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Alabama announces future Bryant-Denny Stadium renovation, Nick Saban donates $1 million to the effort

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The old adage bigger is always better no longer seems true in college athletics and that includes the best around apparently.

Alabama on Thursday afternoon announced a sweeping set of capital improvements to their sports facilities as part of a new 10-year, $600 million athletics fundraising push. Chief among the changes will be a renovation of Bryant Denny Stadium that includes a slight reduction in capacity.

The move will see a complete reworking of the south end zone area and will include a huge new video board, an increased number of luxury box suites, a relocated press box and additional renovations throughout the rest of the stadium. Naturally, a fancy new locker room for the Crimson Tide will also be on tap.

via Alabama Athletics

Perhaps the most notable aspect of all the changes? Alabama will actually be reducing capacity at Bryant Denny and likely will dip below the 100,000 mark as a result of the changes. This kind of downsizing has been a growing trend in college football but comes just eight years after the school expanded their stadium to top six-figures.

Should the entire project be approved by the university board, construction is expected to begin after the 2019 season concludes in Tuscaloosa.

According to AL.com, a total of $143 million is already committed to the project and it received a further boost thanks to none other than Nick and Terry Saban, who pledged $1 million for the renovations.

Given that the school is paying Saban over $10 million on a regular basis each season, both he and the program can certainly afford things even with that big price tag. Perhaps the better question is if Saban himself will be coaching the team when the new venue opens.

Coronavirus has finally forced Nick Saban to get email

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Nick Saban is finally taking ‘The Process’ online.

After years and years of being one of the rare worldwide holdouts, the Alabama head coach has apparently joined modern times and gotten an email account. Per 247Sports’ Charlie Potter, Saban jumped on a livestream with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. While chatting about his daily routine at home in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Crimson Tide overlord revealed a fascinating nugget about his communication habits — including the involvement of his wife Miss Terry:

Incredible.

Saban is often lauded for how he connects to players decades his junior but that has rarely extended to the forms of digital communication he uses. While he does FaceTime recruits or, now, Zoom with his staff, the addition of email is quite the milestone in Tuscaloosa.

Maybe he’ll get a Twitter account next.

Ahh, who are we kidding, the Twitters and the Instas are too much to ask. Still, now we can’t help but wonder what his email address. Did he get creative? Sixringz@UAemail.com? Or was it just a Gmail with a Nick Saban username?

COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the world at large and college football in general. But it’s good to know that at least in some cases, there are a few silver linings for a few head coaches.

Virginia Tech AD: ‘We would be open to shifting the (CFB) season’

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Virginia Tech doesn’t speak for all of college football but a key figure at the school opened up about massive potential changes coming to the sport as a result of the coronavirus.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, athletic director Walt Babcock told reporters that the entire calendar for CFB could be moved back just to get a full season in.

“Everyone wants to try to play a football season if it’s safe,” Babcock said, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Mike Barber. “We would be open to shifting the season, even if it overlapped with other sports.”

That comment isn’t just some AD speaking either. Babcock is a member of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, a key decision-making body. While he doesn’t speak for the committee as a whole, the fact that he is even bringing up the topic is notable.

It goes without saying that nobody knows just how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will play out over the coming months. Some, like Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundyhave advocated for bringing players back to campus as early as May. Most others are far more pessimistic.

Babcock also noted that he would rather wait to make things are safe enough for fans to return to stadiums as well. That is in line with other AD’s, with Texas A&M’s Ross Bjork noting the financial impact of playing in empty stadiums to go along with the eerie feeling.

Hokies head coach Justin Fuente was also on the call and was asked for his thoughts on a potential return to the gridiron. He seemed to indicate that while it’s not ideal, he may need as little as a month of camp prior to taking the field for a live game:

That is a bit of a contrast to USC’s Clay Helton, who indicated he would need four weeks just to get ready for fall camp — so roughly two months before the season starts. Such conflicting views should underscore how difficult it will be for everybody to gather in support for one unified start date to the 2020 season.

Leaders in college athletics will have plenty of time to work through all that in the coming days, weeks and months. The good news, at least, is that there are far fewer questions about if college football gets played again and far more comments about when it gets played again going forward.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 8, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?
THE SYNOPSIS: As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long for that answer.  Ed Orgeron claimed his first national championship as a head coach as LSU dropped Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff title game.

2018

THE HEADLINE: UCLA’s Jaelan Phillips vows ‘MAJOR comeback’ after ‘minor setback’ in recovery from scooter accident
THE SYNOPSIS: In a twist, Phillips’ comeback will happen at Miami.  The nation’s top 2017 recruit transferred to the Hurricanes in July of last year.  After sitting out the 2019 season, he has two years of eligibility remaining.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher on Deondre Francois: He is a big-time player, he can lead
THE SYNOPSIS: Eight months later, the head coach left Florida State to take the same job at Texas A&M.  A little over a year after that, the quarterback was dismissed by FSU amidst an off-field imbroglio.

2016

THE HEADLINE: NCAA shuts down satellite camps for good
THE SYNOPSIS: Remember this storyline?  Remember how it engulfed the sport of college football for a year?  Yeah, that was awesome.  Or not.

2015

THE HEADLINE: LSU’s most-improved offensive player? It’s (gulp) Leonard Fournette
THE SYNOPSIS: “You’d be hard-pressed to have me tell you anybody other than Leonard is the most-improved player on our offense,” then-offensive coordinator Cam Cameron stated at the time.  So, how did it play out on the field?  Let’s go to the Tale of the Statistical Tape:

Freshman Fournette: 1,034 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns in 13 games
Sophomore Fournette: 1,953 yards, 6.5 ypc, 22 touchdowns in 12 games

2014

THE HEADLINE: Notre Dame, Georgia talking future series
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly three months later, a home-and-home between the college football bluebloods was formally announced.  The Bulldogs won both of those matchups, in 2017 and 2019.  UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in September of last year that he’s open to adding games to the series.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Petrino support group planning Monday rally
THE SYNOPSIS: This headline makes me laugh every time I see.  Every.  Single.  Time.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Lacerated kidney latest setback for ‘Cocks’ LeCorn
THE SYNOPSIS: “‘Cocks.” The 12-year-old in me still giggles.  As does the current-day me, actually.

Nick Saban will reportedly add Shiloh Keo as an Alabama football staffer

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The sport may have hit the pause button, but The Process for the Alabama football program continues.

According to Matt Zenitz of al.com, Nick Saban is expected to add Shiloh Keo to his extended Alabama football staff. No specific job description for Keo was given, with Zenitz writing that he will work “in a support staff capacity.”

Thus far, Alabama has not addressed any new additions to Saban’s football staff.

The 32-year-old Keo played his college football at Idaho from 2006-10. The Idaho native earned first-team Freshman All-American honors that first season with the Vandals. A four-year starter — he took a redshirt in 2008 because of injury — the defensive back was first-team All-WAC (remember that conference?) as a redshirt junior and second-team honors as a fifth-year senior.

The Houston Texans selected Keo in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Keo played six seasons for four different teams. In addition to the Texans, Keo spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

Alabama is set to open the 2020 college football season against USC Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It will be the 14th season under Saban. The Crimson Tide will also be coming off missing the College Football Playoff for the first time since the system to determine a national champion was instituted for the 2014 season.