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Jumbo Package: Calm Before The Storm

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Alabama opens its conference schedule with a difficult matchup versus Ole Miss: For now, both camps are largely remaining silent.

Hello, Mr. Nysewander. Nice hit
Hello, Mr. Nysewander. Nice hit
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It's very odd. Ordinarily by Tuesday of a gameweek, you've got some locker room material, some sniping, maybe some backhanded compliments or smack-talking. But, not this week. Both teams are quietly, calmly going about their business, preparing for Saturday's conference opener.

I hate to compare it to the meteorologically-lame "calm before the storm," but there is little else to describe this collective breath-holding as the conference's two best defenses prepare to make life miserable on their inexperienced offensive counterparts.

Alabama/Louisiana-Monroe Set for 3 p.m. on SEC Network - ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletic Site

The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that Alabama’s game against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 26, will kick off at 3 p.m. (CT) and will be televised nationally on the SEC Network.

One of the worst losses of the Saban era looks to be avenged next Saturday at 3:00 CDT. This won't be particularly competitive, so may as well get it out of the way and get the kids in bed by sundown.

College football odds, Week 3: Ole Miss among the betting underdogs - SBNation.com

The Mississippi Rebels are 1-5 straight up and against the spread over their last six games on the road. The Rebels face one of the toughest road trips in all of college football this Saturday when they visit the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss is a 6.5-point road underdog ... The Crimson Tide are a perfect 29-0 SU in their last 29 games played in September.

Not touching this one with borrowed money.

How could Ole Miss star Laremy Tunsil's possible absence impact Alabama strategy? | AL.com

Tunsil, considered a future top 10 NFL Draft pick, missed Ole Miss' easy wins against Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State for "precautionary" reasons due to an ongoing NCAA inquiry. His absence forced Fahn Cooper to slide over to left tackle and redshirt freshman Sean Rawlings onto the starting lineup at right tackle

A journeyman at  LT and a redshirt freshman at RT doesn't seem to bode well for the Rebels who are starting a new QB and trying to establish anything resembling a running game.

Ex-top recruit Robert Foster off to strong start, emerging as playmaker for Alabama | AL.com

A starter in each of the Tide's first two games, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Foster is second on Alabama in catches with eight while his 99 yards are first among wide receivers. The two touchdown catches are a team-high.

With ArDarius seemingly doubled on every meaningful pass opportunity, it has cleared the way for other guys like Foster and Ridley to get some targets.

Cyrus Jones 'doesn't back down from nobody,' eager for another shot at Ole Miss | AL.com

"He's a great player and I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm sure the other guys are too," said Jones, a senior. "I don't back down from nobody so I'm excited to go out and compete." Treadwell caught five passes for 55 yards in last year's 23-17 upset win over Alabama. Coverage responsibilities were shared while Tony Brown was one-on-one with Treadwell on the 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter. "They beat us last year. It's going to be a tough game," Jones said. "It's not on our mind but it's in the back of our head and we want a chance to get back at these guys. They're coming in our house and we're just trying to get back at them like they did us."

Congratulations, Cyrus. Your assignment is to cover the best WR in football, a big fast dude who has you by six inches!

Alabama RB Kenyan Drake receives weekly honor | AL.com

Alabama senior running back Kenyan Drake was named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll Monday after accumulating 202 all-purpose yards and a touchdown during the Tide's 37-10 win over Middle Tennessee on Saturday. Drake was one of four players recognized on the Honor Roll, which is awarded weekly and recognizes the most versatile players in the country. Drake rushed for 40 yards on six carries. He had five catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, including a 69-yard catch-and-run on a fly sweep touch pass to help set up an early Derrick Henry touchdown run. Drake also had a 40-yard return on the game's opening kickoff.

If there is one difference in this game, it is Kenyan Drake. The loss of all-everything, Mr. Electric undoubtedly played a part in the Tide's loss in Oxford last season. This year, Alabama's will be as special as Drake is productive.

Practice Report: Alabama begins Ole Miss preparation - The Crimson White

The quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends each split up into two groups to work on passing drills. Short throws looked sharp, but long throws were occasionally overthrown. When longer passes were on target receivers had several drops.

The latter part cannot be overlooked. The QBs haven't had especial help from the WR corps who have broken off routes, dropped passes, and generally shown an inability to get separation when it matters.

Meyer on other conferences and schedules: Don't know. Don't care | College Football

Ohio State's Urban Meyer has a question for all those coaches who have complained about the Buckeyes' schedule: How do you know who the Buckeyes are playing? A few Southeastern Conference coaches have commented _ when asked _ about the Buckeyes' schedule. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema caused the biggest stir when he mentioned last week about how many teams on the Razorbacks' schedule were ranked and how few ranked teams Ohio State had on its slate. Arkansas then went out and lost to Toledo on Saturday and there were more than a few references to karma on social media. On Monday, Meyer was asked about conference perception and where he thinks the Big Ten stands. Meyer quickly shut down the question. "I don't have any idea. I don't know where people have time to do all that. I don't know anyone else's schedule. I don't care. I'm going to work on punt when I'm done here in a minute, and we'd better -- we have enough issues," he said. "I've been asked that question, did you hear what this guy said? I'm like, how did they say that? I don't know.

I'm calling BS. Coaches necessarily have to lobby for their squad. And, when you see 8-10 legitimate competitors who play brutal conference slates and pass a non-con challenge or two, juxtaposed next to the Buckeyes then of course those coaches are going to make comparisons between the teams...just like Urban did when he lobbied for his Gators in 2006.

Auburn has 3 fixable problems, but there's no time to waste. LSU's up next. - SBNation.com

It is early, but thus far Auburn has managed only eight rushes of 10-plus yards (91st in FBS), and the next rush of 30-plus will be the Tigers' first. There have been only two gains of 30-plus, period; that ranks the Tigers 98th, tied with Akron and Kent State among others. Auburn is breaking in a new combination up front. The Tigers had to replace last year's center (All-American Reese Dismukes), right guard (Chad Slade) and right tackle (Patrick Miller); the three had combined for 118 career starts.

Offensive line, luck and defensive depth -- Not sure how the Barn is supposed to right the ship since the central issue stems from recruiting, nor how to make Jeremy Johnson throw the ball to the right receiver, but talent and coaching sure aren't immediately fixable (like we've been telling you all along.) That team's success will always be predicated by a stout OL and a special running game -- neither of which look to be on track this season.

Finally,

What do you have to do to get fired as an AD? How about schedule a home game in Mexico City while refusing to talk to A&M about renewing the series....to save money.

Texas reportedly fires athletic director Steve Patterson after only 22 months - SBNation.com

Patterson's tenure has been marked by issues off the field, though. Texas president Gregory Fenves was reportedly close to firing Patterson just a day ago, and this past offseason, Patterson was reportedly told to "change his personal style" when it comes to dealing with boosters and coaches.

Patterson gained a reputation for being cheap. He cut free meals for Texas coaches, netting pretty much nothing (relatively) in savings. He also reportedly began charging opponents to bring their bands to games. Like ousted Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, he was seen as too corporate and business-like for the job.