Happy Monday, everyone.
With LSU showing a pulse against Florida, CBS decided to take the Bayou Bengals vs. Auburn in their prime 2:30 slot this Saturday, leaving Alabama-Arkansas to kick at 6:15 CT on ESPN. For the first time in recent memory, the Tide will enter the Tennessee game having been selected only once - and against Vanderbilt, no less. The CBS contract with the SEC allows the network to televise a single team five times, and in 2015 the network even requested an exception to carry the Tide for a sixth. Assuming that the Auburn-Georgia game is selected over the Alabama tilt in Starkville on November 11, as expected, this will be the first time in a great while that the Tide will be featured only four times. Considering the state of the conference and the inevitable eyeballs that follow the Tide, this seems like terrible mismanagement by someone.
Moving along, we have the wrap-ups from the Tide’s tougher-than-expected win in College Station:
"There's a real unselfish mentality in that room," he said. "Nobody cares who makes the play, who scores the touchdown, who gets the most yards, as long as it gets done."
Harris is as media savvy as they come. The cerebral junior will always say the right thing.
But a case can be made that Harris deserves more touches.
Six games into the season, he is averaging 8.5 yards per carry.
Buoyed by a JK Scott 19-yard punt, Texas A&M appeared poised to pull closer when Alabama’s standout junior defensive back, Minkah Fitzpatrick, stepped in front of a Kellen Mond pass to shut down an Aggies drive and keep them off the board.
Texas A&M had the ball at the Alabama 10, down by 14 points on third-and-five when Fitzpatrick nabbed his first interception of the season. The turnover momentarily halted the Aggies’ momentum, although Texas A&M got a blocked punt for a safety on Alabama’s ensuing possession.
What Alabama has to do is return for a prolonged homestand — three games and an off-week — to polish things up. Nick Saban will have plenty of material. A blocked punt alone probably supplies him with enough nuclear energy to light Singapore for an entire year. Throw in the fourth-down conversions and the penalties and building a new sun isn’t out of the question.
For all that fuel, though, and for all the disappointment felt by the portion of the fan base that cannot stand a minute’s discomfort, this was not a loss. It was a win, one that the toughest man in the stadium on Saturday night, former Alabama and Aggie head coach Gene Stallings, would have embraced with open arms at one time. There was that era, after all, when every SEC game was hard-fought, or so it seemed.
All that led to another occasionally tense postgame scene under Kyle Field.
Alabama won this one differently. Saban didn't like the way his team finished the game or the perceived glut of positivity from the media during the week.
The good news from a 27-19 win? There will be more to fix and conceivably less public praise for the No. 1 team in the country.
As long as you don’t take things personally, it can be fun covering Alabama football.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says a lot of things to local reporters that come off harsher than they actually are. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Most of the local guys just laugh off whatever he’s saying when he goes on a rant because we know it’s not actually about us.
Saban’s latest rant had him comparing positive media coverage to “rat poison.” Think about that for a second. Saying good things about a team that had beaten two SEC opponents 125-3 is poison.
Saban has become a meme machine over the past couple of seasons, from “shit through a tin horn” to “hot tamale Mustang” and now “rat poison.” Whatever it takes to motivate the troops.
In many ways, the Texas A&M game underscored what makes the Tide different. On a night when the opponent seemed to have more “juice,” Alabama’s veteran superstars made the plays needed to win the game. That’s what Damien Harris is, by the way: a superstar. The kid absolutely needs more touches, but then Bo would get fewer. #BamaProblems
There will be games where Scarbrough’s ability to break tackles will be favorable to Harris’s superior vision and vice versa. What a luxury to have them both. There really isn’t much more one can say about Minkah Fitzpatrick. He is going to leave campus as the finest defensive back of the Saban era, no small feat considering the talent that has come through the position.
Rashaan provided a nice visual for you:
People actually think I’m a 100%. Muscle was ripped from the bone, when was the last time u did the second digit on my jersey standing up? pic.twitter.com/yKZuxaVzcr— Rashaan Evans (@616evans4) October 9, 2017
I mean, that whole tweet is rather disgusting, but seriously: take this week off, Rashaan, and perhaps even next week. That would give you three weeks before the LSU game to try and heal up some. You have great backups that will fill in admirably, and we need you for the postseason stretch.
Before the week is over, I fully expect the Tide to be 30-plus favorites against an inept bunch of Hogs:
The betting line has been released for No. 1-ranked Alabama’s Week 7 home game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. And the Crimson Tide is a double-digit betting favorite over the fourth SEC opponent on its 2017 schedule, according to VegasInsider.com.
Alabama opened as a 29.5-point favorite over Arkansas, according to VegasInsider.
This team is terrible, folks. Of course, they somehow managed to drag the Aggies into overtime, so if the Tide sleepwalk again I guess it could be tough. Assuming Alabama comes out focused, the Bielema era will effectively come to an end this weekend if it hasn’t already.
Tua’s little brother Taulia is showing out for Thompson (Alabaster):
What was Taulia's expectations as he made the Hawaii-to-Alabama move? "I just wanted to make a difference and do anything I can," he said.
Mission accomplished. He has completed 108-of-143 passes for 1,530 yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing just one interception.
"He does some crazy stuff sometimes," said Thompson receiver Ahmad Edwards, who has 57 catches. "I'll be running a route and I'll be looking for him, and I'll just see a ball fly out and it's right there - right where I'm about to run."
Taulia holds an Alabama offer, and it will be a massive upset if he goes anywhere else.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.