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The Jumbo Package | 11.15.13

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Nick Saban points to empty seats in an effort to inspire mortal fear.
Nick Saban points to empty seats in an effort to inspire mortal fear.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

Hand Picks Bama | 247 Sports

"When I took my visit- I took two visits up there- I wen to a camp and got to really see how campus life is outside of the football season. I went on my official and I've seen how the gameday atmosphere is and see the culture. They have a winning tradition and all the coaches care about their players.

"They don't lie to you- they tell you how it is. I know I'm not going to come in and going to be number one on the depth chart. I know I gotta do a lot of hard work. They had the most freshman playing this year, so anything's possible."

Hand (Defensive End from Woodbridge, Virginia) is considered the fourth best overall prospect in the country by 247Sports, and the number 1 overall prospect by Rivals (be sure to catch RBR's write up HERE). I'm in awe of this coaching staff.

Honestly, what can you even say about the Bama machine at this point? Part of me keeps waiting for the bottom to fall out. Logic says nothing this good can go on forever. And yet, here we are. While there is still a good bit of time until ink will hit paper in February, Bama is currently in the driver's seat with the consensus number one class in the country.

Long live the king.

Da'Shawn Hand, Cameron Robinson are Nick Saban's first No. 1 overall recruits at Alabama |

Woodbridge (Va.) defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, who chose Alabama over Michigan and Florida on Thursday, is ranked the No. 1 2014 prospect in the country by The Tide already had a commitment from 247Sports' top prospect, West Monroe (La.) offensive tackle Cameron Robinson.

And Alabama is among the favorites for the player ranked No. 1 by the other two major recruiting services, ESPN and -- New Orleans-St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette.

I would be shocked if Fournette ended up picking Alabama over LSU. Then again, I was genuinely surprised when Hand picked Bama over Michigan, so who the heck knows?

Alabama would be favored over FSU, Baylor and Ohio State | CBS Sports

According to the online gambling site Alabama would be favored against the other three teams. The Tide would be favored by 5.5 points over Florida State, seven points over Baylor and 9.5 points over Ohio State.

GUMP. GUMP. GUMP. I think Bama would beat Florida State, but 5.5 at a neutral site seems like a lot of points right now. I would like to see how FSU handles a terrible Florida team and an elite Virginia Tech defense before I'd give that many points.

What to watch in the SEC: Week 12 | ESPN

3. Style points for Saban? Somehow Alabama's win against LSU last weekend didn't resonate with the college football-viewing public, even though the Tide scored more points (38) than any game in the series since a 41-12 victory in 1947. Oh well, Nick Saban's perpetual pursuit of perfection persists. Perhaps he can convince the the nation's No. 1 team to be on guard for a letdown against Mississippi State, a team Bama has dominated during a five-game winning streak with a combined score of 155-34.

Wait, what? The LSU victory didn't resonate with the public? I was not aware of this. If the response was muted, I believe it was because the general public has grown familiar with Bama domination, not because they find this team to be unimpressive.

What's gone wrong on Alabama kickoff coverage lately? Special teams star has the answer |

"We haven't really been playing fast," said Christion Jones, a member of both kickoff return and coverage teams. "We've been lackadaisical on kickoff when we're out there. We just have to play fast and know our lanes when we're out there. That will help up get our goals on kickoff."

Alabama's 49 kickoffs ranks among the most as the average return went from 17.73 in September to 21.69 now.

"I don't think it's a fatigue thing," Jones said. "It's just the way the game flows. Some people get out of position and don't do the technique right. You have to be fundamental on kickoff."

As Bama fans, it's in our contract to find something to wring our hands over. In the last couple of weeks, kickoff coverage has certainly fit that bill. Add in the recent memory of watching Corey Grant of Auburn return a kickoff for a touchdown against Tennessee, and the concern grows that much more.

Could 2013 Alabama beat Nick Saban's other championship Tide teams? | SB Nation

The Crimson Tide have perfected the art of ending the game, almost like a professional wrestler's series of finishers -- Hulk Hogan's body slam/leg drop series, et al. Once Alabama gets a lead, you know the Tide will run the ball, grind out clock, and keep adding to the lead, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's over, but you still have to wait for the end.

Alabama executed a picture-perfect, finishing-moves win over LSU last Saturday in Tuscaloosa. The Tide had to fight to get a lead, then quickly turned a seven-point advantage into a 21-point advantage and left Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson to talk about women and advanced stats for the final minutes of the broadcast. An interesting game turned into a formality rather quickly.

The advanced stats pretty much bear out what we would tend to think based on our observations: this offense is about as good as we've had in the run; this defense is pretty dang good when compared to the field, but comes up short when compared to previous Bama squads (particularly when evaluating the non-existent pass rush; and the special teams are the best it has been so far this run.

If you enjoy stats, be sure to check this one out. There's some real good analysis to be found here.