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The Jumbo Package | 09.15.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

First off, your College Pick 'em results.  This week, the kpatt24 lead the pack, correctly picking 21 out of 33 games.  Acinum, dctBama and Bama Rick were all all close behind with 20 correct picks.  Catch 5 is still your overall leader, with 30 points (after the lowest two scores are dropped).  If you've missed a couple of weeks, remember that the lowest two weeks are dropped, so you are still in it.  Good luck.

College Football Rankings: AP Poll Puts Five SEC West Teams in Top 10 - Team Speed Kills

There are now five SEC teams in the AP Top 10, all from the SEC West -- No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Auburn, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 LSU and No. 10 Ole Miss. There are only four such teams in the coaches Top 10, with Ole Miss sitting around at No. 12. At some point, of course, those teams are going to start playing each other, some of them are going to start losing and those teams are going to start falling. The SEC East just got a bit of a head start on that with the Gamecocks' win over the Bulldogs.

Four Downs: Alabama's turnover dearth, Blake Sims' feet, Landon Collins, Clint Trickett |

Because first impressions mean so much, the majority of fans will remember how easily Southern Miss moved down the field on its opening possession and ignore the fact that Alabama, outside of a few plays here and there, pretty much bottled up the Golden Eagles for the rest of the game. Alabama has allowed just one offensive touchdown through three games. Even against inferior competition -- and considering that one of those offenses is currently ranked among the best in the nation -- that's pretty darn good.

That's why, for this particular segment, we're going to briefly ignore the fact that Alabama is allowing an average of 220 passing yards per game, a total that's good for seventh in the SEC. Yes, we're aware the Crimson Tide was no worse than 10th in the nation in pass defense for all three of its national championship seasons under Nick Saban.

Nick Saban not ready to name top QB after Blake Sims starts again, gains comfort |

Junior Amari Cooper, the nation's leading receiver, had another huge night with 135 yards on eight catches and a touchdown. He had a more definitive answer about the race.

"Obviously Blake is our starting quarterback right now," Cooper said. "He's playing more than Coker is playing. He's playing well. Both of them are playing well. They're doing everything coach (Lane) Kiffin is asking them to do."

I'm glad somebody is being realistic.  I don't know if Saban is trying to play a shell game with Muschamp, or if he's just being plainly antagonistic with the media at this point, but it is obvious that Sims is our starting quarterback.

Alabama secondary reacts to mixed bag performance, prepares for a half without Nick Perry |

After a relatively stress-free game against Florida Atlantic, it served as a reminder that there's still plenty to shore up before next week's SEC opener against Florida.

"Defensively, I thought we played well, but I also thought that we gave up too many plays that are the kinds of stops we're going to need to make in the future," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Those turn out to be explosive plays where we're in pretty good position and should be able to make a play."

A secondary that was already missing defensive back Jarrick Williams (foot) will be without starting free safety Nick Perry for next week's first half. Perry was ejected during Saturday's third quarter for targeting and, per NCAA rules, will be forced to sit out the equivalent of a full game.

I thought the secondary actually did ok this week.  I still would like to see our corners try to look back for the ball every once in a while, but on the whole, I thought we looked ok.  Want to know what worried me more than the secondary?  The first play of the game, when DePriest was "covering" a drag route by trailing a good 3-5 yards behind the guy.

Too much Amari Cooper? Nick Saban wants Alabama's other playmakers involved, too |

The focus for this particular case is Alabama's 52-12 rout of Southern Miss, but it's been a pattern from the very first series of the season against West Virginia, when Cooper was targeted on three of the four pass plays. Against Florida Atlantic, he was targeted on 10 of the first 13 throws.

"I think we need to get more people involved offensively," Saban said. "Coop's had a great start here, but we have other guys that are capable players."

Through three games, Cooper is among the nation's leaders with 33 receptions for 454 yards. The rest of Alabama's roster has 35 catches for 440 yards.

Oklahoma defense 'without a doubt' a 'bigger test than Alabama,' Dana Holgorsen says |

By talking up Oklahoma's defense, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen knocked Alabama's down a peg during a Sunday interview with's Bruce Feldman. "We already played two good defenses this season in Alabama and Maryland, and without a doubt Oklahoma is a bigger test than Alabama,"Holgorsen told "Alabama was damn good on defense last season, but they lost a few people. Oklahoma was damn good on defense last season and they really didn't lose anybody."

We'll see.

Alabama a healthy favorite to beat Florida after Gators' triple-overtime scare from Kentucky |

The Gators struggled to beat Kentucky in triple overtime in advance of coming to Tuscaloosa for a 2:30 p.m. Saturday game. That likely factored into Alabama being pegged a 15.5-point favorite to beat the Florida, according to handicapper Danny Sheridan.

The Wynn casino had Alabama a 19-point favorite in its initial offering before dipping to 18 points. VegasInsider had Alabama a 17.5-point favorite when its line opened Sunday afternoon.

Too many points.  Yes, Florida struggled against Kentucky.  If you're expecting a blowout this week, though, I fear you are going to be sadly mistaken.  This game will mark the first real defensive test that Bama has faced, and there is no way of knowing how we will respond.  Add to that a couple defensive concerns of our own, and you'd be crazy to lay money on a three-score victory.


Nick Saban post game press conference

Blake Sims post game interview

Landon Collins post game interview

Amari Cooper post game interview

Cyrus Jones post game interview

Brian Vogler post game interview