Crimson Tide Monday morning briefing

Are rival fans using the Internet to attack Alabama?
Are Auburn and Tennessee fans using blogs and Internet message boards to attack the Alabama Crimson Tide? Yes. You can read a very good post at Eight In The Box about this subject. Here are a couple of choice items.

From Eight In The Box, “The most important statement from above is this ‘Some programs have secretly allied themselves with Web sites that report on their school as another way to communicate with recruits.’ It makes you wonder if some of the people running the site for Scout and Rivals are fans of the school they cover and that there is a desire on their part to help their particular school, whether that is in generating positive buzz so that fans think the coaches are ‘in’ on certain recruits or by allowing negative statements about the recruiting practices of a rival school on their message boards.”

The Rivals, Scout and ESPN sites are heavily biased for the teams they cover. Many of the sites have improved over the years, and provide useful analysis and breaking news. However, much of what passes for journalism at Rivals, Scout and ESPN fan sites would get blogs blasted for excessive bias. All you have to do is mention Phillip Marshall and the case is made for bias. The recruiting analysis delivered by the sites is much different than the local content delivered by the fan sites—we have to be careful in clearly delineating the difference between the recruiting reporting and the local school content.

Also from Eight In The Box, “Would the operators of these recruiting sites allow their message boards, by way of lax moderation standards, to become a place that features targeted negative material about a rival school? Have certain schools in the SEC forged close enough relationships with the owner/operators of Scout and Rival websites that they the schools can direct that certain negative information be disseminated on their message boards?”

The answer to both questions is a resounding, Yes. There is an economic incentive for message boards to allow and encourage outrageous posts and defamation. Defamation on the SEC message boards is the equivalent of delivering the red meat in the political stump speech—the fanatics want to hear it. The more people on UT and AU message boards accusing Alabama of cheating, the more subscribers to those sites—when people suck, it makes them feel better to scapegoat the successful.

Speaking of SEC rivals
University of Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin is having a hard time keeping players. According to Sports By Brooks, the Volunteers have lost 11 players since the boy blunder took control. You have to wonder what this is going to do to Tennessee’s APR.

Alabama lands new recruit
On Friday, the Alabama Crimson Tide landed North Gwinnett offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James. James is the second commitment from North Gwinnett; Austin Shepherd committed to Alabama in March.

According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, “Because of his size and athleticism, James is rated as one of the top offensive linemen in the country and the top lineman in the Georgia. He had a strong showing at the U.S. Army All-American game combine in January and since then has picked up 35 scholarship offers. He listed Alabama, Tennessee and Florida as his three finalists.”

James is on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. According to the ESPN scouts, “James is a raw talent with a huge upside. He has tremendous size and will be a very good offensive lineman once he grows into his body.” There is more information from the scout evaluation and video at ESPN’s website.

Rivals lists James as a four-star recruit. According to Rivals, James is 6’6, 293 lbs., and runs a 5.3 time in the 40. Scout lists James as a four-star prospect, and 10th best offensive lineman in the 2010 class.

2008 Game Highlights Posted has posted highlights from the 2008 season, according to the Alabama Crimson Tide twitter.

AJC reports on John Parker Wilson
Former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson could figure into the plans for the Atlanta Falcons. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wilson could be more than just a “camp arm.”

“Their offense was a pro-style offense,” Falcon offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey told the AJC. “That helps because he was under center and not in the [shotgun] on every play. He’s actually called pro-styled offensive plays.”

I’m betting that gets out to college prospects.

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    I agree that Scout, Rivals, and ESPN are a bit biased; but what you fail to mention is that there are several sub-sites within the aforementioned domains that are dedicated solely to a single university or college. These boards are a place for fans to gather and talk football. Every now and then you get the ‘super poster’ who gains a famed reputation by the number posts he/she has contributed. The ‘super poster’ is usually the poster who “has a source” or “knows for sure” about some inside info. I think that most people with common sense laugh it off and use the boards for general information. However, I do believe an alter ego and an alter world can easily be created in the minds of some that frequent the message boards. By day, they’re Joe the mechanic. But at night, they’re SuperBamaInsider9999, the all knowing omnipotent insider that has gathered minions to hear his fictitious scoop on the latest recruit or booster allegations. Funny stuff.

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