Craig Kimbrel

While turning over the top bullpen role to a mostly untested (21 mostly low-leverage appearances last year) 23-year-old near-rookie with a history of massive control problems is perhaps not unpredecented, it is nonetheless unusual. He has ridiculous stuff, a near-100-MPH fastball and a vicious breaking pitch, and he gets ground balls. There’s just one little fly in the ointment. I described Kimbrel’s control before last season as “Dalkowski bad” and while he made some strides and it was perhaps an exaggeration, he still doesn’t always have a good idea of where the ball is going once he lets go of it.

Out of Huntsville (the real one, not the one in Texas), Kimbrel was a third round pick from a junior college in 2008. The Braves assigned him to rookie ball, which was perhaps over-cautious for a 20-year-old, and he terrorized the Appalachian League for a few weeks before getting promoted to Rome. He pretty much had the Sally League in hand too, and earned a promotion to Myrtle Beach for a couple of games at the end of the season. They had him start 2009 in Rome anyway and he did the same stuff, so they promoted him to MB again, and they finally got him for a little while. He finished his time there with a 5.47 ERA, but he was starting to dominate again so he got promoted to Mississippi, where he was again virtually unhittable, then got a brief trial, a couple of games, in Gwinnett.

Kimbrel pitched for the big club in spring training of 2010 and was impressive, but started in Gwinnett anyway, where he was again dominant. He had a couple of callups to the majors, posting a 0.44 ERA in 20 2/3 innings and a 4-0 record. He picked up a loss in the Division Series, forced into late duty due in part to the injury to Billy Wagner.

Kimbrel, in his three-year minor league career, has a 1.85 ERA and 51 saves. 19 of the 40 runs he’s allowed in his minor league career came in Myrtle Beach in 2009; take that away and his ERA would be below one. He’s struck out 241 men in 151 innings, which is, like, a lot. He’s only allowed five homers.

Ah, but the walks. He’s walked 95 men in his career, which is a lot, and makes his strikeout/walk ratio pretty pedestrian. (The pun is unintentional, I assure you.) Last year, against the most experienced men he’d faced, in AAA, he walked 35 in 52 2/3 innings, which is also a lot. In the majors, he walked 16 men in 20 innings, which is a whole heck of a lot. He can get away with it because he is, after all, practically unhittable. But in a closer role, that can bite you, because if you’re walking nearly a man an inning, sometimes you’re going to walk two or three in an inning and they won’t even need a hit to beat you. On the other hand, you don’t want a guy with severe control problems coming in with men on base, and closers are the least likely relievers to come in with runners on.

Craig Kimbrel Statistics

114 thoughts on “Craig Kimbrel”

  1. This guy and Chipper are the two most important cogs to getting to the playoffs, I think. There is probably someone else in the pen that can fill the closer role, but not many of them have a chance to be as dominate as Kimbrel.

  2. I realize that the idea of a “closer” is overrated, but since the concept does exist, I don’t understand the rationale of turning over the job to a guy that is largely unproven and that has proven to have execrable control. Why not Venters, who at least pitched in high leverage spots? I don’t feel good about this. I hope that Freddi shows some imagination in using his bullpen rather than falling back on everyone having roles that cannot be disturbed. But I doubt it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kimbrel is back in the minors at some point in the season.

  3. Jonny Venters will be the high leverage situational reliever and thus the more valuable player this year if they successfully re attach his arm this off season. Kimbrell does have electric stuff. I guess since all the talking heads are pretty much writing it that he is the closer this year. Nothing like a high wire act for a closer to cause your blood pressure to go up.

  4. What are the odds that Liberty Media just happen to be enormous Albert Pujols fans and would be willing to expand the payroll by $30 per year just to have him on the team?

    Like 80%, right?

  5. So you’re saying there’s a chance?

    Pujols in our lineup probably means two or three trips to the World Series. Eight years at $30 per is a LOT of money, but we do have a lot coming off the books soon and I can’t think of a better way to spend it.

    Would Albert come to Atlanta? Yankees and RedSox are all set at 1B.

  6. In the alternative dimensional universe in which I try to reside, Liberty Media will spare no expense to win but without interfering in management.

    It could happen.

  7. …and hopefully Freeman breaks out next year and we trade him for Rasmus in the ofseason. I mean, St Louis is going to need a 1B, right? Prado to third, Lipka is ready for SS, and we grab a LF somewhere. All problems solved.

  8. If Chipper plays well enough this year to suggest another year that can only mean good things.

    The combination of Heyward, Chipper, Uggla and McCann is something I plan on enjoying immensely.

  9. “Justified” returns tonight.

    My guess is they’ll find a way to move him out of Kentucky and send him to California.

    Oh well, until that time, I’ll be watching.
    —————

    Gee, sure hope Bama doesn’t rough up Vandy too much on Thursday night …

  10. With all the ice that’s going to be around, it’s probably going to be a less-than-stellar crowd at Memorial. I just hope we can finally get some guys healthy.

  11. Kentucky is the only team in the conference without any Thursday games, this season. Kentucky was the only team in the conference without any Thursday games, last season. What a coincidence.

  12. If Rivera can get away without throwing strikes maybe Kimbrel can too?
    Batters tend to swing at anything when pitcher gets ahead and it is tough to hit Kimbrel even when he throws it down middle.

  13. @ 19 – channeling my inner Peter O’Toole, here – “it’s good to be king.”

    —————

    @ 20 – is that really true? Or is it that Rivera’s cutter is demonically (or, in his case, angelically) possessed and simply disappears as it reaches the plate.

    I’ve studied that pitch for years and I think he rubs some wood-evading tonic on the ball (the plot of an old b&w baseball movie, btw). Just amazing how it darts just enough at exactly the right nanosecond.

  14. I can’t wait to have Albert Pujols, Colby Rasmus, and Adam Wainright on the Braves. 2012 is going to be sweet.

  15. Has anyone seen Kevin from The Office and Kevin (Stallings) from the Vandy basketball team in the same room?

    I think not.

  16. Kevin, the character, weighs about twice as much as Stallings. He also went to Westminster, in Atlanta.

  17. 32 – I just verified that on wikipedia. Apparently Ed Helms did too. For some reason this tickles me.

  18. However, both Stallings and Office Kevin seem to have trouble getting basketball players to box out.

  19. Just a fairly random baseball question that someone here may be able to answer: What the heck happened to Mississippi State baseball?!

    I just clicked on the Baseball America preview* (and don’t follow college baseball particularly closely) and the Bulldogs are predicted to go 6-24 in conference.

    I remember them being right there with LSU back in the 90s. The SEC has several strong baseball programs, but damn.

    *
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/college/season-preview/2011/2611275.html

  20. atlanta based folks…..anyone ever heard or dealt with payless auto deals or GA’s best auto’s?

    seems they are a few thousand cheaper than other places and I dont have a great feeling about them

  21. Since Jon Bon Jovi is taking his talents to Atlanta, maybe he can chip in for the Braves payroll after he deals out the $150 million for the Falcons. I don’t think it would give the team a bad name since we’re half way there already. I think we always have to keep the faith and just hope we don’t go down in a blaze of glory.

    Bad Medicine.

  22. Jon Bon Jovi and Arthur Blanc. Didn’t see that one coming.

    Hey, if it frees up Mr. Blanc to buy the Braves at the very first opportunity, I’d have to say “Have a Nice Day”.

  23. So Jay Bilas (the smartest man in college basketball) questions the wardrobe of the King of Conferences (Big East) and asks, “where’s the pros?”

    Which got me to thinkin’ …

    I always maintain that the SEC is better than it is given credit for. (And then we always manage to do something that deflates that argument.)

    For example: Georgia has at least two pros on its roster. Xavier? None that I saw.

    Vandy? At least three pros.

    Florida? At least two.

    UT? Hopson and Tobias.

    UK? I see four.

    I don’t think I see that many in the Big East. Oh, they are a tough, well-balanced conference, but the star power just isn’t there.

    So I don’t feel quite as stupid saying that the SEC is at least the equal of the Big East in basketball talent.

  24. “I always maintain that the SEC is better than it is given credit for. (And then we always manage to do something that deflates that argument.)”

    -justhank

    I respect your comments and your position, and I agree with lot of the things you say. I’m a huge SEC fan and believe that its home to the best college football that can be found, but with the (in some cases completely unwarranted) respect the SEC gets in football at the expense of other teams and conferences, I don’t think that the SEC should ever be allowed to play the ‘respect’ card in any sport. The Big East and ACC are the basketball equivalents of the SEC, and will get tournament bids on reputation over actual performance. So in regards to SEC fans, those that live in glass houses probably shouldn’t be throwing stones.

    I don’t think that I do now or ever will have the ability to evaluate college talent on an NBA level, but I gotta believe that most Big East teams have more explosive talent up and down their rosters than most SEC teams. I don’t know about star talent (Jay Bilas definitely does), but the Big East is a better conference than SEC in terms of basketball.

  25. I saw Kimbrel’s ML debut in Philly. It was the high point of the game. We were 2 hit by Ole Man Moyer, and those 2 hits were singles by Glaus. Awful. But Kimbrel did what I expect he’ll do a lot: 2B, K, WP (Runner [Werth] to 3rd), K, 6-3. His slider is just nasty.

  26. Xavier’s Holloway could play in the NBA, and their guards were so much better than UGA’s last night (especially in the 2nd half) that it was embarrassing. It was the worst game Robinson’s played all year.

    Thompkins has refined skills (and height) & will play at the next level. Leslie will get drafted, but he doesn’t really have enough game, IMO, for that league. He’s the wrong size, has no real go-to move. He’s not a good shooter & has no post-up game (not many 6-5 guys do, of course, the ones not named Barkley). Great in transition & a pretty good passer, though.

    This year, the SEC is deeper than it’s been for sure, but (from what I’ve seen) the Big East remains a notch above, IMO, mainly because the better teams play a really nasty, physical style that you don’t really see as much in other conferences.

    And they do have NBA-ready guys. Kemba Walker from UConn, for one. Also, check out Syracuse’s front line, especially this Jackson kid, who’s a beast. Providence has this swingman from the Atlanta area named Marshon Brooks, who’s a scoring machine. They’ve got players (and coaches).

    BTW, crazy game between UNC & Duke. Despite tonight’s result, Kendall Marshall has really turned the Heels around. I don’t think they’ll be missing Larry Drew II.

  27. Without seeing alot of Braves games this year, is Kimbrel the good kind of Wild(Mitch Williams) or the bad (Mark Wohlers)?

  28. If you’ve ever looked at Mitch Williams’ number, you’d know that he was never a very good pitcher. In fact he was very bad. Wohlers on the other hand is remembered for his choke in 96 and his subsequent control problems, but he was the closer for a world champion and had a few seasons where he could make a case for being the best reliever in the NL. Williams was never even above average.

  29. If he keeps allowing 4 to 5 H/9, he can get away with 7 BB/9. It just won’t look pretty, and I’ll have to go back to turning the TV off during 9th innings, a habit that Wagner nearly broke me of….

  30. @46,

    That’s a good point about Mitch Williams and Wohlers although I would give more credit to Williams for, at times, being a good pitcher but, I agree, he was grossly overrated. In fact, by the time he gave up the HR to Joe Carter in the World Series, he had been struggling so much that I remember thinking there was no way he was going to hold the lead. Wohlers was very good for a couple of years, but ’96 wasn’t the only time he gave it up in a big situation. If you remember, he gave up a home run to Dykstra in ’93 after the Braves had scored three in the ninth to tie the game. Also, although he did get the last three outs in the ’95 WS (including a couple of long fly balls), Bobby had to take him out in Game 4 and bring in Pedro Borbon to barely hold a three run lead. He was getting hammered. So, while Wohlers had him moments, he was no Cecil Upshaw. :)

    @47,

    That’s the great thing about recording the game on the DVR and watching later; you can simply fast forward through the ninth inning. I like running through the inning until I see the Braves high-fiving after the final out; if I don’t see that, I just keep on going to some other show.

  31. Super-pumped about the upcoming season. For 10 years now, I’ve been out of the Braves viewing area. For the first 5, I scrounged around New Orleans bars that had the MLB package so I could view the games. The next 4 years, I purchased MLBTV for my computer and have viewed the games through the 15 inch computer screen. This year, I bought a Roku (which is awesome, by the way), and I cannot wait to view the games on a my 42 inch through MLBTV on Roku. Bring on baseball!

  32. Ububba, I agree. I talked about Larry Drew here at the beginning of the season. I hate to put it all on one player, but he was the type of point guard that brought their level of play down. He was very sloppy while running that offense and never really got himself or the other players in the right places in order to execute.

    I even said that I thought Marshall would be starting over him before the season ended, however I never thought Drew would leave the program. Marshall is the real deal and UNC is a much better team with him directing everything out there. UNC is still young, but they really need Barnes stepping up his play in order to make a run this year. Their future is very bright.

    Just shows you what kind of impact a good point guard can do for a college basketball team. If you havent been paying attention, look at the turnaround of UNC and Alabama.

  33. Cary, that’s a good question about MSU baseball. They certainly had a great run with some great players.

    My guess is that when LSU and other SEC programs began to throw more resources at baseball, it made it harder for MSU to continue to recruit the Will Clarks of the world – especially after their HoF coach retired.

    Has anyone been to South Carolina’s baseball complex? I hear it is second to none.

  34. Do you guys think the Phillies gained ground on us this offseason?
    Their major additions:
    1. Cliff Lee- 4.3 WAR last year
    2. Dominic Brown- 2.2 WAR projection

    Our major additions:
    1. Dan Uggla- 4.7 WAR
    2. Freddie Freeman- 2.4 WAR projection

    Their major subtractions:
    1. Jayson Werth: 5.2 WAR

    Our major subtractions:
    1. Billy Wagner- 2.7 WAR
    2. Takashi Saito- 0.6 WAR
    3. Troy Glaus and Derrek Lee- 0.6 and 0.8

    Just from simple math, it looks like they added 6.5 WAR and took away 5.2 making their net gain 1.3

    Just from simple math, we’ve added 7.1 WAR and have taken away 4.7 making our net gain 2.4

  35. #50
    And how weird is that Drew 2 story?

    The difference between the 2 PGs is alarming. One guy sees the whole floor & other guy really doesn’t.

    Barnes is still a work in progress, IMO—sometimes he tries to do too much—but he’s getting the ball in good spots now & his production is up.

    Keep an eye on that team. The Heels look totally different now.

  36. 54—My understanding is that Arkansas has the best in the conference. VU has a small (awesome) stadium, but in terms of facilities — locker rooms, offices, indoor batting cages, training equipment, etc. — there supposedly isn’t a school with better.

  37. #56 – yeah, Marshall really focuses on spreading this team out and getting people the ball in the right places. He sees the floor exceptionally well and makes some very good long court passes. UNC really plays well in the open court, but when they a forced to start playing 5 on 5 in the half court they still are making some bad choices/shot selections.

  38. Don’t forget to account for the left fielders whom Martin Prado will replace, Melky Cabrera (-0.4 WAR) and Matt Diaz (0.8 WAR). (We’ll still have Hinske, 1.2 WAR, but presumably he’ll receive many fewer ABs.)

    You also forgot that we traded away Infante (2.9 WAR) in the Uggla deal.

  39. ryan – you may have posted the ultimate test of sabremetric utility. Will be fascinating to see it play out.

    But my eyes tell me that the combination of that legendary staff and very solid lineup will be too much for anybody to overcome.

    Get ’em in a short series and anything can happen, but over 162 games …

  40. @29, thanks for link. My eyes did not deceive. People swing at Marianos pitches of plate for a reason. Sorry to hear than umps squeeze Linebrink.
    NYTimes Sports is not to be trusted.

  41. @60
    there were many more factors that were obviously present (injuries, full years with players, late-year replacements), but i just kept it simple. LF and CF were such oddities last year with injuries and lack of production, that it seemed useless to even type about them. seeing as prado will still be on the field, i didnt think it would make much of a difference (offensively, 2b outhit LF last year in the NL).

  42. #67
    Right, but that doesn’t come close to explaining Rivera’s overall greatness. The cutter explains his greatness, not the notion of friendly umps.

    The Times report did a great job of showing how he throws it and how it reacts. It also provided a first-hand report from a player who has caught him & hit against him. Of course, you don’t have to trust John Flaherty either.

  43. @68
    Uggla is not replacing Infante. He’s replacing Prado, and Prado is replacing Diaz/Hinske. In turn, Diory, Ed Lucas or Hicks will be replacing Infante, but not really…

    I think it’s pretty legit to not take Infante’s 2.9 WAR into consideration because I would assume that if Chipper and Prado were both healthy, they would have combined for an extra 2.9 WAR that Infante provided.

    So the real question might come down to the strength of our replacement LF who will be coming in if any of Chipper, Prado, or Uggla goes down, who, in turn, is our real replacement for Infante.

    Hopefully, we won’t have to learn the true value of any of those 3.

  44. Diory Hernandez or Brandon Hicks will only be replacing Alex Gonzalez. Prado will move to 2b or 3b if either Chipper or Uggla goes down for an extended period. The question that needs to be answered is whether or not Mather, Schafer, or Matt Young can put up a 2.9 WAR. In a sense, it’s one of those guys that will be replacing Infante’s production should Chipper, Uggla, or even Freeman go down.

    And Infante was only worth 3 wins because the Braves had enough injuries to give him a regular job. Like I said before, hopefully that’s not the case this upcoming year. Hopefully Chipper and Prado can stay healthy.

  45. Just watching Rivera you notice that umps never squeezed him. Batter know that too and have to swing at balls off the plate.

  46. Chipper: 3.2 WAR
    Prado: 2.7 WAR

    Prado missed the last 25 games and Conrad replaced Prado
    Chipper missed the last 40 games of the season and Infante replaced him.

    Point being: Assuming health, Infante’s 2.9 WAR is irrelevant, because Infante’s place is being taken by (in a perfect world) a reserve, therefore negating the gains/losses of that presence.

  47. @54 – My son played in a showcase tournament at South Carolina last summer, and it was very nice.

  48. There are 25 men on the roster, and injuries are inevitable. Particularly injuries to Chipper Jones. Quite simply, Omar Infante was one of the best players on our team last year. The team plays 162 games and has to fill 8 defensive positions for every inning of every game. The at-bats and defensive innings that Infante played last year will go to someone else this year. That someone else will probably not be as good.

    If you are counting the number of Wins Above Replacement that the Braves lost, you simply have to look at Omar Infante, who was one of our most productive players last year.

  49. This may sound like a dumb question, but with all the talk of W.A.R. I’ve realized that I’m not quite sure what it means and I was hoping one of you guys could help me out. I know that it’s the amount of Wins above what a replacement player would give, but I’m stuck on the replacement player idea. Is that meant to be what a league average player would give you? Or, a true replacement player, one just up from triple-A and not anybody of any note? Because I feel like I may have been looking at it wrong and not quite realizing how good (or bad) certain ballplayers are.

  50. @79
    No, I don’t have to do anything. It is my opinion that Omar’s WAR is irrelevant due to the nature in which he accrued that WAR. It is your opinion that I’m wrong. You don’t have to change your opinion, do you?

  51. And thank you, Alex. I was looking up Yunel’s stats from last year and it occurred to me that he couldn’t have possibly been above league average. Now, I realize that he was not. Thanks to both of you for helping me clear that up.

  52. This WAR stuff is too confusing; I’m going back to using batting average and RBIs. If it’s good enough for Jeff Francouer, it’s good enough for me.

  53. Late weigh-in on the Duke/UNC game mentioned above: I just can’t see myself penciling Duke past the Sweet 16 unless the matchup is ridiculous (see: Duke/Purdue last year). Duke’s gameplan has basically boiled down to Nolan Smith And Some Other Guy Have To Score A Bajillion Points, and it can be some uuuugly basketball at times. Even for a team as fluid as Duke. The bigs are stiffs, too. Amazing that Kyrie Irving could be the difference between a team that looked like an all-timer and one that’s, “eh…OK,” but there you go. Would not surprise me if UNC got it together for more than 20 minutes and picked off Duke in Chapel Hill.

    Regarding Georgia, blah. Bizarre team in that they aren’t bizarre at all, W/L-wise; other than the win over Kentucky, they’ve beaten exactly all of the teams they should have beaten and have lost to exactly none of they teams they shouldn’t have. And yet almost every one of those has been close. Close shaves against Mississippi Valley State, St. Louis, and Mercer…close losses to Florida, Tennessee, and Notre Dame. Figure that out.

    Win the ones they should the rest of the way and they’ll have wins over LSU, USC twice, and maybe/probably Vanderbilt and/or Alabama. That will get them into the NCAAs to get smoked by Ohio State in the second round. But they’ll all probably be sweat-fests.

  54. Duke outscored UNC-CH by twenty in second half. UNC-CH folded like a tent.
    They ran out of steam just like my school UVA does. UVA has lost double digit second half leads about 5 times this year. They have an excuse of injuries and inexperience at least.

  55. #90
    Duke just heavily relies on threes. In the first half of the UNC game, they couldn’t throw it in the ocean & they never got a rebound (like the St. John’s game). They were lucky they weren’t down by 20+.

    In the 2nd half, they couldn’t miss & Nolan Smith was doing his Earl Monroe imitation. Of course, when UNC doesn’t stop the opposition, it’s awfully hard for them to run the way they like.

    Weird symmetry in that game: UNC opened up 8-0, then Duke scored the first 8 points of the 2nd half.

    But yeah, without Irving, it’s easier to see Duke getting picked off somewhere along the line.

    Re: UGA
    The close games Georgia plays has a lot to do with its offensive scheme & tempo. Things just don’t get too willy-nilly.

    They’re not a complete team by any means, but I’ll take this bunch (and Fox’s triangle/flex scheme) over anything we’ve had since the shady days of Jim Harrick.

    If they win their home games, maybe one road game & an SEC tourney game, I think they’ll squeeze into the big tournament.

  56. Until they put that circle in the paint that the NBA has, DUKE is unstoppable. It’s impossible for bigs to not get in foul trouble. Coach K sees a hole in the NCAA rules and knows how to exploit it.

  57. So, Alex, you’re telling me if Chipper plays 130 games, Prado plays 155 games, and AAG plays 155 games, Infante’s WAR is still relevant? If any of those 3 are hurt for an extended period of time, sure, but if not, the utility guys are going to receive very few at-bats, leaving the at-bats Infante received to better players (Chipper and Prado…I refuse to put AAG in that same category).

  58. @95, what is difference in War for AAG’s replacement player? Much easier to find a left fielder that a SS.

  59. @93, any team unable to play hald court offense will have trouble scoring when it cannot stop other team.
    UNC has that problem.

  60. Um, ever seen Tyler Zeller play? He’s a post-up threat in the half-court.

    UNC isn’t awful in the half-court now that they seem to have their point guard problems sorted.

  61. @98 Zeller played well in second half, no else did.
    @99 yes, depends on how replacement value is defined.

  62. Zeller did play very well. Like what was stated above, the refs cant call charging fouls under the basket the way they did in that game.

  63. Ryan, the idea behind WAR is to evaluate a team’s success and each individual player’s role in that through a quantifiable unit of measure. In theory, Infante’s WAR happened in real time and space through fielding and hitting. You take out his WAR, and the Braves win 2.9 less games. Your methodology is valuing quantitative WAR calculations for other players, but excluding Infante’s for no justifiable reason. I think that’s where Alex is taking note.

  64. Vandy is lighting up UA’s zone defense. Bama’s gotta keep some guys outside on these shooters. Bama is doing a good job staying in this game though.

  65. @102
    I understand that, Rob, but that wasnt my original point. On post #55, I asked the question to the blog,

    “Do you guys think the Phillies gained ground on us this offseason?”

    I went on to list key subtractions and additions, focusing on perfect world scenarios where the regulars start 90-95% of the time. Yes, admittedly, that’s probably not going to happen, but, for the sake of argument was the sole purpose as to why I thought Infante’s numbers to be irrelevant.

  66. I thought the officiating kept Bama in the game. My favorite sequence was when Relaford knocked the ball out of bounds, and Jordan gave the ball to Bama, then Higgins T’d Tchiengang up for doing nothing — literally, just standing there, saying nothing, while Green shoved him and talked smack — and, finally, Higgins whistled Taylor for his third foul when he made no contact whatsoever with Relaford, resulting in an and-one to tie the game at, IIRC, 64.

    At least the league is consistent in its incompetence.

  67. The officiating in the SEC has been terrible this whole year. Every game. Drives me crazy, but I don’t know why I’d expect it to change.

  68. @109, Now, now. Alabama’s athleticism, defense and foul shooting kept them in the game. Vandy’s shooting from 3, inside the arc and from the stripe (so, everywhere) kept them in the game as well–Vandy’s a helluva team.

    The two crucial missed calls at the end decided it, and that’s unfortunate as it could’ve gone either way legitimately. It robbed everyone of a great ending.

    Despite the final minute, Alabama proved it’s not a fluke and deserving of an at-large bid if it keeps this turnaround going.

    The Tide still leads the SEC, with Florida pulling into a tie. Not bad. The trajectory is still very, very positive.

  69. Could use some help from die-ard SEC Basketball fans:
    How can I explain Pistol Pete Maravich, what he could do, his legacy, to my twentysomething sons-in-law.
    I can’t even find a comparison to start.

  70. 111—Alabama’s very good. Definitely glad we only play them once in the regular season. If you think the officiating favored VU in that game, though, you are mistaken.

    Seriously, can VU please get healthy? I’m tired of having to play good teams while short-handed.

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