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Jumbo Package: Painful November leaves Tide on the outside looking in

NCAA Basketball: the Barclays Classic-Alabama vs Minnesota Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What’s going on with Jimbo Fisher? Good question. There have been back channel denials, non-denial denials, and a lot of alleged smoke around a fire of dubious intensity. But, more tellingly, the chatter that has had Jimbo leaving Tallahassee has largely originatead from the Aggies’ camp or is heavily slanted towards him leaving. This may suggest that the rumors are more a PR push by Texas A&M or another crafty ploy by Jimmy Sexton to enrich his client. For my part, I’d never offer a Fisher a job until he was fired or no longer under contract. This could be the third team in two years that gets burned courting the legendarily-indecisive Fisher.

While A&M could be in a bind, Tennessee is absolutely stuck. The Chancellor did not sign Schiano’s contract, but that written Memorandum of Understanding (a contract to enter into a contract) is still very likely going to cost the Vols some cash, just probably not $20 million. And now, one of their Plan Bs, Dave Cutcliffe, has turned down Tennessee, preferring to ride off in the sunset as a Duke Blue Devil.

And, yet another Tennessee backup plan is trolling the Vols mercilessly:

Don’t worry. He took a shot at Alabama’s diminished running game in the Tide’s no-call/no-show in the Iron Bowl loss. And, yes, Saban’s Rat Poison line was used for sport as well. You want to hate that guy, but he’s got a point — on both counts.

Forget Jimbo or Mullen or Kelly: The best hire of the silly season occurred yesterday, when Iowa State beat off Arkansas to retain Matt Campbell. The Cyclones made a serious commitment to its program by almost doubling his salary ($2.1 million to $3.5 million) and then throwing in an extra $1 million to spread around among his assistants. The ‘Clones have always been more of a basketball and wrestling school than football, but that’s largely been a function of ISU cheaping out. This is a really competitive salary and a good first step to creating some sustained success in Ames. More relevantly for Alabama fans, it keeps a really competent coach out of Arkansas or Tennessee.

Root for some combination of: The ‘Barn, Stanford, Ohio State, TCU. Alabama probably needs two of those. Or, the wildly improbable scenario here.

And, yet another scenario where both Alabama and Ohio State can make the playoffs (meteor landing in three conference title games and head trauma to the committee?)

Still others think that Alabama’s loss to Auburn actually helps its playoff case. I can’t believe people get paid in U.S. dollars to say nonsene like that, but then I look at some of the nonsense I get paid to write, and it makes a little more sense. #NoRefunds

Alex Scarbrough’s take is the one more grounded in reality: Alabama is very much on the outside looking in, needing more help than it has in several years. I can’t think of a more helpless feeling since the 2011 season, where Alabama needed three teams in front of it to lose -- and they obligingly did so. #HopeForTheBest

Last week, it was freshman sniper John Petty earning SEC PotW honors. This week, after dropping 40 on No. 14 Minnesota, it was Collin Sexton’s turn. He’s a legit Naismith candidate, the Tide’s first one since Erwin Dudley was a preseason candidate 15 years ago.

Whether he takes home the national prize, basketball is starting to sway some doubters. After going 2-1 against postseason teams this week, and after a ferocious 3-on-5 effort where the Tide almost completed the comeback, Alabama moved up in the AP Top 25, to No. 24.

Cheer up degenerates, you may finally get to gamble legally upon these these shores once again. The Supreme Court is preparing to hear a case that challenges the 2001 federal law that criminalized parimutuel betting in the U.S. The NFL is the only league that is still resisting the know, the league that just expanded into the Vegas market (along with the NHL, who supports overturning the law.)

PFF has done a lot of “top performers” this season featuring Tide performers. They took a different tack this week, ranking the 10 Worst players in the Iron Bowl. This is a painful read (and a list you could make in your head,) but you don’t improve unless you have a grade. does its post-mortem of the Alabama regular season: It was a bad November, y’all.

Hang on to your butts: We have Taking Stock’s season finale in a bit, and, at lunch time, we have a very special NSFW: It’s Meltdown Time: Iron Bowl edition. We’ve earned every way imaginable.