Silly Season is Nigh
One week out, and let the playoff speculations begin...
Clemson and Notre Dame will jockey for position in the Playoff rankings, and the nature of the Irish’s five-game arrangement with the ACC will be scrutinized as a result. The Tigers are in total control in their bid for a fourth straight ACC championship, whereas the Irish likely have to win out given the one-loss pileup behind them. We think Clemson will be ranked No. 2 in the first set of rankings on Oct. 30, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the committee likes the Irish’s resume better.
I seem to recall someone around here saying in the preseason that if Notre Dame beat Michigan, their path was clear to the playoffs. After 8 weeks, here we stand.
But, there’s a two-fer in the Bad Opinions Department that is turning out to be remarkably prescient — involving those same Michigan Wolverines and their road to the playoffs.
Michigan is the best one-loss team on the board for now, and the Wolverines are penciled in to face Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Classic — for now.
The calculus here was always pretty simple: the Wolverines have a five-game swing against ranked teams — the Buckeyes, Spartans, Nittany Lions, Irish, and Badgers. They can afford one, and only one loss there. Throw in three must-wins against bowl-bound Maryland, Northwestern and Indiana, and then obligatory romp in the B1GCG, and there’s simply no way the Wolverines get left out. That is even truer as the Iowa Hawkeyes are looking like the class of the West and figure to be Top 10 by season’s end. That’s a helluva resume.
Notre Dame’s path was always similarly laid out before them like a ribbon of highway: Win their five-game ACC schedule, with “OOC” Navy, USC, and Stanford thrown in for kicks, and then the marquee opener against rival Michigan. Normally, one loss would be good enough to still keep the Irish in contention. But, with Tree, Troy, and the Middies stinking, Va. Tech a quality but not elite win, and no Miami or Clemson on the slate, the Irish are hanging their hat on Michigan’s continues success, and the mileage they can get out of it.
And I think they ride that one win all the way to Dallas and a first-round meeting with Alabama.
Jalen Hurts had a “minor procedure” over the weekend for a high ankle sprain, and will be out at least one week. It is unknown whether he will be ready for LSU:
Saban characterized the injury as “a bit of a high ankle sprain.” Saban said nobody realized Hurts was injured on the play and that a procedure was performed to help Hurts heal.
The AP Preseason Top 25 was released for hoops yesterday. Alabama was not among them, but was among “others receiving votes.”
Congratulations to Amari Cooper for getting out the hellhole in Oakland/Vegas. But, he leaves one dysfunctional franchise with a questionable quarterback straight to another one:
Amari Cooper is reportedly heading to the Dallas Cowboys.
According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, the team struck a deal with the Oakland Raiders that will send Cooper to North Texas days ahead of the NFL trade deadline. In an additional twist, the compensation will be a first-round pick in 2019*, a move the usually-frugal Cowboys’ front office would normally shy away from.
Hey, at least it wasn’t Buffalo.
Tide coaches selected their players of the week for the Tennessee game, including what appears to be a functional new punter! Hoorah, special teams!
The Alabama coaching staff named six players of the week following the Crimson Tide’s 58-21 win at Tennessee last weekend in the annual ‘Third Saturday in October’ matchup between the two longtime rivals. Tua Tagovailoa and Jonah Williams on offense; Xavier McKinney and Quinnen Williams on defense; and Mike Bernier and Henry Ruggs III on special teams all earned the recognition for their efforts in Knoxville.
Saban did not have a standard presser yesterday, but he did speak at the Birmingham Quarterback Club.
Here’s an excerpt, and the full balance of his remarks are here:
On the bye week...
“I guess with the bye week coming up, everybody wants to know how you’re going to manage the bye week, and I think a couple things. I think the first thing you’ve got to do is define what is a bye week? You obviously want your players to get healthy, you want them to get some rest, you want them to get their strength back, hydrate, do all those things.
“But you also want them to focus on improving. So, that means when we are practicing, everybody’s got to challenge themselves to improve and do the things that they need to do to get better. You kind of get remembered for what you do in November, in this league especially, especially with the way our schedule comes out. So, I think it’s really important and imperative that the players have that right mindset and not just, ‘Bye means I’m checking out for the week,’ because I don’t think you can really create any momentum that way individually or collectively as a team.”
So far in 2018, @AlabamaFTBL’s Tua Tagovailoa is one of 13 FBS QBs with 2,000+ yards passing. Tua has 152 pass attempts on the year. The next fewest attempts among QBs with 2,000+ passing yards is @BoilerFootball’s David Blough at 230, which is 51% more than Tua has.— SportSourceAnalytics (@SportSourceA) October 22, 2018
Despite not taking a single fourth-quarter snap this season, Tua Tagovailoa looks like a near-lock for the Heisman Trophy and a future NFL star.@vinnieiyer takes a look at Tagovailoa's insane numbers and how they compare to the best in the NFL: https://t.co/r1UjQNPlpC pic.twitter.com/BOpBx2UJ5P— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 23, 2018
No surprise here, but Tua Tagovailoa was named SEC Player of the Week...again.
The performance continues a stellar season for the sophomore, who has thrown for 2,066 yards and 25 touchdowns in eight starts in 2018 on 107-of-152 passing (70.4 percent). Tagovailoa leads the nation in pass efficiency (238.8) and yards per completion (19.31) and is tied for third in touchdown passes. In SEC play this season, he has completed 74-of-109 passes (67.9 percent) for 1,483 yards and 17 touchdowns.
It’s not too early to hate on the coonasses
CBS sold their souls for the usual night game in Baton Rouge vs. Alabama nemesis, LSU:
The Southeastern Conference announced kickoff times for week 10 and the Tide and Tigers will be back under the lights of Death Valley for a 7 p.m. kickoff. CBS Sports will broadcast a doubleheader beginning with either Georgia-Kentucky or Missouri-Florida in the customary 2:30 p.m. time slot and follow that up with Alabama and LSU in primetime.
The Tigers have several wins which, at the time, looked like quality victories: Miami, Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia. Of those, only UGA is looking like an elite one — and it’s not like the Dawgs are playing an elite team: they’re a good team with elite talent. And now Miami, Auburn, and Mississippi State all have multiple losses or are flirting with .500 — and none are ranked as of this week. The road trip the Tigers took to a presently-ranked team? They took the L to Dan Mullen. And they’ve not looked good in any of those except the Georgia debacle.
So, Tiger Fan knows the ride is ending this week. And no matter what, a road trip and probable Thanksgiving loss to Texas A&M awaits.
And, buddy, the pre-loss excuses are flying off the shelf, highlighted by James Carville’s unhinged missive to the Advocate — one he repeated on Finebaum yesterday. As though Devin White can throw a pass, run the ball, block for a pedestrian offensive line, or make this flawed Tigers team anything more than they are: a decent team in a down SEC West full of decent-but-not-great teams; and ultimately one that is not as good as their record.
As for White’s suspension for the first half? His appeal was denied. Grab some Gatorade and watch for 20 minutes, kid. And is Orgeron ever an unhappy man. (In fairness, I do think it was a soft call. But that’s a function of the typically awful SEC officiating we see every week, not evidence of collusion with anything other than Incompetence. I do like this proposal for a two-tiered targeting penalty.) Besides, this game isn’t going to be won by an ILB — the Tigers fortunes will rise or fall with the play of Kristian Fulton, Greedy Williams, and Grant Delpit.
But what exactly does Kight bring to the table for the team looking to enlist his services following his senior season at Thompson? Just ask the man for whom he blocks on a daily basis.
”Everything,” quarterback and fellow Alabama commit Taulia Tagovailoa said. “You see that smile right there, that’s all we need.”
That’s it for now. Have a great day. Roll Tide.