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Jumbo Package: Resting up for the stretch run

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The Tide successfully dismantled the Vols on Saturday without suffering any attrition, and now rest before the home stretch that will decide the season. First, the bad news.

The victim, 19, told officers that the driver of a white Chevrolet Silverado was “doing doughnuts” in the roadway before striking his vehicle, she said.

“The suspect asked the victim not to contact the police, then left the scene,” she said.

The victim provided police with the tag number, she said. Officers stopped Brannon around Hackberry Lane and Bryant Drive. He received minor injuries, but refused medical treatment.

Head coach Nick Saban issued a statement Sunday morning:

“We are very disappointed any time a player makes a choice that leads to this kind of behavior,” he said. “We are still in the process of gathering all of the details on the situation, and we will evaluate what we need to do in terms of appropriate discipline as we move forward.”

Not good, Hunter. This is a far cry from last season’s Da’shawn Hand arrest, where he had gone back to his parked car to sleep it off. Brannon put the lives of others in danger with his behavior and will undoubtedly incur the wrath of Saban for his trouble.

Wrapping up the Third Saturday:

-- Tennessee’s 31 rushing yards were the fewest Alabama allowed since the first game of the season. Louisville had just 16.

-- Tagovailoa’s 77-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Waddle might have been one of his better throws of the season. The 5-10 slot receiver had a DB on his hip the whole way and other helping by the time the ball arrived yet the ball dropped in a tiny window. The QB later said the play was designed for Jeudy but a safety’s coverage led the ball to go Waddle’s way.

Good to see the rushing defense get right, but as mentioned on Friday, Tennessee really can’t run the ball to begin with. Oh, and that pass to Waddle was a thing of beauty. Let’s see it one more time, shall we?

We don’t know how he does it, Gary, but we are very glad that he does.

If you didn’t hear, some idiot tried to dump ice on Saban as he went into the tunnel at halftime. He doesn’t seem bothered.

Saban was asked about the incident following the game, and a smile stretched across his face.

“The ice doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “I’d rather have somebody upset when we’re playing on the road than happy about the circumstance because that means our circumstance wouldn’t be very good.”

Speaking of ice, former Tennessee head coach-turned-Alabama analyst Butch Jones was showered in ice by Tua Tagovailoa and Damien Harris after the Tide beat his former team.

Great point, Coach. Oh, and let this serve as your reminder that Butch is getting over $2M this year from Tennessee, while working for Alabama.

I bet he enjoyed the hell out of that stogie.

Moving on to the next one:

This will be the first top-five showdown of the 2018 season, and the environment at Tiger Stadium for the showdown with No. 1 Alabama (8-0) should be nothing short of spectacular. LSU (7-1) continues to pile up impressive victories, and both teams have a bye week to get ready for that big stage. Alabama still could get in the Playoff with a loss here. The Tigers don’t have that luxury. The Crimson Tide have won the last three meetings in Baton Rouge by an average of 7.7 points per game. Is this the game where Tua Tagovailoa finally plays in the fourth quarter?

Our guess: Alabama wins, but Tagovailoa plays in the fourth quarter.

-We will not have the game-week Alabama at LSU line for another seven days. But at last check, 5Dimes posted a look-ahead line of Alabama -16 for that matchup. Given LSU’s continued success, and QB Tua Tagovailoa continuing to deal with a knee sprain, I think it’s likely the line opens closer to Alabama -14.

Alabama travels to play the #4 ranked team on the road, at night, in perhaps the craziest college football environment in the country, and they are projected to be favored by roughly double the spread of any SEC game that will be played this week. Rather than write about what Alabama needs to do to win, the Sporting News is talking about whether the QB will finally play a full game. Those who shrewdly bought stock in the rat poison industry before the season have to be thrilled right now. Business is booming.

Clemson is also unbeaten and has a bunch of trash left on the schedule. Most believe the top two teams are set.

That’s what it has come to for Alabama, managing Tua’s exposure to … football. He goes into the LSU game having not taken a snap in the fourth quarter. That’s the equivalent of missing two games.

Never mind the last Heisman Trophy winner to so much as miss a game was Florida State’s Charlie Ward 25 years ago, Tagovailoa has basically missed two because his games were already decided.

The reality through eight weeks is pretty clear, though. Tua Tagovailoa has opened up the Alabama offense to a level where the Tide are scoring at a pace equaled by only the best of the tempo teams of Art Briles and Chip Kelly. Plus the Tide still have that ferocious defense and powerful ground game.

Through eight weeks, Clemson has weathered its biggest storm, and Trevor Lawrence has emerged on the other side as the obvious successor to Watson’s legend. He dismantled NC State’s secondary Saturday, tossing lasers toward the sideline, one after another. The Wolfpack knew what was coming, but they were powerless to stop it. And this comes just a week after the ground game racked up 471 yards against Wake Forest.

This is probably getting old for the rest of the country, but ask us if we care. (SPOILER: We don’t.)

The biggest SEC game of the bye week is typically the WLOCP, and this year is no different.

Kirby Smart has answered the question countless times, about how his 11 years working with Alabama championship coach Nick Saban have influenced his program.

Smart patiently gives Saban credit each time, even as he recruits against him for top prospects.

“He’s a great leader of men, I think his strength is, number one, his ability to recruit, and number two, organize and demand excellence,” Smart said, asked about the Saban influence by a caller from Montgomery, Ala., on the SEC teleconference, “and I think that’s important.”

But there are many more differences between the 42-year-old Smart and the 66-year-old Saban than there are similarities.

There really are. For example, Smart has lost a game by 20 or more in each of his three years at Georgia.

See? Not similar at all.

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

Roll Tide.