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The Jumbo Package | 12.08.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

"I raised up mine eyes, and lo, there stood before me three horsemen of the Apocalypse."
"I raised up mine eyes, and lo, there stood before me three horsemen of the Apocalypse."
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama 42, Missouri 13: Takeaways from SEC Championship Game - CBSSports.com

After a one-year hiatus, Alabama is back where it would argue it belongs: playing for a national championship.

Underdog Missouri mounted a brief third-quarter comeback but had no answers for the Crimson Tide's late-game onslaught, falling 42-13 and dropping its second consecutive SEC Championship Game. Senior quarterback Blake Sims was named the game's most outstanding player after completing 23-of-27 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

Everyone is quickly being swept up in the anticipation of being the inaugural playoff, but let's not forget to savor a well-earned championship in the country's toughest conference.

This team has come a long way, and so much of it falls to a player nobody thought would see the field.  Huge shoutout to Blake Sims for a heck of a game.  I'll be talking about him a bit more later.

Alabama can still be better than Saturday - SEC Blog - ESPN

"Tonight, we probably left three touchdowns [on the field]. It’s not clicking every time, like we want to," said wide receiver Christion Jones, whose 6-yard touchdown catch to start the fourth quarter essentially put the game away. "Basically, you could say our standard is to always play a perfect game, and if we don’t do that, we feel like we cut ourselves short."

That's just the mindset of a Nick Saban-led football team. Sometimes, Alabama's "good" is another team's fantastic, so you can imagine what "great" feels like to the Tide, and sometimes, like Saturday, it isn't good enough.

CFP Selection Committee speaks: Ohio State joins Alabama, Oregon, FSU - CBSSports.com

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee on Sunday put out the only rankings that matter, the final rankings, and here they are...

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide played the best schedule of any of the contenders by any measure and only lost to Ole Miss on the road.

Alabama was understandably elated with the news.

Classic Saban.

Elsewhere in the country, opinions on the top four were mixed.

Amid hysteria, College Football Playoff has fantastic field - ESPN

We pause amid the hysteria created by the College Football Playoff selection committee to point out that it couldn't have given us two better games for the first semifinals in the history of major college football. Whether measured by X's and O's or by the number of storylines, the matchups are fantastic.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State at the Allstate Sugar Bowl means Saban-Meyer IV. The Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes will be preceded by No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, which likely will present a matchup of the two most recent Heisman Trophy winners, quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of the Ducks and Jameis Winston of the Seminoles.

OK, Big 12, resume your caterwauling. League co-champions Baylor and TCU finished the season at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.

The committee picked the right four teams, even if it did so in a way that sowed confusion among fans trying to figure out how the Horned Frogs could drop from No. 3 after beating up Iowa State 55-3.

TCU seems to be getting a lot of sympathy, but let's remember that Baylor is the "one true champion" (to use a phrase I think I've heard somewhere once or twice) of the Big XII.  Of course, I wouldn't get carried away with feeling too bad for Baylor...

Coaches Poll, Week 15: Baylor's Art Briles votes Alabama No. 4 - CBSSports.com

Of course, the final release of the Coaches Poll comes with the reveal of each coach's final ballot. Baylor's Art Briles was the only coach to put Alabama outside the top three on his ballot, sliding the Tide in at No. 4 behind Florida State (1), Oregon (2) and his own squad (3). Briles' top five was rounded out with TCU at No. 5 and Ohio State was No. 6.

There you are friends: all the proof you ever needed that having a coaches poll be a part of crowning the national champion is a bad idea.

Alabama celebration muted, but Nick Saban says Tide excited to face Ohio State | AL.com

"I really do think our players are just excited to have the opportunity to be one of the teams selected in the Final Four," Saban said.

"We knew whichever team that we played in the playoff would be an outstanding team. I know what kind of coach Urban Meyer is and I know what kind of program he has and the great tradition they have at Ohio State. They have a great team and this is a great opportunity for our team to play a Big Ten team, so we're looking forward to it."

Alabama opens as double-figure favorite to beat Ohio State in playoff semifinal | AL.com

Alabama opened as a two-score favorite to beat Meyer's Ohio State team in the New Year's Day Sugar Bowl after the pairing was announced Sunday morning.

Danny Sheridan's opening line had the Crimson Tide favored by 10 points. A few Las Vegas sports books also gave Alabama a 10-point edge. The over-under expects 57 1/2 points between the champions of the SEC and Big Ten.

Working backwards, those lines mean Vegas is expecting Bama to win 34-24.

Alabama hands out season awards, 4 named permanent captains | AL.com

The team banquet was held in Birmingham to commemorate the 2014 season. A long list of awards were handed out ― none bigger than the permanent captain honor. Landon Collins, Amari Cooper, Jalston Fowler and Blake Sims will put their hands and feet in concrete next A-Day on the Walk of Champions.

It was one of four honors for Sims. The fifth-year senior quarterback also won most inspiring, the president's award and was co-offensive player of the year with Cooper.

I have had favorite players in the past.  I don't know that I've ever had a player make me feel this much pride, though.  I was at the front of the line when it came to writing off Blake.  What he has accomplished this year goes beyond simply proving us wrong.  There needs to be a stronger word than "wrong" for what we were.  I think I can say with all honesty - I've never been so happy to be wrong.

And the rest of these guys... I freaking love this team.  The chemistry, the closeness that this team has is palpable.  Early in the second quarter of the Mississippi State win, I watched from the stands as the players jumped around on the sideline.  I texted a buddy, "Watching this team get crunk on the sideline.  We are gonna win the NC."

We have seen Bama teams with this same level of talent.  We haven't seen this level of talent be able to be all business and tap into emotion like we've seen this year.

This team is a force.  And I miss the regular season already.

Unless he couldn't walk, Alabama freshman LT Cam Robinson was going to play against LSU | AL.com

"I probably wouldn't have been able to walk to keep me out of that game," Robinson said Saturday after Alabama beat Missouri 42-13 in the SEC Championship. This was the first time Robinson spoke to the media this season, as Alabama head coach Nick Saban doesn't let freshmen talk to reporters. However, the SEC allows an open locker room after its championship game and all players were made available.

Robinson had to come out of the Iron Bowl last week with a left shoulder injury, but returned to play against Missouri. He said the shoulder was "all right, just a little banged up."

Alabama has signed other highly-recruited offensive tackles under Saban, including 5-star Cyrus Kouandjio, but Robinson became the first one to start as a true freshman in Saban's head coaching career.

"The learning curve is still pretty big, but I feel like from the first game to this game, I've improved a great amount," Robinson said. "I feel like I've come a long way.

"I had high expectations for myself and for the team also. I just honestly worked hard every day and let what happened happen."

Best freshman lineman ever?  Honestly, we all hoped Robinson would be good, but did anybody expect the kid to play like a three-year starter all year?  Good grief, what a steal it was to get him from LSU.

Alabama RB Kenyan Drake opens up discussing gruesome broken leg and 'overwhelming' reponse | AL.com

Exactly eight weeks after breaking his leg at Ole Miss, the Alabama running back soaked it in Saturday evening. The Crimson Tide had just finished the clinical 42-13 beating of Missouri in the SEC Championship Game and Drake was a little sore. His walking boot came off Tuesday and the speedy back jogged onto the field with the team before kickoff.

"I'm kinda paying for it now," Drake said with a smile as his teammates received the championship hardware.

The junior went on to speak candidly about the horrific injury that ended a promising season early in Alabama's only loss of the season. First, however, he said there's no shot at returning for the playoff run. But he'll be back by spring "for sure," Drake said.

Get better, Drake.

Video

Nick Saban/Blake Sims post game interviews

Christion Jones post game