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Jumbo Package: Friday, 24 June 2016

Crimson Tide news and notes.

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. With six weeks or so until the beginning of fall camp, the prognosticators are starting to ramp up the prognostication. Two writers are floating the possibility of the SEC getting two teams into the playoff:

Phil Steele predicts two SEC West teams in College Football Playoff; Here's how |

That's right. Two teams from a conference among the top 4 in the country, and one of them doesn't even play in the conference title game. "I went out of the box," Steele told The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 in Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday. "This is the third year of the playoffs. Everyone just assumes it will be one team per conference. But I think this year, Alabama and LSU are so loaded that the SEC can get two teams into the playoffs."

College Football Playoff: two bids for any conference?

There’s one more interesting scenario that could result in two SEC teams in the semifinals. While the clearest route to multiple playoff bids is a one-loss division runner up, an SEC divisional crossover game presents another possibility. Alabama travels to Tennessee on Oct. 15, a matchup featuring two playoff contenders and the favorites of the SEC West and SEC East, respectively. If Tennessee were to win that game and go undefeated in the regular season but lose a rematch to the Tide in the SEC Championship Game, the playoff selection committee could be faced with a nightmare scenario.

Tennessee is getting all kinds of love this offseason, but count me skeptical when it comes to the Vols actually winning the conference. Yes, they return a bunch of starters from a team that pushed Oklahoma and Alabama to the brink last season. They also return a bunch of starters from a team that lost at home to Arkansas, and were pushed to the brink themselves by an imploding UGA team that lost its star player on the first play of the game and a Sun-Belt-quality South Carolina bunch.

No, if two SEC teams were to make the playoff, it would likely be two teams from the nation's toughest division, aka the SEC West. A one-loss runner up would likely have a strong case, particularly if the runner-up is an Alabama team whose only loss came against an undefeated SEC Champion. In a completely unrelated note, this season's national championship game is scheduled for 1/9...

So, what say you? Can the SEC get two teams into the playoff? Vote and talk about it in the comments.

LSU and Alabama neck-and-neck in 2016 football coaching staff salaries |

This upcoming season comparing the salaries of the nine full-time assistants on each staff, LSU will outspend Alabama $5,415,000 to $4,611,333. If you include the salaries of each school's strength coach, LSU still holds a slight edge $5,730,000 to $5,136,333. Only when add the salaries of head coaches Les Miles of LSU and Nick Saban of Alabama does Alabama jump ahead of the Tigers in salary spending $12,036,33 to $10,030,000.

If you want to win in big-time college football, you'd better spend some money on the coaching staff. The bulk of the discrepancy in the assistant salaries comes at offensive coordinator, where Cam Cameron is earning approximately double Lane Kiffin's salary, which is of course boosted by his USC buyout. LSU also overpaid for a DL coach in order to bring in Ed Orgeron, which was a shrewd move on their part. He has already paid huge dividends on the recruiting trail.

Nick Saban's surprising favorite movie pick, 13 other facts you might not know |

-- Story about being hired as Michigan State assistant was next to photo of Bear Bryant preparing to coach his final game. — Dec. 23, 1982, Detroit Free Press

This is a really interesting series on Saban's rise to the top. This particular nugget is an amazing find. Destiny is real, y'all.

Several schools aggressively pursuing Alabama grad transfer Maurice Smith |

Helping both Georgia and Maryland are relationships Smith has from his time with the Tide. New Georgia coach Kirby Smart was previously Alabama's defensive coordinator. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was the Tide's defensive backs coach last season. New Maryland defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim was on Alabama's staff in 2014 and last year.

An opportunity to reunite with Smart and Tucker would seem to be a natural fit for Mo.

Nation's top long snapper Thomas Fletcher commits to Alabama |

Thomas Fletcher, a snapper from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., committed to Alabama on Thursday. He grew up and spent most of his life in Vancouver, Wash., near Portland, Ore., before moving to Georgetown, Texas last summer with his family and then transferring to the IMG Academy in January. He plans to be an early graduate and enroll at Alabama in January.

Saban has certainly put more emphasis on recruiting specialists in recent seasons.

Alabama football's Mount Rushmore: Two coaches and a free-for-all in Tuscaloosa -

Derrick Thomas, linebacker, 1985-88: At a school where defense rules, Thomas is Alabama's greatest defensive player ever and belongs on Mount Rushmore. It was an absolute joke that it took Thomas until 2014 to get inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, more than a decade after he was first eligible. He is arguably the greatest pass-rushing outside linebacker of his generation -- not just in college but also in the NFL, where the Pro Football Hall of Fame honored him in 2009. Thomas' college stats are still mind-blowing: 52 career sacks, 27 sacks and 44 quarterback hurries in 1988. To put that in perspective, Alabama's famously stingy 2011 defense had 30 sacks total that year. Thomas sacked the quarterback 27 times in one year.

This writer says that Thomas and John Hannah would join Bryant and Saban on Alabama's Mount Rushmore. What say you?

Is helmet communication coming to college football?

There is agreement on the benefits of such technology, which has been in use by NFL teams for more than two decades; the league allowed coach-to-quarterback communication beginning in 1994 and implemented the same technology between coaches and a defensive player in 2008. Coaches who discussed the topic with USA TODAY Sports were universal in their desire for similar technology in the college game, if only as a way to combat a sideline pursuit: stealing an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, which Alabama coach Nick Saban called "one of the biggest issues in college football."

Of course it's a big issue in college football. Why do you think we hired Tyler Siskey?

Lastly, check out this atrocity:

Didn't win the conference, didn't make the playoff, lost to a 3-9 Georgia Tech, but by god they won the state title. Have mercy, Jimbo.

That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.