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The Jumbo Package | 11.17.14

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Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Saban wears Amari Cooper pajamas.
Saban wears Amari Cooper pajamas.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

What a game.  In the second quarter, when the defense seemed to be firing on all cylinders, I sat in the stands and watched as the crowd lit up the stadium and the defense jumped all over the place on the sideline.  In that moment, a truth became apparent to me: this team is going to win a national title.

Great atmosphere.  Great team.  Great game.

Also, shoutout to the old couple sitting directly behind me yelling "down in front" like it's the freaking opera.  Come on, guys.  It's the game of the year.  If you physically can't stand, you have two options as I see it: 1) be content with watching the game on the big screen as those in front of you stand or 2) enjoy sitting in the comfort of your home.

Quick Hits: Mississippi State 20, Alabama 25 - For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

I'm just proud of our guys. After going down by 19 points, we never gave up. We lost by 5 points in Tuscaloosa, there's nothing to be ashamed of and a lot to be proud of. This team just fights and they're tough. If we can get our shot in the SEC Championship or the playoff, I really like our chances to win. Now we just have to move on and up and get ready for Vandy and pray that things go our way.

Aside from praising our own team and our own fans, I want to take a minute to thank Bully for how well they seem to be taking the loss.  Despite all the bullcrap we saw late last week about preemptively complaining about not getting the calls from the refs, the fanbase seems to have shunned the low road in defeat, and are not falling prey to the LSU-SEC- Unfair-Conspiracy-Syndrom (also known as LSU SUCS).

Good on ya, bully, though I did want to personally murder every single one of you yokels banging cowbells on campus before the game.  At least the walk back from the stadium was nice and cowbell-free.

Alabama is top-ranked 1-loss team in latest AP top 25, but who's No. 1? |

The Crimson Tide hopped two spots to No. 2 after its 25-20 victory over Mississippi State. The Bulldogs dropped to No. 4 while Florida State, the lone remaining unbeaten among Power 5 schools, moved up to No. 1 after its 30-26 win at Miami.

Alabama advances again in coaches poll after beating top-ranked Mississippi State |

After taking out top-ranked Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide moved up to No. 2 when the poll was released Sunday morning. Florida State moved back to the top spot after surviving a 30-26 scare at Miami.

Power Poll: Alabama defeats No. 1 to be No. 1, and looks like top team, too -

Never mind they hadn't beaten a team you'll find ranked this week -- until Saturday. To borrow Jeff Long's phrase: It's the eye test.

Bama is playing the best football at the right time -- with a top five scoring defense, with the SEC's most-efficient passer (Blake Sims). With the look of a team that is going to finish No. 1 after ascending to No. 1.

What we learned in the SEC: Week 12 - SEC Blog - ESPN

Georgia-Alabama?: We went through all of that to get to this? After beating No. 1 Mississippi State 25-20 on Saturday, Alabama is back in the driver’s seat in the SEC West, as many prognosticators expected before the season. Meanwhile, Georgia (9-2, 6-2 SEC) destroyed Auburn 34-7 in its final SEC game of the season, which put the pressure on Missouri to win out if it wants to win the SEC East. Otherwise, it’ll be Alabama-Georgia in the SEC championship game, which seemed the most likely outcome before the Mississippi schools and Missouri made unexpected title pushes. Mizzou (8-2, 5-1) still leads the way in the East, though, with games remaining at Tennessee and versus Arkansas. The Tigers can still spoil the Bulldogs’ title hopes, and Georgia tailback Todd Gurley's injury status will also have a bearing on the Bulldogs' prospects moving forward.

Alabama Crimson Tide get another five-star performance in a big game - ESPN

Alabama won by dominating field position -- thank you, punter JK Scott -- forcing Mississippi State to start its first 10 possessions at an average of its 18-yard line. The Tide defense scuffed up the shiny reputation of Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott.

His numbers ended up looking good: Prescott threw for 290 yards and rushed for 82. But the 6-foot2, 230-pound junior threw 3 interceptions, two in the red zone, that dug a hole too deep for the Bulldogs to escape.

"He’s definitely a big dude, probably one of the biggest backs we’ve played, even though he’s a quarterback," Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen said of Prescott. "You got to bring your big-boy pants for a game like this. He’s not going to go down with the first hit."

Florida State Seminoles and Alabama Crimson Tide have the experience to handle late-season pressure - ESPN

The playoff picture is muddled enough after No. 1 Mississippi State fell for the first time this season in a 25-20 loss at No. 5 Alabama on Saturday. The Crimson Tide, who have won three of the past five national championships, are in prime position to contend for a fourth title under coach Nick Saban.

If Alabama defeats rival Auburn in the Nov. 29 Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, it will win the SEC West and advance to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Alabama dominated Mississippi State from the start and took a 19-3 lead at the half before the Bulldogs made it respectable late. The Crimson Tide ruined Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott's Heisman Trophy hopes by intercepting him three times.

"I think anytime you beat the No. 1 team in the country, that's a significant accomplishment," Saban said. "I was really proud of how our players competed in the game. I thought the defense did a fantastic job. The turnovers were huge with three interceptions. They were all drive-stoppers."

Alabama WR Amari Cooper focused on drops, not his highlight-reel catch after Mississippi State win |

Alabama's star receiver shifted the focus to the couple of drops he had during Saturday's second half. Cooper didn't become one of the nation's best receivers without high standards, and, according to how he evaluates himself, Saturday's eight-catch, 88-yard performance wasn't up to snuff.

"I'm more focused on the plays I didn't make," Cooper said. "I had two dropped balls I know I could have gotten. I just have to go back to the drawing board and work on my fundamentals and look the ball all the way through."

And that, boys and girls, is why he's the G.O.A.T.

Best of the visits: SEC - SEC Blog - ESPN

Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson took an official visit to Alabama this weekend. The No. 9-ranked player in the nation has Alabama as one of his top schools and posed for a picture with Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the game on Saturday.

Four Downs: Stats don't tell full story of Alabama secondary's improvement, ArDarius Stewart and more |

4. Keep an eye on ArDarius Stewart vs. Western Carolina Redshirt freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart's first career start went beyond filling a role on a formation Lane Kiffin liked for the first play of the game. Stewart received the most meaningful playing time of his career Saturday and made the most of it.

He drew a pass interference call on a deep route in the first quarter and caught two passes in the third to finish with 25 receiving yards. The second catch, in particular, looked like it came straight out of the Kenyan Drake playbook as he took a short pass and used his blazing speed to pick up a 17-yard gain.

Needless to say, the former Mr. Everything at Fultondale will have plenty of chances to impress Saturday against Western Carolina in a game that often provides a sneak preview to the future of Alabama's offense and defense.

"He's just trying to be very explosive and that's exactly what he did today," quarterback Blake Sims said. "We're just happy to have him out there."

Who Might Follow Will Muschamp at Florida? - Team Speed Kills

With Will Muschamp out as head coach at Florida, the question inevitably turns to who might replace him. The short answer is: I don't know. No one runs a tighter ship when it comes to these things than Jeremy Foley. Muschamp's name never leaked last time until the hire was basically done.

Reports: Todd Gurley Out for the Season With ACL Injury - Team Speed Kills

That backs up what the AJC reported shortly after the game, citing "sources familiar with the situation," and what Bruce Feldman is also reporting. Seth Emerson says an MRI has confirmed it's a torn ACL.


Nick Saban post-game press conference

Amari Cooper (wide receiver) post game interview

Blake Sims (quarterback) post game interview