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Jumbo Package: Celebrating a Great Season

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The Tide not only continue to have a bright future, the present is pretty great, too.

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. While everyone is still licking their wounds from a disappointing finish to a phenomenal season, Justin King offers a great tribute video to the 2016 Crimson Tide:

Third straight SEC Championship, twenty-six consecutive wins, led the country in several defensive metrics... I’d say there is plenty for these guys to celebrate. Moving on:

There's a lot of defensive talent graduating. Leading tackler Rueben Foster, national defensive player of the year Jonathan Allen, outside linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson -- all were seniors. So was undervalued defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. Safety Eddie Jackson is also done in Tuscaloosa.

So, there's a lot of room for the next wave on the Tide defense and there's certainly talent in reserve. It'll just be difficult to match the kind of dominance the front seven showed in 2016.

There will certainly be plenty of opportunities for up and coming superstars on the defense. We will find out just how many at noon today:

There have been rumblings that Marlon Humphrey is leaning toward staying around for another year. That would mean the return of the entire starting secondary from the national championship game.

Some of the early enrollees are already competing:

Make some monsters, Scott.

The Tigers and Crimson Tide squared off in the first national championship rematch since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series, and the matchup definitely lived up to the hype. Alabama had been 97–0 when holding double-digit leads entering the fourth quarter under coach Nick Saban, but it couldn’t stop Clemson stud quarterback Deshaun Watson in the final frame. He tossed two touchdown passes, including a two-yard game-winner to former walk-on wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, to cap a scintillating performance (36-of-56, 420 yards, 3 TDs) against one of the most dominant defenses ever and cinch the Tigers’ first title since 1981.

History was waiting Monday night in Tampa when Clemson completed a 2-minute drill for the ages. Gone was Nick Saban's milestone sixth national championship, the 26-game winning streak and the 2016 Alabama defense's bid for program supremacy.

You can't be the Crimson Tide's best defense with a 35-31 championship-game loss capping an otherwise historic season. That title remains with the 2011 squad in the modern era with 1961 still staking a claim from the iron-man days.

Such a shame. They did a great job on Watson in that game until the last two drives. The game itself was obviously a fascinating watch for any college football fan, and some of the plays Watson and the receivers made on the final drive shouldn’t be undersold. Still, a couple of things break the other way and the conversation is totally different. Such is life when the championship is determined in sixty minutes.

Instead, there will be some this offseason who question if Hurts is truly the answer at quarterback for Alabama moving forward. Oh what a difference a loss can make. Actually, just check out a few (P.G.) message board headlines from this week – it’s already started.

Jalen is awful

He cannot throw

The offense cost us this game

Yet was Saban really wrong? Hurts finished the season with an Alabama record 36 total touchdowns (23 passing and 13 rushing), throwing for 2,780 yards and running for 954. Those are impressive numbers for any quarterback. For a true freshman, they’re remarkable.

Jalen is certainly not awful as a player, but the passing game must improve next season. There are too many weapons to waste.

So don’t be surprised if the Monaca, Pennsylvania, native announces a transfer in the future. He has yet to graduate from Alabama, but could wind up being a graduate transfer if he graduates in May and be eligible to play in the 2017 season.

“It’s just a process that God got working for me now,” Foster said last week. “If it’s here, or if it’s elsewhere, I know that I’m going to be strong as a man to handle it.”

This certainly wouldn’t be surprising, but it is disappointing. I always had high hopes for Robert.

** Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher were at Central-Phenix City, home of 2017 Alabama commit Markail Benton and 2018 talented receiver prospect Justyn Ross, per coach Jamey DuBose.

The coaches are on the trail. May they close strong.

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

Roll Tide.