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Jumbo Package: Still Celebrating on Gump Day

Talking Tua, 2018, and the annual Saban-to-the-NFL rumors.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Happy Gump Day, everyone. Plenty to read about this morning. As you heard, nobody wants to watch a final featuring two SEC teams.


Before we move forward, can we celebrate the 2015 class for a minute? From back when:

Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Calvin Ridley, Ronnie Harrison, Damien Harris, Anfernee Jennings, Deionte Thompson, Lester Cotton, and Matt Womack, plus two additional five-stars who left to pursue their dreams elsewhere. Absolutely incredible.

As you can imagine, people are still talking about Tua Tagovailoa.

“It was crazy,” Galu said. “I saw [Tua] look off to the right, and I saw DeVonta wide open, and I’m thinking, ‘Tua, throw it to the left.’”

Smith route was simple: Go deep.

”We called four verticals on that play,” Tua said. “It looked like they were running two-trap, the corner trap on that single receiver side. And I held the safety in the middle as the over was coming. I looked back out, and he was wide open. Smitty was wide open.”

So much about this game was surprising: That Georgia initially stopped Alabama from doing what it wanted, that Alabama turned to its true freshman backup quarterback in the national championship, that Alabama was ready to deploy a secret squad of future superstars, that Saban had to break the glass in case of emergency. Most of all: that any of this worked.

But that’s Alabama. Everything has been meticulously planned for, even, as it turns out, total failure.

We’ve never seen anything like it either, T.O.

Obviously there is another quarterback on the roster that has had some fine moments along the way.

If Hurts is committed to sticking with the Tide, however, the 6-2, 218-pound athlete has several options. His best physical traits are his athleticism and strength, which he consistently put on display in 2016 and ‘17 when out-running, eluding or running over defenders who attempted to tackle him.

I can name several players over the years who would have been best served by giving up on the quarterback deal while still in college, and if Jalen wants to play in the NFL, that’s exactly what he needs to do. I don’t know what his best position would be, but something that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is punt returner. Eddie Jackson showed that vision, or as Saban called it “picking his way,” is far more important than pure speed, and Jalen is an outstanding open field runner with some shake and the lower body strength to break a tackle.

In a span of 11 months, Brian Daboll welcomed his sixth child to his growing family and was part of two of the most incomprehensible championship comebacks in football history. As tight ends coach, Daboll had a front row seat to the New England Patriots’ improbable comeback from a 28-3 deficit to the Atlanta Falcons in last February’s Super Bowl. On Monday night, Daboll helped secure Alabama’s 17th national championship through a gusty second-half quarterback change and comeback from a 20-7 third quarter deficit.

”It took some years off my life,” Daboll admitted.

Daboll has endured a lot of criticism this season as fans debated whether the problem in the passing game was the coach or the trigger man. He has to feel at least some vindication after his unit rolled up 276 yards and 26 points in a half plus one possession against a top ten defense.

Remember when Alabama didn’t have any receivers besides Ridley? Nine different players caught a pass on Monday, and two of the three TDs went to freshmen. The offense we saw, led by Tua through the air and Najee on the ground plus all of that returning talent at receiver, combined with an Alabama defense that will undoubtedly be near the top again despite a rebuilt secondary?

Good luck, college football.

Saban’s legacy has long been cemented, but he offered a glimpse yesterday of what keeps him great.

“Everybody realizes the sacrifices and the adversity that you had to overcome to do it and the hard work you put in to do it,” Saban said. “And I think it’s something that you never forget. It becomes a part of the legacy of that team.

“But I also think that, if you’re a competitor and you’re a player, whether you’re a coach or a player or any part of the organization, in 24 hours you probably need to move on because there’s another challenge and basically you created a target for yourself in the future in terms of people who want to beat you.”

The man is already thinking about the next hurdle. You almost get the impression that he will leave the game not when he burns out, but when he feels that he has no one left to beat.

Guess who is favored to win a sixth national title in ten seasons?

At Westgate Superbook, Alabama starts the 2018 season at 3-1 odds to win next year’s national championship game. The team that lost Monday night’s game, Georgia, is right there at 9-2. Clemson, the No. 1 team entering this year’s playoff, is third at 6-1. However, Oklahoma is all the way down at 30-1.

Target, indeed.

Oh, the offseason started so we have to address Saban leaving again.

Former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians spoke on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday, stating that Saban would be extremely interested in one of the vacant head coaching positions currently in the NFL.

“There’s a job he covets and it just happens to be open,” Arians said. “The Giants.”

Bruce, my man, you are still on the list of many a Bama fan for the Scissum debacle. Comments like this aren’t doing you any favors. If Nick Saban goes back to the NFL in his late sixties, I’ll eat my hat.

Last, the CFP committee has term limits, apparently, and nearly half of them have to beat feet.

Six members -- slightly less than half of the 13-person committee -- are rotating off. That list includes original members in former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, former sportswriter Steve Wieberg, former coach Tyrone Willingham and Clemson AD Dan Radakovich. Also stepping aside is Texas Tech AD (and 2017 chairman) Kirby Hocutt.

The six departures reflect the greatest committee churn in the CFP’s short history.

Committee members serve three- and four-year terms. CFP executive director Bill Hancock said conferences are in the process of nominating replacements.

If you six voted for Alabama this year, we thank you for your service. If not, don’t let the door hit you.

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

Roll Tide.