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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Is the NCAA Football video game coming back???

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Ohio State president Michael V. Drake, chairman of the NCAA board. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

New rules are expected to be in place by January 2021. Any new legislation would not lead to athletes being paid directly by schools, but also would not likely stand in the way of endorsement opportunities or being compensated for things such as jersey sales.

This is obviously the big news from yesterday. Basically, California forced the NCAA’s hand, and they did their best to stay as vague as humanly possible about any concrete rule changes. I have no real commentary to add, because I don’t exactly know what it really means going forward. That includes having no idea if the video game will return. Sorry.

Robinson said that he and Najee Harris “have a lot of similarities, but I don’t think we’re the same runner. We both have great abilities, but I think Najee is a little bit more patient than I am. In open space we’re different; he likes to hurdle and he’s shifty. I’m shifty, but I’m more physical insofar as drawing contact. We have a lot of similarities, but I don’t think we run the same.”

After some much publicized issues earlier this season, Alabama’s duo of running backs have vaulted their way to the #2 team in the nation in rushing success rate. Harris has done it by picking his way through traffic up the middle with his superior balance, while Robinson has moved chains by making jump cuts to get outside the tackle box and run through hapless cornerbacks with his speed and size.

-- Wide receiver DeVonta Smith was one of several players banged up in Saturday’s win over Arkansas who were spotted on the field Tuesday. Smith bruised his shoulder and did not return to that game but was seen running routes in individual drills with other receivers Tuesday.

-- Safety Jared Mayden, who was dressed against Arkansas did not play because of a pulled groin, was practicing, along with defensive back Shyheim Carter, who sprained his knee Saturday.

-- Linebacker/special-teams ace Ale Kaho was practicing in a non-contact jersey with a wrap over his left hand/wrist. Saban said Kaho will be able to play with a cast.

-- Guard Evan Neal (groin) was dressed for Tuesday’s practice and only holding a blocking pad during individual drills. He left Saturday’s game and was replaced by Emil Ekiyor, but could have returned. Same for center Landon Dickerson, who “got hit on the knee” and was replaced by Chris Owens in the game. Owens was wearing No. 79, his center number, in practice. He switched to No. 84, a tight end number, for the start of the Arkansas game.

-- Running back Najee Harris, who twisted his ankle and could have returned, was also on the field Tuesday.

Here’s the injury update from yesterday. There’s nothing really any different than what we heard in Nick Saban’s post game press conference. A bunch of smaller, nagging injuries, but nothing that seems too major outside of Tua’s golden ankle.

On paper, it’s really no contest.

If you had any doubt before, then LSU beating Auburn at home on Saturday should have made it crystal clear. With three wins against top-10 teams, LSU is the definitive No. 1 team in the SEC, if not all of college football.

Alabama just doesn’t have a comparable resume at this point. The Tide get the benefit of the doubt as unbeaten defending conference champs, but when your quarterback is in a walking boot and your best win is against a three-loss, 24th-ranked Texas A&M team, then you don’t really have that much to hang your hat on.

The good news is that in two weeks this debate won’t matter. Both teams have this week off, and then it’s full steam ahead to Nov. 9 when Alabama plays host to LSU in a game that will likely decide the winner of the West.

In the meantime, we should find out who will represent the East in the SEC championship game as Florida and Georgia head to Jacksonville on Saturday.

ESPN has a nice little rundown on every conference here. In the SEC, it’s come down to the same Alabama-LSU “Game of the Century” that we’ve had like 5 times in the last 8 years. You really can’t hype this game enough, and LSU absolutely deserves the #1 spot (see what I’m doing here?).

That said, saying they have three “top-ten” wins is a bit generous, considering one of those wins was against a Texas team that’s falling every week and is no longer ranked at all. But sure, give LSU credit for that one.

Three Alabama players were named semifinalists for national awards on Tuesday.

A pair of Crimson Tide juniors in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy were named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award. At the end of each season, the Maxwell Football Club presents the award to the College Player of the Year. Last season, Tagovailoa won the Maxwell Award following his record-breaking sophomore campaign.

Finally, a number of Alabama players are already in contention for the two biggest non-Heisman awards in college football. Tagovailoa and Jeudy are in contention for the nation’s best offensive player, and Xavier McKinney is on the nation’s top defensive player list. Interesting is the omission of DeVonta Smith, who has more yards and more touchdowns on 9 less catches than Jeudy.

Roll Tide!