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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama Crimson Tide looks to sweep all the major national awards... Except One.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 19 SEC Championship Game - Alabama v Florida Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Because it’s Gump Day, we’re leading with the best moment from Saturday’s game:

“I ain’t going to lie,” Alabama safety Patrick Surtain said Tuesday. “I told him like, ‘You need to come to defense and play safety.’ I didn’t know he had that in him. It was a good hit.”

DeVonta Smith recovered and caught a wide-open touchdown pass on the following snap. The Heisman candidate receiver remembers catching a glimpse of Metchie before the collision.

“I seen Metchie coming,” Smith said Tuesday. “I didn’t think he was going to hit him like that but I seen it coming.”

This one is going in the pre-game video in Bryant-Denny Stadium for years to come. And in a game that ended within a score, this play made all the difference.

Seriously, can Metchie play safety too?

The Crimson Tide had a finalist in eight of the nine awards for the College Football Awards show ESPN hosts annually. It will take place Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. CT this year instead of the traditional mid-December slot.

Only the Ray Guy Award for the best punter didn’t include an Alabama player among the top three. A rundown of the awards to be handed out between the CFP semifinals and the national championship:

I was going to post a link and block quote for the Alabama players on the list for winning a national individual award. Then I realized that a Tide player was in the running for all but one of the major awards, and that would take up too much space on the page. So instead I’m only quoting the part saying that Alabama didn’t have a finalist for the punter award.

Pat Surtain, DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, Najee Harris, Will Reichard, Alex Leatherwood, Landon Dickerson, and Steve Sarkisian are all finalists in the respective awards.

Bama showed it could play the hurry-up game, too. After the kickoff return, Alabama had 1:04 from its 22 yard line. The Tide could have just run out the clock and taken its 11-point lead to halftime, but Jones came out throwing. His first pass was incomplete, which meant some thought had to be given to not giving the ball back to the Gators. Jones took care of that with a 25-yard pass to Bolden that moved the ball to midfield. Alabama completed the drive of 8 plays in just 59 seconds, Jones to Harris for 17 yards. The Tide led 35-17 at halftime.

This is a really cool article from 247 if you want to go back and revisit how drives happened, rather than just the big plays.

I particularly wanted to highlight this sequence. Nick Saban teams of the past would have run the ball a couple of times to kill clock, and then only air it out if they got yards. When Alabama threw a pick and gave up quick back-to-back touchdowns in this situation in the loss to LSU last year, I was worried Saban would get gun-shy in the future in similar situations. Instead, he kept playing with his foot on the gas and that extra score made all the difference.

Five former Alabama players scored touchdowns in Week 15 in Derrick Henry (Titans), Jalen Hurts (Eagles), Josh Jacobs (Raiders), Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins). Hurts accounted for four touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing), while Tagovailoa rushed for two touchdowns. Daron Payne (Washington) recorded the first interception of his career.

Henry scored his 15th touchdown of the season, becoming the fourth player in NFL history to register back-to-back seasons with at least 1,500 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. He joined Shaun Alexander, Terrell Davis and Larry Johnson as the only players to do it.

On Monday, five former Crimson Tide standouts were named to the Pro Bowl, including Henry, Jacobs, Minkah Fitzpatrick (Steelers), Marlon Humphrey (Ravens) and Ryan Kelly (Colts).

Here’s a nice roundup of all the Alabama players doing stuff in the NFL this last week. Calvin Ridley had a phenomenal week, and then was somehow snubbed from the Pro Bowl despite putting together a 1200 yard season while Julio Jones missed half the year with injuries.

Four-star guard Jaeden Roberts will announce his commitment on Christmas Day at 3 p.m. CT, the Houston (Texas) North Shore product announced on Monday evening.

Roberts de-committed from Auburn last Wednesday following Gus Malzahn’s firing.

“The whole situation with Coach (Gus) Malzahn was pretty bad,” Roberts told BamaOnLine. “Him being fired kind of put my mind to the decision-making process of do I want to stay or not? Once the head coach gets fired you don’t know what’s going to happen to the coaching staff. I was really concerned about that. I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do. After talking to my parents and coaches it made my mind straight on what I need to do.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a possible Christmas day present. When Roberts decommitted from Auburn, most of the recruiting folks on Rivals and 247 seem to think Alabama is his most likely destination. The Tide already has 4 highly rated offensive linemen, and adding a massive 340-lb guy like Roberts would really round out the group.

Finally, in case you missed the news yesterday:

Boise State’s Bryan Harsin has been named the next head football coach at Auburn, the school announced Tuesday night.

He replaces Gus Malzahn, who was fired earlier this month after eight seasons with the Tigers.

The 44-year-old Harsin is 69-19 with three Mountain West titles in seven seasons at Boise State, his alma mater. Harsin was a top target for Auburn from the start of its coaching search, and more than 20 Power 5 schools have reached out to him over the years, a source told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

So, Auburn’s “splash hire” after spending $21M to fire their perennial 8-4, top 25 coach was a guy who was a perennial.... 9-3 in the MWC, top 25 coach.

Seems... A bit like a lateral move to me. Definitely not a panic hire. Nope. Nothing to see here.

Roll Tide!