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Jumbo Package: Is there a trap game on Alabama's schedule? Also #NeverDabo is born.

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We've talked about Alabama's road schedule, some see the home opener as the trap game.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama: vs. Western Kentucky, Sept. 10

Sandwiched between the two [vs. USC, at Ole Miss] is a tricky contest against a Western Kentucky squad that's far from a pushover. The Hilltoppers, coached by Jeff Brohm, boast a unique offense that slings the ball all over the field, can jump on opponents early and have become accustomed to winning after enjoying a 12-2 season a year ago. They have to replace the production of former quarterback Brandon Doughty, but the team has a veteran group around the eventual winner of the quarterback battle.

I'm not sure that you can call a conference-winning, top-25 team a "trap"  exactly, but if there's one lurking on the non-con schedule it's this. Let's be realistic: WKU is not going to beat Alabama, but the Hilltoppers can score in droves, and the secondary is going to be greatly tested for 60 minutes after WKU launches the ball 55-60 times

NFL finds 'no credible evidence' to support report of HGH use by Peyton Manning | AL.com

a pharmacist recorded with a hidden camera said Manning received human growth hormone from an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic to help him recover from the neck injury that caused him to miss the 2011 NFL season. In its release, the NFL said: "Following a comprehensive seven-month investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America, the NFL found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning was provided with or used HGH or other substances prohibited by the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances."

This had one, and only one, outcome: The NFL was not going to throw its record-holding, legendary, recently-retired ubermensch under the bus. No way, no how...and that's despite the fact that Pey Pey's fivehead grew as an adult and he bounced back from cervical spinal fusion -- while pushing 40 years old -- to have an MVP season. Nope, not at all suspicious there, Goodell.

Houston Texans release former Alabama wide receiver | AL.com

If Richard Mullaney is going to make an NFL roster in training camp, the former Alabama wide receiver will have to do it somewhere besides Houston. The Texans released the rookie on Monday, the NFL team announced.

Mullaney was always facing an uphill struggle. He has a limited skills set, but does make the most of them. Mullaney has to be particularly disappointed with Houston, as the Texans were a pretty good fit for the Oregon State/Alabama alum. Over the next month, we'll be updating you on 'Bama players in the pros, which is always a bittersweet prospect.

AL.com All-Access: Who are Alabama, Auburn's best players heading into fall camp? | AL.com

Alabama 1. Cam Robinson, LT — Robinson plays arguably the second most-important position on the position on the field (after quarterback). Now that he's healthy and unlikely to be suspended, could rack up the individual awards this season.

I don't think there's any doubt here. Since he stepped foot on campus, it's been assumed by  fans, draftniks and football talking heads that Robinson was a three-year, game-one starter just biding his time 'til he was a top-five NFL Draft pick. He's done nothing to upset that trajectory, and NFL GMs are rightly going to dismiss that bulls*** Louisiana arrest for what it was...Louisiana bulls***.

Halfway to National Signing Day 2017, Ohio State is still ahead of Alabama - SBNation.com

It’s been seven years since anybody other than Alabama signed the top class in the country. The Crimson Tide are the best in show every year. But now, they’re ranked No. 2 behind Ohio State, though it is close. Based on the 247Sports Composite’s average player ratings, Ohio State has a higher average star rating as well, with a 4.1 average vs. a 3.8 (Alabama has one more three-star recruit and is using a scholarship on a long-snapper).

Alabama dropped a schollie on a three-star long-snapper, which is made to seem like that's a bad thing star-wise in the article. The way I look at it is this: Since most specialists are unranked, or are give a very low rating, how bad ass is a three-star long-snapper? BAD. ASS.

Anyway, whether Alabama finishes the "contest" first or second or fifth, the difference between the top 6-8 schools is razor thin in any event. USC and Alabama and LSU and Ohio State all have very different teams, but almost no discernible difference in how talented they are.

If USC holds up in the trenches, the Trojans can compete with Alabama - SBNation.com

The Trojans are in a bit of a bind after seeing their defensive tackle rotation depleted between graduation and the NFL, then rocked when prospective starter Kenny Bigelow tore his ACL in spring practice. What’s more, the Trojans will be leaning on sophomore inside linebacker Cameron Smith, 210-pound weak-side linebacker Quinton Powell and a secondary without a DB heavier than 200 pounds to hold up between the tackles.

With a star-studded cast of coverage specialists like Adoree’ Jackson and Iman Marshall, USC coordinator Clancy Pendergast will try and outnumber the Tide at the point of attack by dropping a safety or nickel toward the line of scrimmage or playing base 5-2 defense whenever possible.

This game is not going to be a light 'em up, shoot 'em out affair, at least as far as Alabama is concerned. You have the nation's best corner tandem facing a new starter (hell, one that could even be a redshirt or true freshman) but that same team has a dumpster fire along the defensive line. By god, that's Bo Scarbrough's music, and summons from us all a familiar refrain: #RTDBL

Nick Saban has the highest praise for Clemson's Deshaun Watson | FOX Sports

Alabama will be starting a new quarterback in 2016 now that Jake Coker has moved on to the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, and only one of the Crimson Tide's current four candidates to take over has game experience. Needless to say,

Saban isn't expecting Alabama's next QB to match Watson's production. "I don't care who plays quarterback for us. He ain't gonna be that good."

1. That is a true statement, 2. That is also an implicit challenge to Alabama's quarterbacks to elevate their game, 3. But, yeah, he didn't say anything about NEXT year, when Tua Tagovailoa gets on campus, did he? GUMP GUMP GUMP

Five Questions: Alabama football Cooper Bateman Jalen Hurts Blake Barnett David Cornwell Nick Saban

2.] Is it now or never for Barnett?

While I wouldn't go that far, with Hurts entering the fray, it would certainly be in Barnett's best interest to make a strong move in August. As long as he leaves camp ahead of the other freshman in the race, Barnett should feel good about his prospects for the future. Barnett is pretty much in the same spot Bateman was in a year ago. In other words, if he enters the season as the top backup behind either of the two veterans, he could be in line for a shot sooner rather than later. The one thing Barnett won't want to be come Labor Day weekend is behind Hurts.

That is an interesting question, and one we've talked about here (but which grows more pressing with recent UA QB commitments.) Barnett is young, but with Hurts turning heads, and with Mac Jones and Tagovailoa arriving next spring, could it be that we see BB8 transfer if he doesn't get the nod at some point this season? Would you?

Alabama football: Freshman linebacker announces he'll transfer | Sports | annistonstar.com

Alabama continued its roller-coaster summer Sunday, as freshman outside linebacker Christian Bell announced his plans to transfer. Bell is the fourth Alabama player to attempt to transfer since the team wrapped up spring practice in April. He posted the news of his decision on his Twitter account @BELL_ringerr. "First, I want to thank the University of Alabama for the opportunity they gave me to be a student-athlete, and I wanna also thank my teammates for many unforgettable moments," Bell said in the tweet. "I also would like to thank my family and friends for the support they gave me during this time.

Speaking of transfer, Christian Bell is bugging out. It doesn't sound like it was acrimonious, so I have no idea why. The OLB/DE from Hoover is quite bright, and though just three stars, had quite a few offers from some very good schools (football factories or academic powerhouses and then Alabama). Good luck.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney vehemently defends keeping kickoffs in football | FOX Sports

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT:

Read this, complete with the awesome non-sequitur presented as a conclusion.

"But at the end of the day, you can strap up, put seatbelts on and we've got airbags, we've got all these things, we've made technology so much better, cars are built better, but a car is still a car, and it's still dangerous. "And that's kind of where football [is]. we've made great strides based on things that we've learned through the game to make this game better and safer. And I think we always have to do that. But at the end of the day, it's football. And to take away the kickoff out, that's a huge part of the game."

Now, compare the subtle phrasing and thoughtful answer in Nick Saban's remarks on kickoffs below.

I’m a traditionalist, so I would hate to see them change, or take out the kickoff or change rules that would significantly impact the game. But when it comes to player’s safety, I think that trumps all of the above. Maybe move the yard line where you get more kicks kicked out of the end zone (…) There is strategy involved in kickoffs and kickoff returns that is pretty significant to the game, but again, player’s safety trumps it all. There may be other ways to solve the problem so you can still kick an onside kick or do something that doesn’t change the strategy of the game as much."

Now, re-read Dabo's "DADGUMMIT, A CAR'S STILL DANGEROUS AND SO'S FOOZBAWL, DON' CHANGE IT" hayseed word salad.

The day will come soon when Coach Saban retires, and we shall hear Dat Boy's name mentioned in conjunction with the Alabama vacancy. I am just promising you now, I shall lead the vanguard against him.

#NeverDabo is officially born. Who's with me?