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Jumbo Package: OSU, ‘Bama battle for top class, Sr. Bowl picks, and more

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Alabama or Ohio State? Saban and Meyer have had this February battle many times

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The last coach not named Saban to bring in a No. 1 class was Meyer, who locked up the top 2010 class ahead of his final season at Florida. That class also happens to be the highest-rated class in history.

This year's recruiting cycle could produce a class that tops it. If everything plays out perfectly, whoever hits the finish line first between Alabama and Ohio State will have a chance to finish with the best recruiting class of all time.

This has been a talking point the past few months — the 2017 class could be the best of all time, and either Alabama or Ohio State will sign it, according to those who rate such things. On the field, though, that class will have much to live up to on the field if it wants to attain the greatness of the 2008 watershed class.

Monday Is the deadline for early entrants to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft, and as the dust continues to settle, we have 95 players announcing their intentions to stop playing on Saturdays and give Sundays a try instead.

Alabama is in relatively good shape with early departures for the pros — as opposed to many playoff contenders. But, where the Tide will be hurt almost as much is in graduate losses. You cannot understate the impact to cohesion and leadership on a team that loses a two-plus year starter on the offensive line, an underrated monster at Jack like Ryan Anderson, depth along both lines (Ball, Taylor,) and a three-year senior All-American safety, among many others.

If you’re curious about the early exits, SI has the complete database here.

“To me any receiver wants to put up the gaudy numbers that we think we’re capable of. To come here, it humbles you. You see how much talent we have and how hard you have to work every single day. In our receiver group, we have five or six guys who could be starters and probably would be starters any other place. Just competing against those guys every day and the friendships that I’ve developed since they’ve welcomed me with open arms. I just put my head down and worked. Seeing how hard Calvin (Ridley) and ArDarius (Stewart) work every day pushes me to be a better football player.”

Here is a lovely interview by Bruce Feldman with one of my low-key favorites, Gehrig Dieter. Both subjectively and objectively, Dieter has become a better receiver and better all-around player during his one year on campus. Definitely worth a click.

Oh, you remember that picture above, don't you? Of course you do. It came on college football's opening day this year, and really did set the tone for the season ahead. On that day, LSU came to Lambeau Field as a double-digit favorite and national title contender, and fell to Wisconsin.

The win propelled the Badgers to a surprising 10-3 season and the Big 10 West title. It also would help push Les Miles out the door just a few weeks later.

I’m usually not a slideshow fan, but these are really good images from the dearly-departed 2016 season. If you watched these games, and most were really good affairs, then it can take you back to September or November to relive the fun. I suspect by May, we’ll all desperately need that fix.

SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum suffered a medical emergency live on the air during Tuesday's show, but an ESPN spokesperson says there's nothing to worry about with the 61-year-old mouthpiece of college football in the South.

“Paul is fine. He wasn’t feeling well. He went home for the day and is already feeling better," the spokesperson told Awful Announcing.

PAWWWWWWWL had to leave his show abruptly yesterday following a “health scare.” There’s no official word on what was plaguing Finebaum, but I’m going with “self-induced asphyxiation by bovine fecal matter.”

Speaking of those seniors Alabama will miss, Ryan Anderson, Cole Mazza, OJ Howard, and Dalvin Thomlinson all made the cut for the senior bowl. Three of those players will be drafted, and Mazza even stands a shot at being a 7th round selection.

Transitions

One of our contributors, Matthew Speakman, is graduating this spring from the Capstone with his degree in journalism. Matthew has contributed to RBR for the last year or so, assisting in recruiting coverage and offseason analysis. However, with his increasing duties at the Crimson White, and a demanding internship with the Tuscaloosa News, we bid farewell to Matt and wish him the best of luck. He is more than welcome to come back and drop a piece or two in his spare time, such as that may be.

Here is Matthew’s recent piece, an interview with the solid gym all-arounder, Keely McNeer. Be sure to give his day job a visit at one of the two print publications when you can. He’s a solid journalist, a versatile writer, and his contributions will be missed.

“I look at my team and I just pick out one person, and I say, ‘Ok, for her,’” McNeer said. “I say a quick prayer, and here we go. It’s about something much bigger than me, so I trust my training and trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be.”