Here's all you need to know about the gap between Alabama and the rest of the SEC, a gap that still exists, a gap that can't be closed in 60 minutes on any given Saturday.
Alabama is playing an Ole Miss program Saturday that's won their last two meetings. It's the first double-revenge game for the Crimson Tide in five years. That one came in the BCS Championship Game.
Ask LSU how it turned out.
And LSU really hasn't been the same since. Nick Saban has a history of beating programs who then take a nosedive for an indeterminate amount of time (see: Texas, Virginia Tech, Tennessee). Ole Miss has been (relatively) on top of the world the last two years, and it is high time for that to change. I don't just want Alabama to finally shake that monkey off their back, but for them to beat the Rebel-Landshark-Bears so soundly that their program takes years to recover.
I'm going to go with ArDarius Stewart, mostly because of the attention Ole Miss will devote to fellow receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end O.J. Howard. Very quietly, Stewart has had a strong start to the season with nine catches for a team-high 203 yards and three touchdowns.
With Ole Miss a bit shaky in the secondary due to some inexperience and nagging injuries, Stewart could be the man who takes advantage of one-on-one matchups and gets quarterback Jalen Hurts comfortable in what likely will be his first road start.
"If we all do what we are supposed to do better, that is going to take a lot of pressure off whoever is playing quarterback," head coach Nick Saban said, according to RollTide.com. "I think that is the more significant issue for us right now in terms of how we improve on offense."
Stewart is one of those guys who not only has the talent to do that, but will be in situations to do so. Alabama will establish the run with Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris, and Hurts will connect with Stewart early and often over the top in one-on-one coverages to send him north of 100 yards for the day and be the difference-maker in Alabama's first win over Ole Miss since 2013.
Barrett Sallee is really letting his gump loose over at Bleacher Report. As a whole, I don't care too much for Bleacher Report, but Sallee has put out some pretty quality work relating to Alabama and the SEC over the years.
ArDarius Stewart has been huge so far this year. You can tell that he is Jalen Hurts' most trusted safety blanket at this point. He leads Alabama in receiving yards, and I think I saw somewhere that he leads the entire SEC. After spending the last four years struggling to learn the receiver position enough to support his pure athleticism, it's awesome to see him really start fulfilling that potential.
Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts skyrocketed up the board after only two games and his first college start. The Channelview, Texas, native is tied for ninth in terms of odds to win the Heisman at 25/1, according to Bovada.
Hurts is tied with Georgia running back Nick Chubb, Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Just behind Hurts at 33/1 odds is running back Damien Harris. The former five-star tailback is tied with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
Sophomores Bo Scarbrough and Calvin Ridley were early candidates to win the Heisman back in March, according to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. They are still on the list, just a little farther down at 50/1 and 40/1 odds, respectively.
If you think any of these four guys have a chance, go ahead and bet now. If one is going to win, he's likely only going to rise from here. With the emergence of Stewart, I wouldn't place my money on Ridley, no matter how good he is. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough will likely work against each other unless one gets injured.
That leaves Hurts. Do I think he's going to be great and win all the Heismans? Obviously. But placing money on a true freshman after only two games? I might be careful before jumping the gun...
"Here, it's all about winning," Cooper said. "That's what we want to do. That's what we've been preparing to do. I knew it myself that we would go for 2. We didn't want to settle for less."
Amari ain't nothin' but a winner.
He also had a monster night with 137 yards in his second NFL season. Alabama already has arguably the best receiver in the NFL with Julio Jones. With a little time, Cooper could soon rise up to that echelon too.
Five-star linebacker and top Tide target Dylan Moses has set his commitment date for Dec. 15, according to his Twitter account.
The Baton Rouge native that's currently playing from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., named Alabama his leader at the end of 2015 before saying Texas was on top in the spring. The elite 'backer will take an official visit to Tuscaloosa on Oct. 1 for the Kentucky game, which will mark his first time on campus since the spring.
In an interview conducted over the weekend with Geaux247's Sonny Shipp, Moses says he's in frequent contact with Alabama.
"I was just talking with Coach Tosh Lupoi the linebackers coach, this morning, Face Timing," Moses told Shipp. "We have a great relationship over there."
The Dylan Moses mystery continues. Someone of that size and athleticism is a tantalizing prospect, but I still don't really see him ending up at Alabama. He's definitely a difficult player to get a read on.
** LaBryan Ray, DE, Madison, Ala. - The state's top prospect has Alabama and Ole Miss in his top six and is planning to be in Oxford this weekend. Most feel Ray is an Alabama lean.
** Cam Akers, RB, Clinton, Miss. - Now the nation's No. 8 prospect, the five-star was committed to Alabama throughout his junior year. It looks like an Ole Miss-Ohio State battle.
** D.D. Bowie, WR, Morton, Miss. - He's kind of a forgotten recruit among Alabama circles, but Bowie was committed to Alabama for a few months prior to his junior season and flipped to Ole Miss midway through last fall. He's Mississippi's No. 2 prospect. Alabama should do fine at the receiver position this year.
** Trey Smith, OL, Jackson, Tenn. - The nation's No. 20 prospect and five-star offensive tackle, Smith has Alabama and Ole Miss in his top six but seems to be trending toward Tennessee.
** Willie Gay, LB, Starkville, Miss. - Gay was high on Alabama this spring, but those emotions tailed off and the four-star eventually committed to Ole Miss.
** Isaiah Buggs, DL, Perkinston, Miss. - The nation's No. 2 junior college prospect at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Buggs has Alabama and Ole Miss in his top four with Auburn and LSU. This seems like a close battle among all four.
** Jacob Phillips, LB, Nashville, Tenn. - The four-star linebacker is scheduled to officially visit Alabama for the Kent State game. Ole Miss has some 247Sports crystal ball predictions, but the Rebels aren't on his official visit list. Oregon, Oklahoma, Notre Dame (this weekend) and LSU are, along with Alabama.
Much was made last recruiting cycle about the Tide struggling to win commits out of Mississippi. Cam Akers was a big loss, but can you really expect him to want to come to Alabama with Najee Harris and Brian Robinson already committed. If we can hang on to those two backs, I'll be happy.
Isaiah Buggs is probably the most important player on this list. Next season, the Tide defensive line will consist of Da'Ron Payne, D'Shawn Hand, and ???. There isn't a whole lot sitting in reserves behind the current starters. a top JUCO defensive lineman would be arriving at the perfect time.