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Jumbo Package: Will Mississippi State get the Mac Attack?

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Thursday, everyone. People are really only talking about two things with regard to Alabama Football: playoff chances and a certain right ankle. Let’s start with the QB situation for this week.

There are also variables involved in using backup Mac Jones, who played well as the starter against Arkansas, throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns while completing 18-of-22 passes. However, to make this kindly, Mississippi State is far better than Arkansas, and differs defensively.

“There’s a lot more pressure, a lot more stunts,” Saban said. “They probably pressure you about 50 percent of the time. They’ve got a lot of stuff that they do on third down. So, this is a much more challenging preparation, I think, for (Mac), but he’s done a good job of handling it. He’s smart, and we’ll see how he plays in the game. I can’t tell you whether a guy’s going to play good or bad. We just try to prepare him the best we can, and most of the time, the guys that practice good play pretty well. And he’s practiced pretty well so far this week.”

-- Tua Tagovailoa “made a lot of progress today,” Saban said. “First time a lot of the soreness went out. ... Still didn’t do a lot at practice today. We’ll see where he is tomorrow and go from there.” Saban said he hopes Tagovailoa will be “able to do something” in Thursday’s practice.

-- Saban said you learn a lot more when you have failures than trying to get people to buy into changes when there is success. “So far this week it’s been pretty positive,” he said.

We’ll just have to see, but an 11am kick in 40 degree temperatures is probably going to be something of a slog no matter who is under center. Najee Harris and Brian Robinson need to carry the load. Saban also notes that Will Reichard has little chance of playing this week.

In case you have forgotten just how special Tua Tagovailoa is, take another look at the final score from Saturday.

43 yards downfield, from the right hash to the left sideline, on the money. That is art, folks.

On to the playoffs, it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to hear what the experts are saying.

“While it’s true they’ve never taken a one-loss non-champion over a one-loss champion, they’ve never been forced to make that decision. I think it’s lazy to make that statement and make it a reason why it won’t happen this year.

“This is the important question: Do the members of the selection committee take any instruction whatsoever from the conference commissioners? There was a story around Big Ten media days that (former Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delany and (former CFP committee member and Wisconsin athletic director) Barry Alvarez thought the committee screwed up taking non-champions a couple of times and leaving conference champions out. They have to have heard it.

“The question is, do they care? They are given a very simple task: to choose the four best teams. The Pac-12 has been left out the past two years in a row. Can you for political purposes afford to leave them out? Some people say Alabama could be in big trouble if they’re looking at it that way. That this is a political exercise.”

Pretty simple question, it seems. Virtually everyone believes Alabama to be better than anyone who will win the Big 12 or Pac 12, but do they have the “guts” to make the right call and deal with a nationwide hissy fit? Oregon’s AD sitting as committee chair further complicates matters. He is required to recuse himself obviously, but does his presence make it more likely that Oregon is favored, or less likely to avoid the appearance of favoritism toward his program?

Hopefully all of that offsets and they do what they are supposed to do: choose the four best teams. Sometimes two of them are in the same division. Thus far the committee has done its job well.

Not sure I’m loving this reaction, honestly.

I guess it’s cool to be disappointed, but they should be looking at it more as an opportunity. Win out and you have a great chance. Now get to work.

Check out this horrific clip from last night’s game between Toledo and Northern Illinois.

Sorry, but that warrants more than an ejection. Kid should be gone for the foreseeable future.

Last, Minkah has a legit shot at Defensive Player of the Year after almost singlehandedly transforming Pittsburgh’s defense.

The takeaway tear of Pittsburgh free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick isn’t Fitzmagic, it’s “football justice,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

“Minkah is a level-headed guy, and his play is steeped in preparation,” Tomlin said. “I haven’t been around him very long. None of us have. But we all know he has a love for football, and it is displayed in the urgency with which he works daily, not only on the field but in the classroom. He is just very professional, and so it’s football justice as far as we’re concerned.

Yeah Mike, we call that #BuiltByBama in these parts.