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Jumbo Package: Tide moves to top spot in the polls, favored by three TDs over LSU

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama didn’t play, but thanks to Clemson’s loss to Notre Dame has ascended to the top of the mountain for the 13th consecutive season.

The Crimson Tide were off in Week 10 but had been slowly gaining on Clemson’s lead in the ballots, closing the gap in voting points and first-place votes over the last month. The Tigers fell to No. 4 after the defeat, and Alabama took a large portion of those first-place votes to establish a firm hold on No. 1. Notre Dame moved up to No. 2 after the epic win, picking up just two first-place votes along the way, while Ohio State remained at No. 3 with one first-place votes after a routine dispatching of Rutgers.

The committee’s initial rankings won’t be out for a few weeks yet, but having Notre Dame at 2 and Clemson at 4 would essentially set the stage for Notre Dame making the playoff if they ended up with a lone loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. There is plenty of work to be done before that conversation happens, of course, starting with a LSU game featuring a point spread that nobody ever would have imagined.

As LSU prepares to host Alabama, maybe the pendulum will swing the other way. With three losses already (and three teams from this week’s AP top six left on the schedule), this looks like a last stand, a final chance to salvage something. The Tigers’ talent hasn’t disappeared. They are physical up front and not bad offensively if their quarterback situation is stable.

Over the course of 13 years, the excitement of being No. 1 in a mid-year poll doesn’t affect Alabama. Every player that’s not a true freshman has been through it before. But it is one more reason among many that this could be LSU’s final chance at some small measure of redemption.

That spread is an awfully big number, but LSU did lose by 37 in Jordan-Hare the last time out. They have shown some explosiveness on offense at times, but the defense has been pretty awful across the board. Alabama may have a bit of an ax to grind after Ed Orgeron’s postgame shenanigans last year, too.

As you likely heard over the weekend, Trey Sanders was in a bad car accident.

That poor kid has had awful luck.

Sam Pittman is getting lots of love for SEC Coach of the Year.

Halfway through his fifth season, Smart is now 48-14 with one SEC title and no national titles. In Mark Richt’s first five seasons at Georgia, he went 52-13 with two SEC titles and no national titles.

The Georgia fanbase eventually tired of Richt coming close but unable to deliver the big one. Despite last winning a national championship in 1980, the Georgia fanbase expects to compete for one every year. The pressure to win big is high. That’s why Smart is in Athens.

If Smart doesn’t take a long, hard look at his offense and consider changes, he may find himself on the other end of that equation in a few years. For as close as Georgia seems to be to winning it all, that window gets a little smaller every year it doesn’t.

Who isn’t getting any love, as usual? The coach who is favored to win the league, which is as ridiculous as it is every year. Remember when Mac Jones was just an afterthought in his recruiting class, and rated only three stars?

18. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (6-3, 214 pounds)

Jones is having himself a big season replacing Tagovailoa in Tuscaloosa. Jones has been the complete package in leading the Tide, having a Joe Burrow-style breakout with his accuracy, big arm and downfield production, racking up jaw-dropping passing totals in the process. His prototypical strong pocket passing should have great appeal after one year of Philip Rivers as the bridge QB.

Huh. Somebody must have, dare I say, coached him up to potential first round draft status.

There are too many awesome NFL clips from Bama players to post from the weekend, but check out Julio Jones and Jerry Jeudy destroying ankles.

Just incredible. Off the top of my head Minkah Fitzpatrick had another huge day on defense for Pittsburgh, Irv Smith Jr. got two TDs for Minnesota, and Josh Jacobs got another for the Raiders.

Last, in case you were worried about Tua Tagovailoa recovering from that hip, I think we can put that to bed.

Tua is now 2-0 as a NFL starting QB, and 2-0 vs. Kyler Murray. His line yesterday was a solid 20/28 for 247 yards and two TDs. This kid might just be OK.

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

Roll Tide.