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The Jumbo Package | 10.29.14

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Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Kevin C. Cox

College Football Playoff Rankings: SEC West Takes Three of Top Four; An Egg Bowl Rematch? - Team Speed Kills

If you're looking for some evidence that waiting until later in the season to produce rankings will produce different results if the panel is a better group than the Harris Poll -- well, there you have it. Whether this is better or worse is up to your interpretation, but it certainly is different in at least a few respects.

First (and we'll use the AP poll as the reference point here), you'll note that the order of the top SEC West teams for the playoff committee (No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Ole Miss and No. 6 Alabama) is a touch different from the rankings in the AP poll (No. 1 Mississippi State, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Auburn and No. 7 Ole Miss). Full disclosure: I prefer the selection committee method. Ranking Alabama above Ole Miss reeks of "losing later is worse than losing earlier" syndrome among poll voters, given that Ole Miss beat Alabama a few weeks ago, the Rebels have not lost to a team Alabama played, and Ole Miss beat both of the teams that Alabama beat the last two weeks. If there's a compelling case for putting Alabama ahead of Ole Miss at this point, it eludes me.

Fair is fair, and I don't see any reason to get worked up about these rankings.  We are two spots out and we play two teams ahead of us.  Win and we are in.

College Football Playoff rankings -- Mississippi State Bulldogs, Florida State Seminoles on top - ESPN

"It was extremely difficult, more difficult than any of us had expected having gone through our mock selections before," Arkansas athletic director and committee chairman Jeff Long said.

"There are 18 one-loss teams in FBS at this point in time, and the difference between many of them is very slim." Oregon was fifth and Alabama was sixth, giving the Southeastern Conference's West Division four of the top six teams.  There are still four games remaining matching those SEC West rivals, starting with Saturday's matchup of Auburn and Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.

"We don't analyze it by conference," Long said. "We look at those teams and evaluate the teams they played and the success they had, or the failures they had."

The final rankings will be released Dec. 7, the day after the most of the conference championships are decided.

"Everyone on the selection committee recognized that our rankings will change over the next six weeks," Long said. "I think that's important for us to emphasize. We expect our rankings to change over the next six weeks. One week's rankings won't influence the next week's rankings."

SEC playoff tracker: Oct. 29 - SEC Blog - ESPN

Alabama

Record: 7-1 (4-1)

Rank: No. 6

Next big obstacle: Nov. 8 at No. 19 LSU

Reason for optimism: Given the way Alabama struggled in a loss at Ole Miss and a narrow win at Arkansas, there were questions about whether Lane Kiffin's offense could go on the road. But they were answered Saturday when the Tide went to Rocky Top and dominated Tennessee 34-20.

Cause for concern: If you want LSU, you want them early. You want the young, unsure team that lost to Mississippi State, not the confident, maturing bunch that upset Ole Miss. Alabama gets the latter, a team that now believes it can beat anyone, especially in Tiger Stadium.

Who they’ll be rooting for: The SEC will take care of itself, so in order to get two teams from the conference in -- and increase Bama's chances of making the playoff -- Tide fans should be hoping for Louisville to beat Florida State or Stanford to beat Oregon.

SEC Heisman watch: Week 9 - SEC Blog - ESPN

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: What can't this kid do? He ranks second nationally with 71 receptions and 1,132 yards. He also has nine touchdowns. He's fresh off a record-setting performance against Tennessee, in which he caught nine passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

Alabama running back Tyren Jones suspended | AL.com

Alabama running back Tyren Jones wasn't seen at practice Tuesday and is "suspended for now," coach Nick Saban said.

Saban did not provide any details on the nature of the suspension. "If Tyren Jones does what he's supposed to, maybe he'll be back sometime soon," Saban said after Tuesday's practice.

No no no.  Let's all just settle down and keep the wheels on this train.  We're so close.

Alabama kicker Adam Griffith dealing with 'physical problem' that's impacting practice routine | AL.com

Alabama coach Nick Saban offered some insight into the situation Tuesday.

"He's got a little bit of a physical problem that I'm not going to talk about that we've had to manage, which has affected his ability to kick maybe in practice as much as he's used to," Saban said.

At Tennessee last week, Griffith became the first Alabama kicker to miss an extra point since Jeremy Shelley misfired late in the 2012 BCS Championship Game.

No no no.  No injured kickers.  No whammies.  No whammies.

Nick Saban updates status of Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon, TE Brian Vogler | AL.com

Yeldon and Vogler both wore black, non-contact jerseys and worked with trainers off to the side during Tuesday's media viewing session. Yeldon had a boot on his right foot while Vogler wore a brace on his left knee.

"Both guys are just beat up and need a little time," coach Nick Saban said. "We're hoping they'll be back and ready to start practicing Monday."

Hope to have them back by Monday? Hnnnnnggg.

Alabama practice report: T.J. Yeldon sidelined, injury updates and some offensive line news | AL.com

Some positive injury news for Alabama: LB Denzel Devall was practicing for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain against Ole Miss. Video of what we saw from him will be coming shortly.

WR Christion Jones was practicing after missing almost every snap of Saturday's game. He's dealing with a left hamstring injury.

LB Reuben Foster, who did not play with the Vols, continues to wear a brace on his right shoulder. He was not limited during the media viewing portion, but there wasn't much contact.

With Cam Robinson out for a couple of weeks, Alabama got a look at Austin Shepherd at left tackle. Shepherd's normal spot at right tackle was filled by sophomore Grant Hill. Leon Brown, who played for Robinson on Saturday, was back at right guard. Bradley Bozeman, who played at right guard when Brown moved to left tackle, was the second-team center.

D-line a key factor in LSU's improvement - SEC Blog - ESPN

The defensive line, particularly the interior line, was a clear weakness early in the season when the Tigers faced strong competition. Mississippi State and Auburn's offenses gashed LSU up the middle and posted astronomical yardage totals (570 yards for Mississippi State, 566 for Auburn) that LSU fans are not accustomed to seeing against John Chavis' defense.

But as the season progressed, sophomore Christian LaCouture and true freshman Davon Godchaux have settled into starting roles at tackle, Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco have become more reliable playmakers at end and the defense has improved around them. "We just came together as a group and we said we're going to put all that stuff behind us and we're just going to keep moving forward," said LSU safety Ronald Martin, who made the game-saving interception at the goal line on Ole Miss' final play Saturday. "We knew we're a great defense and we're just going to have to keep our confidence up. That's what I think we did. We put all of our bad things to the side and we just stepped up and improved.

Bring a helmet.  This one is gonna be a battle.

Texas A&M Aggies undecided on Kenny Hill or Kyle Allen at quarterback - ESPN

In August, Texas A&M appeared to have a bright future with its new quarterback. After a record-breaking performance against South Carolina, sophomore Kenny Hill looked like the clear answer to life after Johnny Manziel for the Aggies. That future isn't so clear at this moment, with the starting quarterback job wide open heading into the Aggies' final four games.

Texas A&M offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said Tuesday that Hill and true freshman Kyle Allen are competing for the right to start Texas A&M's next game on Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

Open QB competition with 4 games left?  NICE.

NCAA Announces Todd Gurley Punishment - Team Speed Kills

If the appeal does not reduce the penalties, then Gurley will miss this weekend's game against Florida and next week's game at Kentucky. Gurley would then be available for the following home game against Auburn.

Go Dawgs.

Videos

Nick Saban Tuesday press conference

Tuesday practice footage (linebackers, tight ends, offensive line, strip drill)