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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban, Alabama preparing for a “balanced” Auburn squad

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Basketball starts tomorrow! Bamabrave4 will be along with coverage of the opener later on. The Tide will be facing Jacksonville State.

In football news, Nick Saban spoke to reporters yesterday ahead of the Iron Bowl, and was predictably complimentary of the opponent.

After managing just 216 yards in a 27-6 loss at Georgia, then losing to South Carolina two weeks later, Auburn enters the Iron Bowl on a three-game winning streak. It averaged 456 yards in the four games since the disaster at Georgia in a run that included a 48-11 beating of LSU.

“Offensively, they’ve got great balance,” Saban said. “They run the ball effectively. Bo Nix is a very effective quarterback in every regard. He’s a very good passer. They’ve got some very good skill guys at receiver. He can extend plays. He can run quarterback runs when they need him to. They’ve got some really good running backs, so they have great balance.”

We hear you, Nick. We know what’s coming though, so do they, and they deserve every bit of it.

As ESPN notes, Alabama hasn’t been pushed to the limit all season.

It’s been a while since Alabama has been tested. You have to go back more than a month to Oct. 17 against a then-third-ranked Georgia, and the Crimson Tide ended up running away with that one in the second half. But will the machine that is Mac Jones, Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith & Co. keep rolling when it faces its biggest remaining regular-season challenge against No. 22 Auburn on Saturday? The Tigers got the best of that battle last season, picking off Jones twice and winning a 48-45 shootout. Alabama’s defense has shown some vulnerability this season and will be put to the test by Auburn and its trio of quarterback Bo Nix, running back Tank Bigsby and wideout Seth Williams. — Alex Scarborough

Let’s hope they never are, eh?

DeVonta Smith brought home a SEC weekly honor.

Smith, of course, also broke Amari Cooper’s SEC record for receiving TDs. #WRU

Last, Finebaum is flabbergasted by Mac Jones’ success.

“The most amazing thing is that a year and three weeks after Tua went down, and Mac Jones slipped in there as his backup, Mac Jones is considered the No. 2 pick for the Heisman at this moment,” Finebaum said on WJOX. “I will gladly back out of all of the ‘Bryce Young is going to be the starter by midseason’ comments because that would encompass me and all of the audience. The Mac Jones run has been beyond comprehension. I don’t know when, in Alabama history, we’ve seen anything quite like this. Just imagine if he continues this streak and somehow explodes in the championship game and Kyle Trask reverts to where we all thought he was two years ago as a backup. Mac Jones winning the Heisman Trophy, would that be one of the most amazing and shocking stories in Alabama football history?”

Yes it would, Paul. Yes it would.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.