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The Jumbo Package | 09.08.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Has Saban ever looked more Belichick-y than in this picture?
Has Saban ever looked more Belichick-y than in this picture?
Scott Cunningham

First up, your weekly pick 'em update:

For week 2, Catch 5 had the most correct picks (30) out of all three groups, followed by Mountain renegade (29), and a four-way tie for third TouchDatThankFolk,  cap_spalding, Health Nut 256, and Blue-collar Bammer, who all had 28.

Catch 5 is your current overall leader, with 53 correct picks.

If you missed one (or both) of the last two weeks' picks, you are still in this, as the lowest two weeks are dropped from the total.  Good luck.

Freshman spotlight: 'Heisman moment' - SEC Blog - ESPN

OK, that had to be a first.

It was definitely LSU freshman Leonard Fournette’s first touchdown of his career. There’s no question about that. But Fournette’s striking the Heisman pose after the 4-yard run against Sam Houston State on Saturday might have made him the first player in college football history to raise his knee and throw the legendary stiffarm pose after his inaugural score.


Haden's sideline rant shows pitfalls of putting ADs on CFP committee -

Pat Haden did his job Saturday. That's the best place to start with what has become a nationwide scandal that shouldn't be.

Haden, Southern California's athletic director, advocated for his school and his football program Saturday at Stanford. He gets paid handsomely for that sort of conduct. We can argue about his level of zeal, but that's a separate discussion. Pat Haden's first priority should always be the condition of USC athletics. He is merely a volunteer for the new playoff selection committee.

As of now, that new affiliation is tainting -- however briefly -- an otherwise brilliant career.

Talking heads may try to spin this by asserting that we already knew that these members are biased, but make no mistake, this is a problem.  Yes, the committee has a recusal policy in place, which looks like this:

Recused committee members are allowed to answer only factual questions about their respective school affiliations, but aren't allowed in the room during any deliberations regarding that team's selection or seeding. The committee has the option to add other recusals.  (SOURCE)

It doesn't matter.  It's not a good look for a committee member to run down to the USC sideline to publicly argue with officials for the benefit of USC (and following the USC win, leap into Sarkisian's arms like an excited school girl).  If you think the guy that did all of that is going to do anything but vote in a way that helps USC (even tangentially), you're deluding yourself.

Was that always going to be the case?  I'm sure it was, but a display like that destroys the illusion for the public that we might get anything approaching objectivity from this committee.

College Football Rankings: Oregon and Alabama Split No. 2 Honors; LSU Moves Into Top 10 - Team Speed Kills

The Oregon-Alabama thing will all come out in the wash, particularly if both teams remain in the Top 4. The AP seems to be putting more stock into snap judgments this year than the coaches poll, and neither approach is necessarily wrong this early in the season. If the coaches poll is still doing things like disregarding strength of opponents and ranking Ohio State over Virginia Tech without anything in the interim to prove that the Buckeyes just had a bad night, it will bother me more. (Which is not to say that the latter doesn't bother me quite a bit right now, just that it's hard to get too excited about polls one way or the other after Week 2.

Bama dropped to #3 in the AP, but held the #2 spot in the Coaches poll, not that any of that matters, really.  We have a lot of football left to play, and neither of these polls is an official component of the selection process anymore.

CB Eddie Jackson's promising return comes at opportune time for Alabama secondary |

Jackson made multiple big hits, forced a fumble and allowed minimal passing yards on his side of the field in Saturday's rout of the Owls. He started in the spot previously occupied by Bradley Sylve and played close to every snap with the first-team defense.

"I didn't really try to think about the plays," Jackson said. "Whatever I could do to help the team as much as possible." Alabama coach Nick Saban had a plan to play Jackson 40 plays no matter the circumstances. Against West Virginia, that would have meant standing on the sidelines for nearly half of the game. Against FAU, Jackson didn't even hit the magic number by the time Alabama rolled out its second-team unit.

Say it with me, Eddie "Wrap.  Up."  It's called tackling.  It's like hugging, but angrier.

Alabama a massive betting favorite against Southern Miss |

The Crimson Tide opened as a massive 47-point favorite for Saturday's game against Southern Miss, according to oddsmaker Danny Sheridan. It's the largest spread Alabama's seen since, well, last season when it was a 54.5-point favorite over Georgia State and the second consecutive game in which it's favored by more than 40.

Yikes.  That's a ridiculous line.  If you put money on this game, I would like to invite you to seek help.

What we learned in the SEC: Week 2 - ESPN

3. Alabama's quarterback competition is ... complicated: We finally saw extensive work from Jake Coker, but we also saw a very efficient Blake Sims in Alabama's 41-0 win over FAU. So now what? Well, as my esteemed colleague Alex Scarborough said earlier, it's complicated. Sims finished the day with 214 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-13 passing. Coker threw for 202 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-24 passing. Sims did everything he was asked to do, but where Coker clearly has the advantage is throwing downfield. He has a cannon for an arm and might be the best solution down the road when it comes to facing better defenses, but he still struggled with directing the offense and failed to score close to the goal line just before halftime. He hasn't earned the starting job, and Sims is clearly ahead right now. Still, Coker will have every chance to win the job. Both get one more tuneup in Southern Miss before they host Florida.

Maybe it's just me, but after Saturday, the QB competition doesn't seem that complicated.  Does Coker have a bigger arm?  Clearly.  But from what I saw, there were other aspects in Jacob's game (slow delivery, delayed decision making on the longer plays, high variance of accuracy on short throws) that more than make up for his strong arm.  Add in the fact that it seems neither QB is capable of playing from the huddle, and it seems clear to me that we will sink or swim with Sims this year.

Also, I would note that I can't recall us running a single option play with Sims so far.  We know that is definitely in the playbook, because we saw it in garbage time last year. Unless Coker has a revelatory performance against Southern Miss this week, I would expect we'll see Sims against Florida, and I would expect to see the option package unveiled in that game.

Speaking of Florida, it seems not everything is great over there in Gainesville...

OT D.J. Humphries out 2-3 weeks with bone chip

Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries was injured in the first quarter of Florida's 65-0 win over Eastern Michigan, and the junior starter at left tackle will likely be out at least two to three weeks with a bone chip in his ankle. Humphries headed to the locker room midway through the first quarter and did not return.

"Injury-wise, D.J. Humphries is going to be (out) probably two weeks," coach Will Muschamp said. "He has a chip on his bone in his ankle, and it's not anything serious. There's no surgical issues there. We will know much more tomorrow, but (head athletic trainer) Paul (Silverstri) felt like it would be a two- to three-week situation. There's going to be some swelling and it's going to be sore, but no surgery is needed. He's going to be back."

That's the starting left tackle, who has to be considered questionable against Bama.

Muschamp: Florida TE Jake McGee out for season -

Will Muschamp confirmed after the game that transfer tight end Jake McGee suffered a broken tibia and fibula in his left leg and will miss the remainder of the season. "So disappointed for him, a guy that came in here and, very difficult to come into a situation for one year," Muschamp said. "He has done it as well as you can imagine ... It's extremely disappointing for him."

And that's the transfer tight end that they were hoping would turn into a major contributor in the passing game.  It always sucks to lose players.  To lose them in a blowout win against an overmatched opponent is just salt in the wound.