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The Jumbo Package | 08.15.14

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Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Reviewing the First Night of the SEC Network - Team Speed Kills

A look back at the initial outing of the conference's channel: A three-hour showing of its flagship 'SEC Now' series

Unfortunately, I only watched about 15 minutes of the launch show last night, due to some other activities I had going, but being the football-starved addict that I am.  I have the whole three-hour-long shebang waiting for me on my dvr.  Reading thru this article, I'm actually excited to sit down and watch it.

And while it may end up being one of the worst things to ever happen to sports journalism, having a network filled with dyed in the wool SEC lovers as broadcasters certainly seems like it's going to make for excellent sports entertainment.

College Football Playoff Selection Committee Rules Are Good. They Could Be Better - Team Speed Kills

First, the committee added an item to the list of things it would consider that gives them an incredible amount of latitude to arbitrarily move teams around.

Other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

"Other relevant factors." If a Power 5 team had its long-snapper hurt and lost a game on a punt return, might that vault it over a non-contract team that has one fewer loss, even if the strength of schedule doesn't justify it? Who knows? Well, the selection committee, but that's about it.

QBs Blake Sims, Jacob Coker won't change routine at Alabama's 'game-like' 2nd scrimmage | AL.com

A question about how senior Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jacob Coker would be used at Saturday's scrimmage -- and how it may differ from the Crimson Tide's first scrimmage of preseason camp -- elicited Saban's briefest answer yet about the nationally chronicled quarterback battle.

"Nothing (different). Nothing. I mean, I don't know. What do you want me to say?" Saban said. "They're both going to take an equal number of snaps, just like they did last week. And if you keep asking questions about it, we probably won't give you their stats again."

Lulz.  It's hilarious how Saban responds to reporters exactly like an exasperated parent on a long road trip.

Alabama overtakes Florida State as Bovada's national title favorite - CBSSports.com

Last month, Alabama joined Florida State as co-favorites to win the 2014-15 national championship, according to Bovada. Both schools were then listed 11/2 on the board, but updated odds -- pointed out by Adam Kramer, BamaOnline247 and others -- were posted recently and show the Crimson Tide as the new favorite at 5/1.

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Alright, I'm going to need a gambler to explain this one to me.  Is this simply because money is coming in for Bama?  Because I definitely don't think anything has happened over the past few weeks that should suddenly shift things away from the prohibitive favorite FSU.

Is it crazy to think Blake Sims just might start the opening game for Alabama? | AL.com

Call me crazy, but I’m starting to think there’s a real chance Blake Sims might actually start at quarterback in Alabama’s opening game against West Virginia.

Blame that hunch on the latest puff of smoke from Nick Saban. During his first interview on the SEC Network - when he wasn’t exchanging an awkward hug with SEC analyst Marcus Spears, who played for Saban at LSU - the Alabama coach said something very interesting about his quarterback competition.

He said this: "Blake has really played well and probably developed into a more consistent player at that position than maybe I thought he could at some point in time."

Oh, good grief.  START THE SEASON ALREADY.  I can't take another two weeks of this mindless speculation.

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Alabama TE O.J. Howard a dangerous mismatch as a receiver, developing as a blocker | AL.com

"O.J. is really extremely talented, a guy who was more of a receiver last year, so we're working more with him about speed and his ability to do everything," Kiffin said.  "The last thing I want to do here is focus on what they do really well. That's our challenge here this fall.

"Let's focus on what you haven't done so well and not what you've done. We know what you can do, let's bring your game up. A good example of that is get a player who can play all of the time."

Alabama's experienced DBs multi-tasking while promising freshmen focus on 1 position | AL.com

There's little Nick Saban values more than versatility, particularly when it pertains to the position group he works with the most. That's why Saban's feeling better about the state of Alabama's defensive backs now than he did in 2013, when numerous players he knew would have a role were only able to grasp one position.

"A lot harder last year when all these guys were first-year players," Saban said. "When you have experienced players that have gotten a lot of turns and really understand the concepts, it helps your flexibility."

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