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Jumbo Package: Ray Perkins passes away, Saban sees benefit to some seniors returning in 2021

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NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama Mickey Welsh-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. We will open with this video clip, but we still are not getting our hopes up.

Nope. Not gonna do it.

As you undoubtedly heard, Ray Perkins passed away.

“Our condolences to Ray Perkins’ family and friends,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said during the SEC teleconference. “He served the University of Alabama with great class and integrity. He was a great coach and he had a tremendous impact on the game, and he was a really good person and a really good friend.”

Perkins’ four years in Tuscaloosa were not easy. Recruiting had slipped in Bryant’s final years. Other programs, notably Auburn, had stepped into the inevitable void. Perkins had a decent first year, thanks largely to the talents of quarterback Walter Lewis. In his second year, 1984, Alabama had its first losing season since before Bryant’s arrival. The criticism was withering. Perkins withstood it, no matter how trivial. Perkins changed Alabama’s offensive approach, abandoning the wishbone and rebuilding one more suited to his own style. People complained. He changed the potato chip sponsor on the weekly television show that Bryant had made must-see viewing in his time. People complained. He hired his own coordinators, with Bryant veterans like Mal Moore and Ken Donahue moving to other college programs. People complained. Had he ever mentioned that he breathed oxygen, some fans would have asserted that Bryant would have done it different.

The great irony of that, of course, was that if Bryant had been around, he would have supported Perkins for taking his own path.

Perkins had a solid run in an impossible situation, winning three bowls in four seasons. Innovation will be his primary legacy within the sport. Many NFL teams still incorporate Erhardt-Perkins concepts, designed to simplify playcalling and shorten the learning curve for quarterbacks. By all accounts, Coach Perkins was a top notch human being. May he rest in peace.

Nick Saban said that some seniors may take advantage of the free season in 2020 and come back for one more ride.

“I haven’t really talked to our seniors yet about anybody who wants to come back,” he said during the SEC weekly coaches’ teleconference. “We would welcome anybody that would want to come back. We have quite a few juniors who may go out for the draft.

“So this is something that I’ve told the players that after we play [in the SEC championship game] on Dec. 19, we’ll spend some time addressing it before we move on in whatever direction we move on from there.

Wonder who he may be talking about here?

Georgia writer Seth Emerson over at The Athletic has a nice piece on DeVonta Smith, who was committed to Georgia for 157 days.

Vincent Sanders, who runs a barbershop in Amite and knows so many people in town, said this to DawgNation for a story on Smith’s commitment: “I promise you will look back and remember this day. The kid’s motivation and determination are unbelievable. I guarantee you that DeVonta Smith, before he gets out of college, will win the Heisman Trophy. He told me ‘Mr. Sanders, I am telling you that I will put that Heisman in your shop and it will be here forever.’ I don’t doubt it. I know it is going to happen. You have to see what this kid does after practice. He has an app on his phone that goes off every hour and he has to get down every hour and do 35 push-ups. That’s how dedicated he is. He does those while he is awake.”

Smith told DawgNation about why his visit to Athens led to his commitment.

“It felt so good,” Smith said. “I felt like I was at home.”

LSU fans love them some Vincent Smith.

Speaking of LSU...

“I respect the university’s decision to proactively address NCAA issues from the past,” coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement. “I share the disappointment of our student-athletes who will not be able to compete this season in a bowl game. I am especially proud of our players’ dedication to the program during these unprecedented times in our country. Their pride in LSU will be the driving force as we continue to build a championship program. Geaux Tigers.”

Yeah, I’m sure they are real disappointed, Ed. They way players are bailing you’d be lucky to field a team for a bowl game.

Last, I’m sure that you are all shocked to learn that Ohio State will indeed play for the Big Ten title with only five wins.

The Big Ten officially changed its policy that teams must play six games to be eligible for the conference championship game, meaning undefeated No. 4 Ohio State will face Northwestern on Dec. 19.

The conference made the announcement Wednesday after its administrative council, made up of all athletic directors and senior women administrators, voted to eliminate the minimum-game requirement in collaboration with the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors.

Guess we will see what the committee does with them, but I fully expect them to be in the playoff, likely as the two or three seed after Clemson inevitably beats Notre Dame. Fine with me, let Alabama be the team who gets to beat up on the Domers in the first round.

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

Roll Tide.