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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama’s Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith may have to fight for Heisman Trophy

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Auburn vs Alabama Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Alabama again holds the No. 1 spot after cruising to an Iron Bowl win against Auburn. Right behind the Crimson Tide is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had their own impressive showing at North Carolina last weekend. A scheduling change by the ACC announced earlier the day confirmed Notre Dame’s spot in the conference championship game.

Clemson keeps its place ahead of Ohio State in third. The Buckeyes were unable to get on the field after COVID-19 positives among players and coach Ryan Day.

Texas A&M and Florida are lurking behind the top four. The Aggies lead after winning the head-to-head meeting between the schools, but the Gators have the opportunity to win their way into the field by beating Alabama in the SEC championship game.

Eh, sure. I guess that’s about as good as anyone could rank the teams. Especially with Ohio State barely playing. Whatever.

Alabama is #1, so all is right in the world. The rest is extraneous.

College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Jan. 11, ESPN

Bonagura: Alabama vs. Notre Dame

Schlabach: Alabama vs. Clemson

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

Jan. 1, ESPN

Bonagura: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame

Schlabach: Ohio State vs. Clemson

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Jan. 1, ESPN

Bonagura: Alabama vs. Clemson

Schlabach: Alabama vs. Notre Dame

ESPN was a bit unimaginative with this one. C’mon guys, where’s the hot take spirit?? Throw in Texas A&M... That would cause some meltdown.

Earlier today, Mac Jones was named to the Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2020, the Davey O’Brien Foundation announced Tuesday. Jones is now an official candidate to win the 2020 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

A point scoring model was used to determine the quarterbacks in the Class of 2020. Points were awarded to players based on their overall performance as well as inclusion on the Davey O’Brien Preseason Watch List, weekly Great 8 lists and National Quarterback of the Week winners.

That might be the least scientific “model” I’ve ever heard of. In an age of “analytics revolution,” some things just try way too hard to make something subjective seem like it’s backed up by objective numbers.

Regardless, congrats to Mac Jones for making the watch list for the nation’s top senior QB!

The Alabama quarterback now leads the poll of 14 voters, getting seven first-place votes and 59 total points to Trask’s 58. The Florida passer still leads The Athletic’s poll but Jones picked up three first-place votes. Trevor Lawrence’s stock is rising after missing more than a month while Ohio State’s Justin Fields tumbled after another idle Saturday. Fields went from No. 5 to No. 9 in the ESPN poll and from No. 3 to No. 8 in The Athletic.

Trask also led the three oddsmakers surveyed but Jones closed the gap there too.

DeVonta Smith also gained ground in a few places after a 171-yard, two-touchdown Iron Bowl. He gained three points on ESPN while gaining three first-place votes at The Athletic.

And if the Davey O’Brien isn’t enough, Jones is doing his best to bring home the Heisman as well. Though I’d personally still vote for DeVonta Smith first. That level of dominance as a wide receiver has been mind-boggling to watch this season.

Smith has turned into not just a big play threat, but someone who dominates every defensive back, asks for the ball even when covered, and just generally commands both the offensive and defensive game plan.

It’s the kind of attitude seen in the elite of the elite NFL receivers in the past, and I love it.

It’s hard not to see a young man who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 312 pounds. However, one has to know where to look. Early in his Alabama football career, Phidarian Mathis was usually in the rotation at nose tackle on the defensive line. The fourth-year junior from Wisner, Louisiana, still sees some time in the middle of the defensive line, but can also be found playing at end.

“I’ve just always done what has been asked of me, just being a team player,” Mathis said Tuesday in a ZOOM meeting with reporters..”If you want to play, it really doesn’t matter where the coach wants to put you, you’re going to go out there and do it. So I don’t mind; I think it’s real good..”

After catching the eyes of Tide fans with a few high-effort plays as a freshman in 2018, Mathis went silent the following season and was quickly forgotten in off-season depth chart musings. So watching him develop from game to game and start to become a steady playmaker for the Tide in the second half of the schedule has been very satisfying.

Here’s to hoping Mathis continues his path upwards and helps turn this Alabama defense into a championship caliber unit.

Roll Tide!