This game shouldn’t need more hype. This is the fifth such Game of the Century between the two historic SEC rivals in the space of a decade, where No. 1 and No. 2 LSU/Alabama meet with the highest of stakes and all of the chips on the table. Since 2011, the teams seem to be at their most closely-matched. The winner all-but assuredly claims the West and has the best claim on the top spot in the CFB Playoffs. The two seem so similar on paper — again — right down to their limitations.
It shouldn’t have required more hype. But, somehow, we got it yesterday:
After LSU improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference going into its Nov. 9 game at now-No. 2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC), Jefferson was asked how different is this LSU team compared to the one in 2018 that lost, 29-0, at home to Alabama.
”I don’t know,” he said and then he went on to say, ‘We’re going to, we’re going to, uh, we’re going to dominate. I mean, there’s nothing much to it. I mean, we owe them. So, we’re going to get to it.”
The evolution of the Tigers offense into one that relies on 80% shallow crosses and quick hitches and slants has convinced this iteration of LSU that they are a reborn offensive juggernaut...that they are more than they are. It has led to a lot of overconfidence and an inability to peer closely into the mirror and realize that theirs is a flawed-but-talented team without much depth that has beat up on one-dimensional, even more flawed teams, with far less talent.
Ed O will downplay this; he may even defend Jefferson. But you have to think at the end of the day, he wishes that message control were tighter. Alabama was always going to play like they were shot out of a cannon. There was no question about either of these teams being flat. But, what the Tide have thrived on the past decade is disrespect and, on rare occasions, revenge. The coaching and development are the best in the biz, but when those are weaponized by honest disrespect, when that blade gets the whetstone of opponent hubris across the edge? Well, then, Alabama becomes a well-oiled, different sort of monster.
They won’t admit it, but Jefferson’s guarantee has to make the Tide coaching staff giddy.
I know I am.
Speaking of statements made, besides Mac Jones, absolutely no one needed to step up and prove they are up to the task quite like the maligned Crimson Tide defense.
The criticism was taken to heart — that group very much felt they needed to make a statement:
Cornerback Patrick Surtain, who had an interception that led to a field goal against the Hogs, said the defense has an emphasis on takeaways. “We’re trying to see the ball, get the ball,” he said. “We’re trying to make plays on the ball and when opportunities come make sure we take them.
“We’re very confident. We think we can play against anyone in the nation. That’s how we go into the game thinking, how we approach the game. Competing out there, communicating, playing as a team defense is the main thing, flying around and making plays.”
A lot of things led to the Tide defense playing better of late — especially generating turnovers — but the health of Terrell Lewis was noted as being among them. It’s great to see the Pterodactyl finally healthy after a rough two years (Thanks for the nom de guerre, TITS).
That emphasis on turnovers is paying off too. The Tide now lead the nation in turnover margin, and they have taken three opponent miscues to the house in three straight weeks — and Trevon Diggs alone has gone to the endzone in back-to-back weeks. #TOTO
But, what about the most discussed ankle in College Football history? No guarantees from Nick Saban, who is being a lot more buttoned-up about Tua than he was the previous few days:
“We’ll just have to see what he can do and evaluate his mobility and his performance,” head coach Nick Saban said at The Harbert Center before addressing the Monday Morning Quarterback Club. “I can’t really predict any of those things. Just got to let it happen and see how it goes. I think Wednesday will probably be the first day he’s back out on the field.
“He’s been on the AlterG and progressing well on that, which is usually the protocol for how we bring players back that have lower extremity-type injuries.”
The Alabama coaching staff named their players of the game following the Tide’s rout of Arkansas on homecoming.
Included among them is:
Caught two passes for 11 yards, converting one first down for the Tide
Added one kickoff return for a gain of three yards
The redshirt junior also helped block for UA’s rushers to accumulate 179 yards on the night
This here is what we call “foreshadowing.”
Because, last night, the Tide announced that Mr. Forristall suffered an injury in that contest and will miss several weeks...including the LSU game in 11 days.
The NCAA is slow-rolling changes to its model in light of recent NIL and endorsement rulings from federal courts and legislative bodies.
A “set of principles” regarding the name, image and likeness rights for college athletes will be presented Tuesday by a working group to the NCAA Board of Governors. Details of those principles were not shared by Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, a member of that high-profile working group, who spoke to CBS Sports.
”We are coalescing on a set of principles that adhere as close to the collegiate model as possible,” Bowlsby said. “We’ll be posing some questions to the Board of Governors about how they want us to proceed from here.”
When pressed, Bowlsby said it “will not be a fast process” and the body was looking at a rollout sometime in 2021.
I suspect the waiting game here is that the NCAA is gearing up the lawyers and lobbyists to get some relief from Congress and in the appellate courts.
Almost simultaneously, and likely not coincidentally, the NFLPA announced it would be pairing up with a group that purports to represent student-athletes as they work work on licensing deals. Note: The NCPA does not actually represent the nation’s players, because the NLRB has already ruled that student-athletes are not employees and are not permitted to form unions. I have no idea how the moving parts are going to come together here, to be honest. But, a lot of folks are seeing a lot of dollars here, and it won’t be the players that earn them.
Tonight the Alabama gymnastics squad hosts its annual trick-or-treating/intrasquad meet at Coleman Coliseum. If you want to take the little ones, here are the details:
The Alabama gymnastics team will host its annual Ghosts and Goblins Intrasquad Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Frances Smith Practice Facility in Coleman Coliseum.
Fans will be admitted to Coleman Coliseum at the southeast corner (the UA Law School side of the Coliseum) starting at 4 p.m. CT and the competition gets underway at 4:30 p.m. The event is slated to last about an hour and seats are limited.
There was no weekly presser from Saban, but at the QB Club meeting, he touched all the bases, including getting back to basics during the bye week, the development of the defense, and more.
On how much he enjoys the next two practices of focusing on the basics…
“Oh, I like all the practices. I like it when we’re focusing on what we need to do to improve. I like it when we’re trying to strategize for the next team that we’re going to play and try to team the players what they need to know to be able to implement the plan against the strategies. I enjoy all of it. So, we just take it one day at a time and try to get the most out of every day and be where your feet are and control what you can control in that moment. That’s been the thing that I think can help the players the most and can help us the most as coaches.”
We kind of touched on this today, in the FanPulse Top 25, but Alabama’s SOS has left a lot to desire. It’s hard to fully evaluate this team (see also Clemson). And even the human polls and computer models are all over the board.
That’s your JP for today. We’ve plenty more on tap. So, enjoy and Roll Tide.