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The Jumbo Package | 1.08.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

A'Shawn Robinson attempts to deflect a pass from LSU's Zach Mettenberger.
A'Shawn Robinson attempts to deflect a pass from LSU's Zach Mettenberger.
Kevin C. Cox

Alabama hangs on to beat Vanderbilt in SEC opener |

What happened Tuesday at Coleman Coliseum resulted in a win for the Alabama men's basketball team, but Anthony Grant's initial impression didn't exactly match what would be perceived as a step in the right direction.

In its 68-63 victory over Vanderbilt, the Crimson Tide played well in spurts, Grant said, but the overall performance was a bit of a regression. Alabama built a big, second-half lead thanks to its energy and aggressiveness but nearly saw it disappear because of a lack of both throughout the majority of the final 20 minutes.

Alabama season in review: 5 freshmen who made immediate impact, poised for more |

1) DE A'Shawn Robinson

Playing time is typically hard to come by along the Alabama defensive line for underclassmen, but Robinson wasn't your typical freshman. Just look at him. Most of his teammates joked that he resembled a junior-college transfer or a new coach. His impact was felt immediately and he got better as the season progressed. His two-sack performance against Kentucky was the top highlight, as he finished with the team lead in sacks (5.5) and trailed only C.J. Mosley in tackles for loss (eight). Robinson's future is bright and it includes some options. Will he stay at defensive end or could he potentially convert to nose, where Alabama currently lacks some depth?

I'm really looking forward to next year's defensive line. The returning talent (and hopefully the return of a fully operational Dalvin Tomlinson) should make for a nasty unit that looks to be among the best Saban has fielded at Bama.

FSU's Jimbo Fisher chats with Sabans after winning national title: 'They're great people' |

Outside of a post-game interview on ESPN's College GameDay set, Saban and Fisher were able to meet up later in the night, Fisher said at Tuesday's post-BCS National Championship press conference.

"Nick to me is a tremendous friend to me. He always has been," Fisher said. "I've learned a lot from him. He's a great guy. He has a great heart. His wife, Terry, she's reached out to me. I talked to her this morning. They were happy. They were very influential in myself and Candi and how we go about our businesses as leaders of an organization.

"Nick and Terry do it first class. They're great people."

College football bowl crowds decline again to lowest average in 35 years |

The final year of the Bowl Championship Series didn't alter a trend: For the third straight postseason, college football's announced bowl attendance produced its lowest average in more than 30 years. Attendance at this season's 35 bowls averaged 48,989, down less than 1 percent from a year ago when the games averaged 49,222, according to an analysis by of reported figures. This was again the lowest average since 1978-79, when 15 bowls averaged 48,404 fans. College football goes to 39 bowls next season.

I assume that two of the new four bowls are simply the two extra playoff games, but I'm still surprised to hear that the number of bowls is still expanding. I know there is a large contingent that disagrees with this sentiment, but I say "viva l'expansion".

The declining attendance numbers don't bother me, as non-championship bowl games are a tv product, and in the confines of my living room on a random, cold December Tuesday night, I will choose "football" over "not football" ten times out of ten.

Florida State favorite to win 2014-15 College Football Playoff -

Florida State won the final national championship of the BCS era less than 24 hours ago, and the Seminoles have already been named favorites to win the first College Football Playoff in 2014-15.

Bovada has released the first set of College Football Champoinship odds for next season, with Alabama, Stanford, Ohio State, Oregon and Auburn trailing the Seminioles in the initial release.

Somewhat surprisingly, Alabama is the second most favorite (?) to win it all next year. Without knowing who we're returning, or who will be our quarterback, I'd say you'd have to be afflicted to lay any money right now.

Greg Robinson of Auburn Tigers declares for NFL draft - ESPN

Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson will enter the 2014 NFL draft, forgoing his final two seasons of eligibility with the BCS championship runner-up Tigers. Robinson, a redshirt sophomore and a possible first-round selection, announced his plans Tuesday on his Twitter account.

Big couple of days coming up here for Auburn. Losing Robinson could be big. Losing Tre Mason would be a back breaker, and would probably drop Auburn from favorites to win the West to third place in the West.

Louisville Cardinals interview Bobby Petrino - ESPN

Current Western Kentucky and former Louisville coach Bobby Petrino interviewed Tuesday with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich for the head-coaching job at the school, a source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris also are among the six individuals who interviewed for the job, a source said.