Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama is set to have another cupcake for breakfast this week, conference affiliation be damned. Your limited previews:
Smart betting pick
Alabama’s 0-2 ATS the last two weeks because it’s so often favored by too much at home. Conversely, the Tide are 1-0 SU and ATS on the road this season, 8-4 ATS their last 12 road games. Arkansas, meanwhile, is just not worthy of a betting recommendation at this point. Smart money gives the points with Alabama.
Razorbacks quarterback Ty Storey will be under fire all afternoon, and there’s nothing to suggest that he can muster up anything close to enough to have success against the Alabama defense. Alabama will win and cover, because coach Nick Saban will keep his foot on the gas longer than normal in order to get his first- and second-team quality experience on the road. Pick: Alabama (-35)
Chad Morris is not having the start to his tenure at Arkansas that he had hoped. Non-conference losses to Colorado State and North Texas hurt, and back-to-back conference losses to Auburn (34-3) and Texas A&M (24-17) did not help, either. The Hogs showed improvement against the Aggies, but facing a giant like Alabama may not reflect gains in terms of the final score.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s mastery over the Hogs is not in question. The Tide have rolled the Hogs 11 consecutive times; make it 12 on Saturday.
Prediction: Alabama 54, Arkansas 10
This team is terrible. There is a narrative that the defense played better last week, but watching that game it’s evident that Texas A&M’s point total was a combination of Jimbo Fisher’s clock-ball strategy and an atrocious performance by Kellen Mond, who missed several wide open receivers and threw two interceptions directly to Arkansas defenders. It’s almost enough to accuse him of point shaving, but I don’t think poor Kellen is accurate enough to pull it off if he tried.
To my eyes, this is one of the easiest bets of the season. There have been receivers running free in the Hogs’ secondary all season, and tomorrow will be no exception. Saban can name his score, and he was all over the second unit for how they finished the game last Saturday. Look for the Tide to cover a massive point spread before halftime for the second consecutive week, but this time finish the drill. Call it 56-10.
Of course, that is just my opinion. Give us your score in the comments.
Breaking: Jaylen Waddle is really, really good.
NFL scout: Get Jaylen Waddle the ball
The entire SEC – and the college football world – is focused on the impact of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. One NFL scout, though, says another Alabama player has been vastly overlooked. “I love the small kid, the wide receiver (Jaylen) Waddle. He’s a chunk play waiting to happen. I would get the ball in his hands any way I could. Passing game, jet sweeps, returns. Shoot, I’d run a play for him at tailback, block the heck out of it and see if he can make a guy miss to break a big one.”
Remember watching Wes Welker shred NFL defenses in his hey day? Shave about two-tenths off Welker’s 40 time and you have Jaylen Waddle. Five-star playmakers all over the field with an excellent line and generational QB talent, and in walks a gamebreaking freshman slot receiver/punt returner to join the party. The phrase “embarrassment of riches” doesn’t do it justice.
Speaking of that QB talent...
Tua Tagovailoa is the only quarterback in the nation with a perfect passer rating from a clean pocket pic.twitter.com/Dc2TgCJ8P9— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 4, 2018
The NFL has a different passer rating formula than the college game. It maxes out at 158.3, and Tua Tagovailoa has been perfect when his protection has held up, which has been the vast majority of the time.
Check out this quote from Saban’s weekly show.
I don’t want to mention any names, but we have two very prominent QBs in the country -- one decided to stay with his team, one decided to leave. I guess you could have a conversation about who created more value for themselves, aight, by what they did? And how is it going to impact their long-term future? Even though they think playing is the most important thing, but people that are making decisions about your future as a football player even look at, ‘What kind of teammate is this guy going to be? How does he impact the other people on his team, regardless of what his role is? Because he may not be the starting quarterback here at the Baltimore Ravens,’ or wherever he goes to play. ‘So, if this is going to be a problem, do we really want this guy in our organization? Do we want him on our team?’ So, there’s a lot of unintended consequences that those guys create for themselves that I think that they need to be able to think through, aight. And what value can you create for yourself?
Nick’s just putting it on out there. Never forget this tweet from the Clemson beat writer.
Look at how Dabo has treated his QB battle publicly versus how Saban has handled his.— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) September 12, 2018
Now look at how happy Kelly Bryant is versus Jalen Hurts.
Not a coincidence. https://t.co/s1XIPJ6EXy
If there was a #HotSportsTake Hall of Fame, this would be a first-ballot entry. The attendance thing came up again too, and Nick was a little less aggressive this time, conceding that the low level competition is a contributing factor. Long snapper Tweetin’ Thomas Fletcher weighed in again.
#FreeDixielandDelight I guess, if that’s what the young ‘uns need.
Daniel Wright is a curious case. He was suspended for team rules then ended up in the hospital.
Backup safety Daniel Wright underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season, according to sources.
This comes one day after Nick Saban announced that Wright had been suspended for a violation of team rules.
This is odd. Did he decide to have the surgery, not tell the staff and just skip practice? If Saban knew the surgery was imminent, he’d have no reason to suspend him. The fear is that this suspension is going to end in a transfer after he gets his shoulder fixed.
Ben Jones has a nice trip down memory lane for you:
You could pick any number of Derrick Thomas records and any of them would fit the list. His 52 career sacks are unassailable. His record of five sacks in a game is probably safe, too. Thomas’ 27 sacks technically aren’t an NCAA record as sacks weren’t an official statistic until 2000. But if they were, Thomas would hold the all-time collegiate mark at any level of NCAA football. The second-closest is Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs, who had 24 sacks in 2002. It should be noted here that Wallace Gilberry set an SEC record with 27 tackles for loss in 2007.
I was just a kid, but I’ll never forget my grandfather laughing about some freshman kid who claims he’s better than Cornelius. What a player.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.