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Alabama season opener vs Miami game marks the end of an era for Crimson Tide

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The Alabama football program is leaving the neutral-site affairs behind in favor of more home-and-home series after the 2021 college season.

Once the Alabama football team presumably defeats the Miami Hurricanes on Labor Day in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide will finally begin playing Power Five teams in much-anticipated home-and-home series.

For years, this had served Nick Saban and his program. Alabama would only play Power 5 teams out-of-conference at a neutral site. While this gave the Crimson Tide a major scheduling advantage, everything will change after the Chick-fil-A Kickoff vs. Miami down in Atlanta this year. This truly marks the end of an era in what will surely be Saban’s final years down in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama football: Crimson Tide will play its last neutral-site game vs. Miami

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne should be applauded for all the exciting games he has on tap for the football program down the line. The Crimson Tide will play teams like Texas, Wisconsin, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia Tech between 2022 and 2035. Of course, Saban will most likely be retired well before 2035.

While Alabama fans may love the opportunity to go to places like Austin and Columbus, the reason Byrne is doing this with presumably Saban’s blessing is very simple: Alabama will not be punished by losing a game on the road out-of-conference once the College Football Playoff expands from four to 12 teams. Saban will coach in some of these games, but will not coach in all of them.

Alabama can afford to drop a road game in South Bend, Stillwater or Blacksburg as long as the Crimson Tide are one of the 12 best teams in the country at the end of the year. Other programs may have beaten Alabama to the punch when it comes to impressing the Selection Committee with their non-conference resume, but the Crimson Tide will be making up for it when it counts.

Look for Alabama to win its last neutral-site game vs. Miami before doing away with them in favor of the home-and-home series.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

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Premier League: Headers in training to be limited

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New regulations are to be introduced that will limit the number of headers professional footballers practice in training per week.

Over the last few years, heading within football, especially among children, has become a hot topic.

A study conducted in 2019 found that footballers are more likely to suffer from degenerative brain diseases Dementia compared to people whose jump doesn’t involve frequently heading a ball.

In February of last year, the practice of heading in training sessions was banned for all children aged 11 or under in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland at all levels.

What are the Premier League VAR changes for the 2021-22 season?Read More

Several high-profile former footballers such as Sir Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles and Jeff Astle have all died within the last few years after suffering brain disease, with Charlton suffering from Dementia before his death.

In order to protect players, they will be limited to 10 ‘high force’ headers per week in training at ever level of English football including the Premier League.

“Our heading guidance now reaches across all players, at all levels of the game,” said FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

“We are committed to further medical research to gain an understanding of any risks within football. In the meantime, this reduces a potential risk factor.

“It is important to remember that the overwhelming medical evidence is that football and other sports have positive impacts on both mental and physical health.”

What has the reaction been?

Former Arsenal, West Ham and England central defender Matthew Upson told Sky Sports he is in favour of the rule change.

“I 100% back the research and the studies that have gone into making this step,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes, researching the impact of heading the ball and it seems a very reasonable request if I’m honest.

“The key words are the ‘high impact’ contact. You can still practice heading, technically, as let’s be honest, heading is a real art – a matter of timing, technicality towards it.

“Those big ones when you’re heading from a goal kick or from a corner – it just makes sense in training not to expose yourself to that impact.

“Save it for opportunities in matches when three points are on the line. In training, it just makes perfect sense, so I fully welcome the change.”

Studies have shown that it can have an impact on your health

When asked whether he looks back on some training sessions in the past and worries about his own health, Upson admits he wouldn’t agree to them now.

“I sometimes cast my mind back to some of the sessions that I’ve done over the 20 years as a professional footballer, and looking back, you wouldn’t entertain a training session like that,” he continued.

“You wouldn’t head a number of large balls into the box. When as an apprentice practicing those big, headed clearances and getting your head on kicks from the halfway line.

“There isn’t really a need to practice that in mass numbers. Studies have shown that it can have an impact on your health.”

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Boston Bruins among 4 free agent destinations for Ryan Getzlaf

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The Boston Bruins are looking to bring in a veteran center for their next playoff push and Ryan Getzlaf is one of the leading options.

NHL Free Agency opened on Wednesday and has already kicked into full gear with signings and rumors flying in. The latest comes from TSN’s Pierre Lebrun as the Boston Bruins are one of the top destinations for Ryan Getzlaf if he leaves the Anaheim Ducks for the first time in his 16 year career.

The Bruins join the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens among the potential destinations.

The move makes a lot of sense for the Bruins, who are still looking to get another Stanley Cup with their main core before the window closes. A potential Bruins-Getzlaf signing feels reminiscent of when Boston brought in David Backes during the 2016 offseason. While that partnership didn’t ultimately work out for either side, it did give them another center and more leadership for the team.

What could Ryan Getzlaf bring to the Boston Bruins?

Getzlaf is an interesting addition for anyone this offseason. The 37-year-old is far from his prime anymore and had the worst statistical season of his career during the 2020-21 season. In 48 games, Getzlaf totaled career lows in goals, assists, and points with 5-12-17. To be fair to him, however, the Ducks were terrible this season. The only team to finish worse than them was the Buffalo Sabres.

A better assumption of what Getzlaf could bring to the table this season would be to look back at the 2019-20 season. He totaled 13 goals and 29 assists, good for 42 points overall. Seeing that the Bruins are looking for secondary scoring and overall solid play from their third and fourth lines, Getzlaf feels like the perfect fit for them this season and maybe even beyond.

The former Stanley Cup champion could channel his former linemate, Corey Perry, by leaving the Ducks as Perry has found success and has made it to back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals. Seems like a good fit if the Bruins and Getzlaf can come together on a deal.

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2021 FFA Cup preview: Is Adelaide City primed for an upset?

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In less than a months’ time, the 2021 FFA cup Round of 32 off kicks off including a qualifier between A-League clubs Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory, with the winner of that match to travel to South Australia for a potential banana skin of a fixture against Adelaide City. (more…)

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