogle made a public commitment to Alabama, but it took a gut-wrenching week for him to arrive at that decision with Tennessee and Miami nearly landing his pledge. Since that commitment, Alabama defensive coordinator and Bogle’s position coach Tosh Lupoi has left for the Cleveland Browns.

and, DT Byron Young:

Another Mississippi native with some late January drama, Young is committed to the Tide, but his January is loaded with visits elsewhere. He was at Ole Miss last weekend, he’ll see Mississippi State this weekend and then LSU hosts him on his final visit before National Signing Day.

In addition to those schools, Oregon in particular is making a late push for Bogle with the departure of Lupoi.

More here.

Coach hirings and firings not only impact recruits, but also an existing roster. Following Alabama’s hire of Virginia Tech WRC Holmon Wiggins, four players placed their names in the NCAA transfer portal — and some specifically cited his departure. That’s a good sign for Alabama, I’d guess, that Wiggins engenders so much loyalty.

Ever wanted to see the Shadowy NCAA Transfer Portal? Well, it’s a hot mess. Fortunately, 247 has created a more manageable mirror of it here. Check it out.

Please enjoy this Everything Under the Sun edition of the JP. I’m not sure what else is coming today, if anything. So, feel free to fling poop at one another below.

Let’s take this out with the dulcet tones of the ‘Hoff...