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Jumbo Package: Alabama favored by 18 1⁄2 in College Station

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. Fresh off the bye week, Alabama opens as huge road favorites in College Station.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this line as the week goes along. It had risen by 12 point as of this morning. The over/under is 61, meaning that Vegas is expecting something around 40-21, a far higher scoring affair than the results of their matchups against Clemson and Auburn. As of now, the poor Aggies are going to have to play four of the top five teams in the country by the end of the season, and it’s hard to believe that the loser of Alabama vs. LSU will fall far as long as the game is reasonably close. I have no idea whether any team has ever had to run that kind of gauntlet.

Alabama seemed to have the right approach to the off week.

“If everyone approaches the bye week in the right way it can be a good thing,” Alabama defensive back Jared Mayden said. “Just get back to the fundamentals, and focus, communicate, work on tackling. I need to get better at my communication skills and getting the call echoed across the board. Also I know I need to work on my tackling on the perimeter. In the SEC there are a lot of big backs so I need to make sure I’m not just going up and hitting guys as hard as I can, I have to wrap up. That’s something that’s my focus.”

On differences in Tua Tagovailoa from last year: “I think he was an outstanding performer a year ago. But I do think one of the things that [offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian] has done, is Tua probably has a better understanding not just of what we do on offense and what’s expected of him, but I think he has a much better understanding of what the other team is doing on defense. I think he understands the coverages better, which makes him be able to make quicker decisions. He’s always been a very instinctive guy. But I think his reaction to what the other team is doing is better than it was a year ago.”

I’m not going to say that Saban’s quote was a little subtle shade at Locks, but I’m not going to say it wasn’t.

247sports put out some bowl projections, and the Tide are in the playoff.

When: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta, Ga.

Projected matchup: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Quick bite: Saturday’s win vs. Kansas wasn’t as sexy as some of the Sooners’ victories this season, but with Texas looming on a dreary day in Lawrence, what did you expect? Alabama, college football’s new top-ranked team, moves into the No. 1 seed slot this week heading into its Week 7 battle at Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide’s two toughest games remaining are LSU and Auburn, then potentially Georgia in Atlanta. If Tua Tagovailoa and this offense can get through those three heavyweights, go ahead and book a No. 1 seed and relative home game in a national semifinal.

There has never been a matchup the country wanted more than this one. The Tua Tagovailoa vs. Jalen Hurts hype would be in overdrive.

In NFL news, Josh Jacobs and Amari Cooper went off this weekend.

In his fifth NFL contest, Jacobs recorded his first 100-yard game by running for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He also caught three passes for 20 yards.

Jacobs’ rushing output exactly doubled the average number of rushing yards that the Bears had yielded per game this season entering Sunday’s contest.

On Oakland’s game-winning touchdown drive, Jacobs ran for 33 yards on six carries, including rocketing into the end zone from 2 yards out with 1:57 left in the game.

Cooper’s touchdown trimmed the Packers’ lead to 34-24 with 7:46 left in the game.

It also allowed former Alabama All-American to set a career single-game high for receiving yardage as it pushed his totals for the contest to 11 receptions for 226 yards.

Check out this note on Coop.

Any time you are on a short list with Jerry freakin’ Rice, you are doing some pretty phenomenal things. Proud that two Bama guys are on it.

Alabama softball got some great news yesterday, that maybe was a bit disappointing for Montana Fouts.

Congratulations to Haylie, and hopefully Montana will channel her disappointment into an even better season than last season, which will be tough to top. This team is loaded with a ton of returning starters from a WCWS squad plus another freshman ace in Lexi Kilfoyl, who was a two-time Florida high school player of the year, and grad transfer OF Alexis Mack who made all-conference twice at Oregon.

Last, SEC Shorts shows us how tough it is to be a Tennessee fan these days.

Outstanding stuff.

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

Roll Tide.