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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Get excited, the season is inching closer

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

How the loss of Terrell Lewis will impact Alabama

The hype surrounding Terrell Lewis always seemed justified.

Just look at him.

At 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds, the Alabama junior has the lean, sinewy build of an elite pass rusher.

He also has a tantalizing blend of speed and power -- qualities that made him a defensive terror.

We already talked about it in a dedicated article yesterday, but I can’t express how upset I am at the news about Terrell Lewis. I pegged him as my favorite player from his recruiting class before they ever set foot on campus, and have expected big things from him every season since. And now another injury.

As Josh said yesterday, he’s just too explosive for his own size. Muscles can get bigger with training, but joints and ligaments are what they are, and can only handle so much.

I am in mourning.

The tricky dynamic of keeping Alabama QBs from transferring

The stakes are high for both the quarterbacks and the coaches charged with navigating this tricky time.

Balancing individual glory and team stability is the challenge.

It leads to difficult decisions.

They loom for young talent from the two teams that played for the national title in January. It’s just the reality for quarterbacks on college football’s biggest stage.

If you want a good “Get off my lawn” soapbox moment— and as you’re all Bama fans, I’m sure you do— this is a read that is filled with only somewhat disguised disdain for entitled young quarterbacks who don’t persevere with their team.

Personally, I tend to side with the players here. It’s not like at other positions where you can rotate to get playing time and injuries are likely. If you are the backup QB, you’ll likely never get real playing time, unless there is a considerable age difference between you and the starter.

If they want to make a career out of football, they can’t do it by never playing in the public eye. And isn’t the purpose of going to college supposed to be to have a springboard for a career? (Let’s not get into an argument about the secondary education system today though...)

Alabama football at wide receiver is loaded with youth and talent

Alabama football must replace three WR starters from 2017, Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster and Cam Sims. Barring injury, the three wide receiver, 2018 starters will be Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Devonta Smith. The transition will be easy for the Crimson Tide.

The second and third 2017 leaders in receiving yards were Jerry Judy with 264 yards and two touchdowns and Henry Ruggs III with 229 yards and six touchdowns. National Championship game hero, Devonta Smith had 160 yards and three touchdowns. The freshman trio played in every game.

Unlike 2017, when Calvin Ridley was by far the most frequent passing target, defenses will not be able to key on a certain receiver in 2018.

If the trio of Jeudy, Smith, and Ruggs pan out like they’re expected to, this will be the first time that Alabama has 3 top-flight receiving threats on the field at the same time. Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart in 2015-2016 were an awesome duo, but their slot receivers in that time were Richard Mullaney and Gehrig Dieter. Both serviceable, but little more.

In these three, we will have two more seasons of the three playing with each other in the same spots for three years. That kind of talent mixed with unit chemistry will hopefully result in the most dangerous passing attack we’ve seen under Nick Saban.

Why Alabama Will or Won’t Make the College Football Playoff in 2018

Why in the world would we doubt Nick Saban at this point?

Let’s be honest, four in a row is much more trend than fluke. Saban, who has placed his team in the College Football Playoff in every iteration of the four-team tournament since it replaced the BCS in 2014, has set the bar so high in Tuscaloosa that a College Football Playoff appearance is the expectation.

That doesn’t “earn” this version of the Crimson Tide anything, but it sure does make predicting a fifth appearance in as many seasons among the safest college football prognostications to make for 2018.

Athlon Sports has now also been processed. Alabama’s success is so inevitable that the national writers can no longer find a way around it.