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Night Shift & Celebration Open Thread: Alabama slogs through an uninspired 31-3 win.

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Man, that was ugly.

NCAA Football: Chattanooga at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll be coming along later with the the Initial Impressions. But, for now, you can’t walk away from that one happy about anything except: 1. It was a win, and 2. there are no major injuries. This is to take nothing away from UT-Chattanooga. That is a very balanced, physical, and competent team. The Mocs did not make the trip to Tuscaloosa to get a paycheck and a 60-point beating. As desultory as Alabama played, Chattanooga played just as inspired given their talent and depth.

Tonight was the most utterly predictable effort and outcome — one you could see coming a week ago, no matter The Process and no matter Saban’s displeasure. There are 101, 18-23 year old college kids on this team, fully staffed with human nature, human motivation (and lack thereof,) and an understanding of their situation. They know the reality as much as we do: Short of losing this game, or ending on a three-game slide, Alabama had absolutely nothing to play for tonight. The Tide clinched the West with 25% of its regular schedule to play; with two games to play, the Tide knew its foe in Atlanta; and, given the parity and poopiness in college football this season, Alabama is as close to a “sure thing” for the playoffs as you’ll find.

So, a win is a win is a win. No one was hurt. And, more important than the final score was the extra week of practice that the Tide to work on its game plan for the Iron Bowl.

There are other games during the night shift as well. Most important are the No. 14 West Virginia - No. 7 Oklahoma matchup (a slaughter in progress, TBH,) and the Crosstown LA rivalry between two teams going very different directions, No. 13 USC at UCLA (9:30 Central.)

Leave your reactions and comments below. We’ll see you tomorrow, and Roll Tide.