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Jumbo Package: Saban says, “The days of playing great defense and winning are probably behind us”

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Alabama The Tuscaloosa News-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, Alabama will host Kentucky tomorrow after a long three week layoff. Previews:

Even with the ranked competition that Alabama has already seen — and taken care of with relative ease — so far in 2020, Kentucky will provide a tough hurdle for Alabama’s offense to solve. The Wildcats ought to be able to stay with the Crimson Tide early in the game, but Alabama simply has too much talent and should stay undefeated and atop the SEC.

Prediction: Alabama 45, Kentucky 23

As always, Alabama will get up fast, have this thing won after the first quarter, and will gear down and look to work on the defense and other parts the rest of the way. Kentucky’s defense, though, won’t let this get too ridiculous.

Again, the scores when it comes to Kentucky are all relative. Even if the final score doesn’t have a bazillion combined points, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a strong performance by the winner.

Alabama 41, Kentucky 17

Dial-a-score games involving Alabama are always sketchy because you never know when coach Nick Saban will take his foot off the gas. Knowing that, it’s important to take a look at the bigger picture. The Crimson Tide will host Auburn next week in the Iron Bowl, which is the most important game of the season every year — especially when it isn’t the last game of the regular season and the division title race is still on. Because of that, expect Saban to crank things down and get the second-teamers in as quickly as possible. Wilson and the Wildcats running game will shorten the game and get a cover ... even though the game will never be in doubt. Pick: Kentucky (+30)

After missing the Georgia game with an injury, Kentucky senior Terry Wilson (64.7% completions for 712 yards with six touchdown passes vs. one interception; 68 rushes for 344 yards and four TDs) reclaimed the starting job last week. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound product of Oklahoma City, Okla., turned in a sharp performance in UK’s 38-35 win over Vanderbilt, completing 13 of 15 passes for 110 yards and two TDs and rushing seven times for 83 yards and a score. Alabama redshirt junior Mac Jones (78.5% completions for 2,196 yards with 16 TD passes vs. two picks) has played his way into Heisman Trophy contention. Originally, a UK recruiting commit, the 6-3, 214-pound Jacksonville, Fla., product needs one more 400-yards passing game this season tie to the SEC record of four in one year held by Tim Couch (1998), Johnny Manziel (2013) and Joe Burrow (2019).

PREDICTION

Alabama 45, Kentucky 13.

The Wildcats limp into this one, barely escaping a poor Vanderbilt side last week by a 38-35 score. The good news is that they’re underdogs, and they have covered their past two when not favored. In addition, Kentucky is 4-0 ATS in its past four as a double-digit dog.

Prediction

Alabama 47, Kentucky 20

Interestingly, it’s the Kentucky writer who predicts that Alabama will cover the spread while holding the Wildcats offense to 13 points. Alabama’s defense has had its challenges at times, but they seem to be improving as the season goes along. Of course, they have also played against bad offenses recently. Good news! Kentucky’s offense is pretty bad.

It’s tough to predict a cover of 30 points in a conference game, but Alabama is well rested and the offense is just so much better than Kentucky’s. Call it 48-17 in favor of the Tide. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Kentucky at Alabama?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Wildcats tamed, Tide covers 30
    (444 votes)
  • 41%
    Kind of an uneventful slog, Alabama by 15-29
    (410 votes)
  • 0%
    Too close for comfort, Tide by 1-14
    (9 votes)
  • 11%
    LOL, come on.
    (115 votes)
978 votes total Vote Now

Nick Saban had his weekly radio show, and this one was a doozy. First off, he updated us on Trey Sanders and highlighted what Ballou and Rhea have meant to the squad.

— Saban said Trey Sanders “got t-boned” in the car accident that injured him. He wasn’t driving but the other car hit his side of the vehicle. It was a hip injury that will take several months but should end with a full recovery, Saban said.

— Former strength and conditioning coach “Scott Cochran did a really good job for us but this whole culture of sports science has changed the whole conditioning of athletes and development of athletes and they are so much more scientific now.” Saban said they’ve had fewer soft tissue injuries this year, “knock on wood,” he added.

Poor Trey. That kid has had awful luck. Hopefully he will have a great recovery and be ready to show his full potential to pro scouts next season. Saban is clearly happy with what he considers to be an upgrade in the S&C program.

Jaylen Waddle really wants to play in the playoffs, y’all.

“We’re very encouraged,” Saban said during his weekly radio show. “Everybody thinks he’s doing really, really well. He’s had a great attitude about it and he’s going to work hard and he told me that he wants to try to come back and play, but we’re certainly not going to let that happen until he’s fully 100 percent healthy.”

Not going to get our hopes up. Not going to get our hopes up. Not going to get our hopes up. Not going to get our hopes up.

That would be a great added incentive for the team to ensure that they get to the playoffs though, wouldn’t it? Do it for Jaylen, men.

Saban then fired a shot that set college football Twitter ablaze.

Nick Saban said this, folks. We haven’t seen the team play since Mississippi State, but in that game the Tide played more zone than we have seen in years. If Saban is ready to adapt again and agree that ball-hawking zone defenses and high flying offenses are indeed the way to win titles in this modern age, we may be on the verge of another dynasty. Alabama will always have the athletes to create havoc playing that style.

Last, maybe the best piece yet on Mac Jones.

The fact Jones could see both the reflection in the mirror and the Kentucky depth chart didn’t help the Wildcats. And that’s where a self-aware Jones separated himself from recruits in search of a program promising early playing time.

“I respect that (Kentucky) program,” Jones said last week, “but you know I might have had to go in there and play a little bit more and I don’t know if I was ready for that.”

In an age where players too often pick a school that allows them to play early, Mac realized that he wasn’t ready. In his heart of hearts, he may never have imagined that he’d be where he is right now. He knew how well Alabama recruits. Worst case, he would have come to Alabama, had three years of the best development around while likely getting a ring, and then moved on as a grad transfer. We like how it all worked out much better, of course. Kudos to Mac for showing that kind of maturity and it’s great to see it pay off.

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

Roll Tide.