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Jumbo-Package is hyped for Clemson-Alabama III: Lets’ get ready to rumble

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Anyone ready for Round Three?

Clemson v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Seems I forgot today was Tuesday. With the holidays and coordinating the Clemson coverage and heading out of town, I’ve been scrambling the past few days. Anyway, better late than never. Sorry about that. But, we’ve got a ton to talk about today. Let’s get to it.

There are some good seats on the secondary market. After the prices for scarce Clemson-Alabama III tickets opened up at a ridiculous margin, the demand has cooled down somewhat. It looks like there are now some singles going for less than $200 bucks if you want an impromptu NOLA trip to ring in 2018.

Speaking of New Orleans, later this week we’ll have a guest travelogue for you wonderful people: where to eat, drink, relax, and Gump in style. PI’m aiming to have it up tomorrow afternoon, so look for that if you’re visiting the Five Oh Four (or, even if you’re planning a trip later.)

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The early signing period is over, with Alabama inking 15 players. Who else is being targets in this small class?

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On the subject of recruiting, the recently enacted tax law may have more implications than just hitting schools athletic budgets. One provision caps the deduction for interest on mortgages, while another caps the deduction for state and local taxes paid. That could inure to the benefit of states without income taxes, like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.

I’m not sure how often these provisions will be in play, TBH. But, it’s interesting to keep an eye on: You probably don’t want to be pulling a Reggie Bush and moving your family from Louisiana to California. I’m sure they will have some impact on coaches, but recruits? Probably not as much, and then likely only for the ones that bring their families cross-country.

Numbers: There is perhaps no greater determinate of recent Tide wins and losses than its performance on 3rd downs: Get off the field on defense, and keep the chains alive on offense. It will be that simple on Monday. TSN has a bevy of stats to look for in the Sugar Bowl, but 3rd down will win or lose the game for Alabama. TSN was absolute correct; if the Tide is terrible on third down again, it will see Clemson advance.

2 of 15

Go back to last year's box score. Alabama converted only two of its 15 on third downs, while Clemson was 7 of 18. Those failed third-down conversions allowed Deshaun Watson to take over in the second half. The Tide converted only 41.5 percent of their third-down conversions this year, and Clemson's defense ranked fifth in third-down conversion percentage (27.8). This is the biggest point of emphasis for Hurts and Alabama's offense: They can't be that bad on third down again and win.

Key to improving on third down will be not repeating the many, many mental and execution errors that plagued Alabama a year ago.

How will Alabama try and stay on the field? Bill Connelly breaks down how you attack the Clemson defense and what Alabama can do to have some success.

Ready to run through a brick wall? HYPE VIDEO TIME

Taking stock of a painful final second that separated Alabama from a loss and in the discussion as one of the best teams ever. Mayhaps this is our karmic payback from 2011, but our friends in Baton Rouge still haven’t gotten over that same hump: I doubt we will any time soon either.

In either case, pretty bad Gump here by al.com

Speaking of unfamiliar roles, Alabama may be favored by Vegas, but in the rankings and collective national conscience, the fourth-seeded Tide is decidedly an underdog.

Colin Cowherd of course has some trolly things to say.

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This is sad: Landon Collins has started all 46 games in his Giants career, but on Sunday he broke his forearm. The tough guy was devastated, and not for individual reasons, but because he won’t be there with his team. If you’re a GM you love this kind of player.

Collins told ESPN's Jordan Raanan that he couldn't remember the last time he'd cried, but he cried when the X-ray in Arizona showed he'd broken his arm and he knew he wouldn't be able to continue playing with his teammates, even though Sunday's 23-0 loss dropped the Giants to 2-13 for the 2017 season.

Finally, this is simply wonderful: 45 schools participated in a group recitation of “The Night Before Christmas.” We hope you had a great one and that Santa made all of your Crimson wishes a reality.