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Jumbo Package Is Looking Ahead To Sparty

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The breakdowns of Michigan State-Alabama have begun, and the fallout from the coaching carousel is starting to be felt.

free piggy-back rides!
free piggy-back rides!
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This is SPARTY!

Connor Cook's health key to Cotton Bowl - ESPN Video

Adam Rittenberg previews the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic where Connor Cook's health with be a key to the Spartans' championship hopes.

Rittenberg is ESPN's main B1G beat reporter. Needless to say, he doesn't see much success for MSU without a healthy, on-point Connor Cook. That is a fair assessment.

Saban, Dantonio address CFP matchup - ESPN Video

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio preview the Tide vs. Spartans in the College Football Playoff.

If you missed the live discussion on Sunday, here are the two best curmudgeons in P5 ball discussing the playoffs and their seeding.

Tale of the Tape: Michigan State vs. Alabama - ESPN Video

SEC Network's Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland break down the difference makers for Alabama and Michigan State.

Good breakdown of the guys that we can expect to make plays or be the difference in Alabama's CFB semifinal versus Sparty in the Cotton Bowl.

Crootin'

Gordo 5-star linebacker Ben Davis has a No. 1 school, and it's probably not who you think | AL.com

Lyndell Wilson, a five-star linebacker from Carver-Montgomery, named Georgia among his top five recently. Now, Gordo five-star linebacker Ben Davis, the AL.com A-List No. 1 prospect, has a leader, and it's not Alabama or Auburn. It's Georgia. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Davis released his top five, in order, on Monday. The Alabama legacy (father Wayne is Alabama's career tackles leader) has Georgia leading Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Auburn, in that order.

This was what I feared the most -- Smart's impact on the recruiting trail. Safe to say that losing out on two in-state, blue-chip linebackers to Georgia would be brutal. Ben Davis in particular would be a tough pill to swallow. He's never declared that he's all-in on Alabama, but to see a kid from Gordo make a 5-hour commute to Athens, where he has a great relationship with Kirby, instead of 20 minutes to Tuscaloosa would really suck.

Nation's No. 3 prospect officially visiting Alabama | AL.com

One of the country's top prospects is on campus at Alabama for an official visit, a source confirmed to AL.com. The prospect is Dexter Lawrence, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle from Wake Forest, N.C. ... The five-star prospect is the nation's No. 3 prospect in the 247Sports composite and the No. 2 overall defensive tackle. With Alabama's chances at No. 1 overall prospect and top defensive tackle Rashan Gary maybe not as good, Lawrence is a key recruit in this cycle. He has also officially visited Florida, Ohio State and Clemson.

Now, this is a positive development. With Rashan Gary increasingly leaning elsewhere, and with the defensive line diaspora to the NFL this April, there is room for a playmaker. In a perfect world, Lawrence and Gary would both land...Alabama could use both an edge rusher and another A'Shawn-type tackle/end prospect.

Hate you, Kirby

Will Scott Cochran be joining Kirby Smart at Georgia? | AL.com

Smart said Monday Cochran is "a good friend of mine" and implied he is pursuing Cochran to Georgia, as sources have told AL.com, but purposefully avoided making any promises. "I don't know if Scott Cochran will be joining my staff or not," Smart said. "Right now Scott Cochran is working for the University of Alabama and he's doing the best job he can there. He's trying to win a national championship."

We've been getting increasing signals from Tuscaloosa that Cochran may be at the Capstone for a while. Alabama can offer him the money, autonomy, cache and championship opportunities that UGA simply lacks at the moment.

Kirby Smart's first Georgia hire is Alabama's secret defensive guru | AL.com

Schumann is a critical figure behind the scenes in putting together Alabama's defensive gameplan. Kirby Smart respects him so much that Schumann is his first official hire as Georgia head coach. "He knows our system," Smart said. "He has been part of the process over there. He really knows the process and understands what I want. He's really been my right-hand man for I guess 4-5 years now over there. He's been an asset for the organization."

Win some, lose some. This is a key loss both in the long-term and immediately. Schumann has already departed for Athens, and will not be assisting Smart and the defensive staff for the playoffs. Damn.

Miscellany

Alabama Crimson Tide's influence felt in Heisman race - College Football Nation Blog- ESPN

The Heisman Memorial Trust has compelled the Heisman Trophy voters to keep their final decision a secret until the winner is named Saturday night. As a voter who has had Alabama tailback Derrick Henry first on my mock ESPN ballot for the last five weeks, here’s what I struggled with: Henry broke the SEC rushing record of the sainted Herschel Walker; Stanford tailback Christian McCaffrey broke the FBS all-purpose yards record of the sainted Barry Sanders. You can argue which is more impressive, but answer me this: If Henry had broken a national record and McCaffrey a Pac-12 record, would there even be a discussion? My point: They cast long shadows in Tuscaloosa.

Maisel has a point if you're thinking the helmet has the most value. I'd still argue that Henry has had a much tougher road, and didn't have the benefit of return yards. His records were phenomenal this year. In one season, King Henry shattered Herschel's record for yards on 65 fewer carries, broke Alabama's season rushing record, broke Alabama's season TD record, and broke the SEC's record for consecutive games with a touchdown scored -- all while being a team captain, a great teammate, a phenomenal blocker, a leader in the weight room, and earning his degree. We're not talking shabby competition either. Henry has etched himself in record books where only Tim Tebow, Bo Jackson, and Herschel Walker have dared to tread.