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Jumbo Package: Alabama breaks AP poll record, moves on to Oxford

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Arkansas State at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The Tide have barely broken a sweat in the first two weeks of the season, and SEC play begins this weekend in Oxford. Good news: Alabama just broke a record for most weeks atop the AP poll.

Alabama remained the top team in the nation after its 57-7 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday and created yet another record along the way.

The Crimson Tide has now been ranked No. 1 during 106 different weeks in the 82-year history of the Associated Press Poll, passing Ohio State for the most ever all-time.

Nice. Something tells me that they are going to put some distance between themselves and the Buckeyes this season.

Saban’s top opponent this season continues to be rat poison.

Alabama = National champs!

BUY. It’s just the right investment at this point in the season. The Crimson Tide have a super efficient quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. Jalen Hurts is contributing, and the defense hasn’t missed a beat. They’ll begin that SEC road show next week at Ole Miss — which won a 76-41 shootout against Southern Illinois, of all teams, on Saturday. Nick Saban will continue to drive a team that could average 50 points per game. Right now, we could only envision six teams that have a legitimate chance of beating Alabama. That list includes Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Clemson and Ohio State.

-- The Tide defense hasn’t allowed a first half score in either game. The 10.5-point average allowed ranks 19th. Ole Miss hasn’t been as stout with the No. 107 scoring defense giving up 34.0 points per game.

-- The Rebels are No. 125 in total defense giving up 557.5 yards a game.

-- The pass defense has been a particular issue for Ole Miss. It is No. 126 (of 130) there giving up 355.0 yards a game.

Ole Miss will definitely present a new challenge, but like every other spread team will have to keep the Tide’s pass rushers at bay in order to have success. The Tide have five sacks in the first two games of the season, but have added a bunch of batted balls and pressures while making both teams wholly one dimensional.

Well, while the games were still competitive, anyway. Saban continues to bang the “need more depth” drum, and if you’re looking for a potential Achilles’ heel, that would be it. Losing Jalyn Armour-Davis doesn’t help in that regard.

Hey, Alabama QB talk!

But any extra defenders devoted to stopping the run merely increased Tagovailoa’s lethal arsenal — downfield vision, arm strength, a sense of the moment (he is a staggering 10-for-10 with four touchdowns on his third down passes on the past two Saturdays) and a deep corps of reasons that is just too good to consistently stop with single coverage.

At some point, defenses will adjust. When they do, Alabama will run the ball more efficiently. That “efficiency” was the first area Saban mentioned when asked about phases in which Alabama could improve. There were too many times when the Alabama front was held to a stalemate. As the game wore on, Najee Harris individual ability made up for the lack of wide running lanes as he rolled up a career high in rushing yardage. By the way, not that Alabama doesn’t have enough “controversy” elsewhere, but Najee may be another sophomore who is simply too good not to use more often.

Alabama scored touchdowns on the same drive as seven of the 10 incomplete passes Tagovailoa’s thrown. Two that ended in unsuccessful drives preceded DeVonta Smith’s fumble deep in Louisville territory in the opener.

Three of the 10 incompletions came on screen passes. Three others came under heavy pressure from pass rushers.

The handwringing over Saban’s use of Jalen Hurts is a little silly in my opinion. The team is averaging more than 50 points a game. If the man wants to let Jalen have a little game time with a comfortable lead, so be it. As Cecil notes, Najee Harris looked like a grown man out there on Saturday. He deserves more touches, but with Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs around there are only so many carries to be had.

Of course, Tua has been nothing short of ridiculous, and NFL fans are taking notice.

Sorry folks, you can’t have him until after next season. Still, I have seen fans from the Titans, Bills, Bucs, Falcons, and Bengals tweeting the #TankForTua hashtag. If you think the hype is at a fever pitch now, wait until next season.

Oh, and don’t forget those WRs.

Undoubtedly, eyes around the nation have been opened by Alabama’s wide receiver corps early this season. It’s understandable that some might have paused at the thought of including the Crimson Tide in the elite groupings since Bama lost all three of its starters from last year, including Calvin Ridley, who had 63 catches for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns.

But replacing Ridley, Cam Sims, and Robert Foster – now all in the NFL – are the three men who backed them up as true freshmen last year. All had spectacular moments and all have been shining this year.

Adding in Waddle, there is a decent chance that this group will be recognized as the best in the nation by the end of the season.

Poor Cam Sims.

Cam Sims, who is with the Washington Redskins, got hurt on the opening kickoff of his first NFL game.

The initial indication is that the former Crimson Tide wide receiver suffered a high ankle sprain and may need to undergo surgery, according to a source.

More evidence that life just isn’t fair. Sims isn’t a guy on a multimillion dollar rookie deal, he’s a guy who busted his ass to make the team as a UDFA and is paying on a minimum contract. Hopefully this won’t derail his career.

The Crimson Skins defense did a number on the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener, and Vernon Davis gave Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne a cool nickname.

“The Alabama Wall,” eh? Let it be written.

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

Roll Tide.