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Jumbo Package: Vegas book gives Mac Jones third best odds to win the 2020 Heisman

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Hannah Stephens notes that a Vegas book recently released a way too early betting line for the 2020 Heisman, and have a look who came in third.

That is pretty incredible, even considering Mac’s performance filling in for Tua Tagovailoa this season, mainly because he is far from guaranteed to be the starter. First off, Tua could return, but failing that he still will compete with Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson. Oh, and one other candidate is now in the mix as well.

Nick Saban is more inclined to play the better player now than maybe he would have been five years ago. In terms of arm talent, instincts, pocket awareness, twitch athleticism in the pocket, those are the sort of things that Bryce young has that you just don’t see very often, and I think he has the ability to impact national stage kind of games early in his career.”

Following Young’s announcement, Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson said he was the best quarterback to ever play at the prestigious West Coast program. That collection of stars under center include Matt Leinart and Matt Barkley — high praise for a talented player who has been compared to Russell Wilson.

“I just absolutely love the guy,” Saban said. “His character. He’s got a great family. He’s got all the right stuff. And I think that’s really important in the quarterback position. You’ve heard me say this many times before, if you play quarterback, it’s hard to play the position if the people around you don’t play well, so having great leadership qualities can contribute to that. I think Bryce certainly possesses those qualities.”

It’s hard to believe that a QB prospect could generate so much excitement on the heels of the career of the best passer in school history, but Alabama fans couldn’t be more pumped to see Bryce. The Alabama QB room has been a national storyline for a while now, but this spring it will be on overdrive.

There is less than zero chance that Saban names an official starter in the spring, but what if Tua leaves, then Young comes in and balls out at A-Day? As a grad transfer with two years of eligibility remaining, Mac Jones would be the hottest name in the portal by a wide margin. Does he stick around try to win the job in the fall, or does he pull a Joe Burrow and leave preemptively?

Either way, spring ball is going to have plenty of intrigue, and not just for the quarterbacks. A welcome infusion of elite talent on the defensive side of the ball will garner plenty of attention as well.

Cecil Hurt writes about the recruiting disparity between the haves and have nots.

So there is a chicken-or-egg question at work. Do those teams usually get into the Playoff because they have the best players? Or do they always get the best players because they perennially make the Playoff? The two-week buildup and constant television exposure on ESPN makes the Playoff the sport’s most effective recruiting video, something that Alabama has profited from for years now. That transcends geography, which used to be the strongest magnet in recruiting. There are some circumstances at individual institutions that cause this, it here is the fact: at the highest level of recruiting, where half of the 5-star players wind up at less than five percent of Power Five schools, there are no schools from Texas, none from Florida, none from California. The best players from those states leave for greener pastures, or did this year.

Every year there are fewer teams that have a realistic chance to compete for a national title, it seems, as the talent gap widens. Basketball has the one-and-dones that allow programs to develop lesser regarded recruits into veteran, cohesive teams to compete with more talented one-and-done freshmen at the blueblood programs. Since football players have to wait until three years past high school to enter the NFL draft, that advantage is minimal.

Jerry Jeudy ain’t scared of no injuries.

“We play football. Injuries happen,” Jeudy said. “So, if I didn’t get injured the whole season, why would I get injured in this game? I’m not really thinking about injuries or anything like that. I just go out there and play football like I have been doing this whole year.”

Good for him. Hopefully the fact that almost all of the upperclassmen have decided to play will portend well for a grand finale against Michigan.

One of two things could happen when Michigan meets Alabama in the Jan. 1 Vrbo Citrus Bowl.

1. Bama shows up with a point to prove, plays like the top-five team predictive rankings like SP+ and FPI think it is, and hands Michigan another loss to another elite team. (And maybe a pretty bad loss at that.)

2. Bama, disappointed about missing the College Football Playoff and prepping for the departure of quite a few stars, plays like it’s the 2009 or 2014 Sugar Bowl, doesn’t come ready for a fight, and hands Harbaugh an opportunity to beat the premier program of the 2010s.

If Alabama plays its best game, they will smoke this Michigan squad. Let it be written.

Last, Paul Myerberg at USA Today wrote about the ten best college football games of the decade, and even included five honorable mentions. The top two entries are Alabama losses, a third Alabama loss is #5, and yet another Alabama loss made the honorable mentions list.

What didn’t make the list? Any Alabama wins.

The first battle with Clemson that turned on a perfectly executed onside kick? Nope. None of the three great games against Georgia - the SEC Championship games in 2012 and 2018 nor the epic national title game that introduced the world to Tua Tagovailoa - made the cut.

Haters gonna hate, eh?

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

Roll Tide.