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Jumbo Package: Cotton Bowl Aftermath

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What is the media saying after Alabama's dismantling of the Spartans?

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Saban just never has any fun.
Saban just never has any fun.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year, everyone!

Plenty of well-earned praise is being heaped upon your Crimson Tide football team this morning. We will have you covered leading up to the National Championship Game, but for now, enjoy these links and savor a sweet victory.

How Lane Kiffin and Alabama outsmarted Michigan State in Cotton Bowl | FOX Sports

"They had a month to prepare for the Heisman Trophy winner," said Kiffin. "... They’re a run-stopping defense anyway, we’d seen that on tape, that’s what they were going to do." So Henry did not even touch the ball on 'Bama’s first possession. Instead, Coker spent about a quarter-and-a-half dinking and dunking — bubble screens and quick outs, sideline to sideline — in an attempt to loosen up the Spartans’ stout front seven. "We knew it was going to be difficult for us to run against Michigan State," said Saban. "... So we knew that we would have to throw the bubbles and the smokes and the outside perimeter stuff to be able to move the ball effectively.

Cotton Bowl takeaways: Alabama dominates on defense ... and offense

The Tide were physical and punishing and all the other adjectives we’ve seen thrown around all season long. For much of the game, Michigan State’s total rushing yardage was negative, as the running backs could not get in any sort of rhythm against the Bama front. The Spartans receivers struggled mightily, too, against Alabama’s secondary, dropping passes they normally don’t and not helping Cook out one bit. The Crimson Tide tallied four sacks and pressured Cook all night long. They bullied Michigan State’s offensive line and set the tone up front. In short, they did exactly what they’ve done to opponents all year.

Alabama steamrolls Michigan State 38-0 in Cotton Bowl | Dr. Saturday - Yahoo Sports

Thanks to a late second-quarter interception from Michigan State QB Connor Cook, Alabama headed into the halftime locker room with a comfortable 10-0 lead. Comfortable turned to insurmountable over the third quarter, as the Tide scored 21 points to snuff out any Michigan State hopes of a comeback. Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones made the lead 24-0 on a 57-yard punt return with 3:19 to go in the quarter. The Spartans responded with a three-and-out and rather than give the ball to Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, Alabama and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin went up and over the Michigan State defense on the first play.

AL.com instant analysis: How Alabama crushed Michigan State, skipped in Playoff title game | AL.com

Ring out the old and Alabama's going West. A suffocating defense, Jake Coker's right arm and a little bit of Cyrus Jones sent the Crimson Tide past Michigan State and onto the College Football Playoff Championship. Top-ranked Clemson is next.

Alabama QB Jake Coker ignites playoff rout of Michigan State - College Football - SI.com

Coker responded to Michigan State’s dare by combining with the suffocating Bama defense to crush the Spartans 38–0. He completed 25 of 30 attempts for 286 yards with two touchdowns. Coker, as is his custom, took zero credit for his dissection of one of the nation’s best defenses. He deflected most of it to freshman receiver Calvin Ridley, who caught eight passes for 138 yards with two scores. "We’ve just got a lot of athletes on the outside, and Calvin did a great job of getting open and making plays," Coker said. "He makes things a lot easier on me—a lot easier than it should be. He’s one heck of a player. So are all the other guys out there, man. They just got open and made plays and made me look better than I should have."

Michigan State vs. Alabama - Game Recap - December 31, 2015 - ESPN

"I think last year when we came to this game, we were just happy to take part in the game," said Saban, who improved to 9-0 against his former assistants, with all nine wins coming by double digits. "I think this year we wanted to sort of take the game and really thought our guys had a vision of what they wanted and everybody paid the price for what they had to do in preparation." The Tide took it but not the way they had done for so much of this season -- at least offensively. Instead of pounding away at a Michigan State defense that was stacked to stop Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry from running wild, Alabama aired it out.

Derrick Henry quiet after Cotton Bowl win over Michigan State | AL.com

"It was a great game by our offense, playing fast and finishing strong," Henry said in an interview with a Cotton Bowl media representative. "Great job by our quarterback; our receivers did a great job. Our offensive line played as a whole." Henry did have two scores, extending his national-best 19-game streak with at least one touchdown. His longest run was a 14-yarder and he caught one pass for a six-yard loss.

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Clemson Tigers for College Football Playoff title is a glorified SEC title game

At this juncture in college football history the Tide is the sport's Death Star. Alabama's longstanding dominance and seemingly superior talent as well as its often dour head coach force the program to don black hats. Meanwhile, Clemson and colorful, quotable, dancing-king coach Swinney are the upstarts, the free spirits, the good guys. The Tigers' only national championship came in 1981, and only this season did we learn via Swinney that "Clemsoning" -- aka Clemson finding bizarre ways to lose -- is no longer a thing.

Alabama vs. Clemson: Your College Football Playoff Championship matchup snapshot - SBNation.com

No. 1 Clemson has been praised for its balance, and for good reason. Dabo Swinney's undefeated Tigers are solid in rush offense, pass offense, rush defense and pass defense. They may not be spectacular in all four facets, but there is no obvious weakness. No. 2 Alabama, on the other hand, is playing vintage Nick Saban football. The Crimson Tide are competent in the passing game, great at running the football, and nearly unbeatable on defense. Alabama is first nationally in rushing yards allowed, and if the Cotton Bowl was any indication, they are somehow improving.

We will close with Henry's shining moment of the game. You didn't think he'd go the whole game without a highlight, did you?

That is a senior defensive end getting tossed around like a sock puppet, folks.

Enjoy your holiday filled with college football, black-eyed peas and collard greens.

Roll Tide.