Christopher Walsh’s All Things CW notes column will appear in five parts this week, one each day. That is …
If you think your Thanksgiving weekend was hectic, take a moment and think about what Alabama Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne did.
On Thursday, when most people celebrated the holiday, he was in attendance at the men’s basketball game against 12th-state Michigan in Portland, Oregon.
On Friday, he was back in Tuscaloosa to watch the football team earn their first College Cup berth with a 3-2 overtime win over Duke.
On Saturday, of course, he was at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Iron Bowl, and what may have been the last game for quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. Byrne is making the rounds at more than home games and this one attracted many celebrity alumni, who needed personal attention.
Keep in mind that an important part of his job is raising money for the sports department and he is very active in that regard.
Oh, and then-no to top off the basketball beat. 1 North Carolina on Sunday when everyone was in recovery mode off the team. The guess here is that after winning four overtimes, everyone slept pretty well on the plane home.
You may have missed Byrne’s tweet during the game. The fact that he wasn’t there probably freaked him out a bit:
The point is, even if football doesn’t make the college football playoffs, it’s been a hell of a weekend for the Crimson Tide — the kind that can have long-term repercussions.
Athletics has grown so much in Alabama that at the end of the football season the fan base is often like, “Okay, that was cool. What’s next?”
No one has to wait this year as football plays the semifinals of the NCAA tournament on Friday, and there’s no longer any doubt that this basketball team is pretty good and in the mix for the Southeastern Conference title, if not more should .
In case you missed it Monday, the most recent ranking had Alabama and Arkansas at No. 1 on the AP Top 25, Tennessee at No. 13, Auburn at No. 15, and preseason favorite Kentucky at No. 19. That’s going to make for a fun season.
If beating the outgoing No. 1 wasn’t enough, Alabama will visit new No. 1 Houston on December 10 (assuming the Cougars don’t lose St. Mary’s or North Florida this coming week).
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Meanwhile, Saturday’s Crimson Tide hosts the state of South Dakota in what should be a rockin’ Coleman Coliseum.
But three things contribute to the optimism:
1) The team was not at full strength for the Phil Knight Invitational.
2) A lot of the new guys still kinda get their feet wet playing both at this level and with each other. The same applies to many transfers.
3) Point guard Javon Quinerly has just returned from a knee injury. He’s still trying to get his legs up.
“Since Quinerly wasn’t cleared to play a few weeks ago and he came in and played 44 minutes, I didn’t think it was one of his best shooting performances for sure, but he still finishes with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists I think , that’s still a good stat for a man who was ineligible two weeks ago,” head coach Nate Oats said after the UNC win.
Buckle up was the manta of the previous basketball administration, but that’s exactly what everyone should be doing with this group. All except Byrne, that is.
The more the basketball team wins, the more exciting the program becomes and the more money it can potentially raise for the Crimson Standard and for the proposed new territory.
However, don’t forget that other facility projects are also in the works, including another upgrade of Bryant Denny Stadium. We are still only in phase two of three of the massive initiative.
He will be busy.
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