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Jumbo Package: Managing the hype and expectations of the most recent Game of the Century

They’re all important games, aight?!

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Alabama v Texas A&amp;M

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

I’m guessing this was probably more of a granular response than Ed O would like:

Q.: Coaches from LSU and Alabama are seemingly using the slant pattern more effectively, how do you and your receivers use that as a weapon?

J.B.: It really depends on the defense you’re playing, A lot of the teams we’ve played this year have played this kind of off-quarters theme to the field. They give up the quick slants to No. 2 (Jefferson) in the three-by-one (receiver set), so we’ve taken advantage of that. It seems like just about everyone in the SEC plays that defense, so whatever the defense gives us we’re going to take. Sometimes, it’ll be the slant. Sometimes, it’ll be an out. It just depends on what the defense is giving away.

Q.: How do you guys make the call at the line of scrimmage?

J.B.: It comes from the sideline, it’s just a game plan thing. We always have our quick-game package that we go into the game with.

Good to know that the quick-slant comes from the sideline and it’s not being audibled into. Any small advantage helps.

Saturday is a big day in Tuscaloosa, aside from the four hours that will decided the West between these two playoff contenders, the chief executive of the United States will be in town (and that accompanying security nightmare), 900 media attendees, dozens of pro scouts, oodles of recruits, GameDay, and now SEC Nation.

Here’s what you need to know for getting around.

Gary Harris of The Jay Barker Show previews the big game. And, he makes a really good point here:

“This will be the difference,” Moore told Harris. “Red zone defense from the LSU Tigers. Red zone defense, third down conversions, and the running game are going to be the deciding factors.”

The first CFP rankings come out tonight right on the heels of Alabama basketball’s season-opener (a tough one against Penn.) Here are some things to watch for from SI.

Me, personally? I’d keep an eye on what the committee does with Texas A&M — Alabama and Clemson’s best win; how high Wake is ranked; and then the second-tier of the ACC (Louisville, VT, Virginia). If Wake is in the high teens and/or any of those latter three teams are ranked, then you know that the Committee has no intention of keeping the Clemson Tigers out of the playoffs...if they can run the table against that murderer’s row.

I wouldn’t panic if Alabama is as far down as 5th or 6th — even behind Penn State. Quality wins allegedly matter. And, aside from 5-3 Texas A&M, what’s the next best one for ‘Bama? 5-3 Southern Miss? Duke sitting at 4-4? What about Tennessee and South Carolina at 4-5? The Tide will have plenty of opportunities to impress down the stretch. So, deep breath everyone.

Speaking of hoops, Parker will be along later with your first preview of the season. But, Alabama got some unexpected love yesterday:

Alabama has a representative on the first-team of the preseason coaches All-SEC team. Crimson Tide sophomore point guard Kira Lewis was one of nine players on the first-team of the preseason coaches All-SEC team that was released Monday afternoon.

Lewis was named to the second-team of the preseason media All-SEC team in October.

Two years is the new three years, eh? Several second-year coaches are at risk of being canned after just 24 appearances or so — three of them are in the SEC and one was previously.

The biggest reason for the slide in quality in this conference is the loss of coaches across the board. You can’t lose Les Miles, Steve Spurrier, Gary Pinkel, Hugh Freeze — even Butch Jones — and expect to get better.

Ed O’s presser was yesterday. Though, if he thinks that offensive line is better than any group that’s been mauled for the best part of a decade, he is sadly mistaken:

“I like our quarterback, obviously. I like the way our offense is putting points on the board. We’ve gotten better on the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the football. Our guys have been tested against Auburn, they’ve been tested against Florida. Obviously they’re going to be tested again this week. I do believe we have better depth on the defensive line. I think that our guys are equipped. This is the best football team we’ve had going into this game.”

On the other side of the ledger, yesterday was the better coach’s press conference too.

On managing hype

”I think the big thing you want the players to do is not get involved in the hype surrounding the game, or even think about the implications of the game, but prepare for the game as if this is the best team you’ve played and the player you’re going to play is the best player you’ve played against at his position all year long. And therefore you’re going to need to challenge yourself to play your best and be your best as a football player and stay focused on that. And not the distractions that surround the game relative to implications or whatever gets created relative to the circumstance of the game.”

I say better coach, of course, because numbers don’t lie.

One last hoops thing: BOL did a great story on Mike Snowden, Coach Nate Oats’ hand-picked S&C coach — the guy responsible for making sure this new tempo offense will purr like a kitten:

They were “gassed” following the first on-court workout with Oats in the days after the hire, and things weren’t going to get any easier in the weight room with new strength and conditioning coach Mike Snowden, who worked with the team four hours a week this offseason.

“I made that a point of emphasis that we’re going to move with a pace, and then when they got into that first workout, they understood why we do it that way,” Snowden told BamaOnLine in an exclusive interview. “We practice hard and practice at a very level high level so that the games are a little bit easier than the practice. They’ve adjusted fine to that.”

Finally, Antonio Alfano, in his quest to be closer to his ailing grandmother in New Jersey, is of course transferring to be closer to Oregon.

Godspeed, lazy headcase.

There’s the JP for today. We’ll be back later with a ton of more stuff for you: Random Thoughts, Men’s Basketball preview, an evening thread for hoops and the CFP rankings. And, there’s already a preview of the LSU offensive coaches up (and what they do well), on top of The Meltdown.

Busy Tuesday; busy week. Roll Tide.