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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Is Mac Jones set to lead Alabama to another great season?

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Alabama Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

“Obviously we’re all just making educated guesses, but if there’s an impact, you figure it will hit teams with lower continuity – new quarterbacks, new coordinators, lots of new starters – harder,” ESPN’s Bill Connelly said.

“So while Clemson, Ohio State and probably Alabama have decent enough continuity not to feel effects, a team like Georgia, with (Wake Forest transfer quarterback) Jamie Newman and (new offensive coordinator) Todd Monken, might need a bit longer to get rolling.”

Alabama was able to retain offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian despite interest from other schools, and the Crimson Tide kept defensive coordinator Pete Golding after an injury-filled, substandard season. It’s the first time that Nick Saban has retained both coordinators since 2015, when the team finished 14-1 with a national championship win against Clemson.

Alabama also got a good look at quarterback Mac Jones at the end of last season after Tua Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury.

So maybe keeping staff continuity for the first time since 2015 just might be an even bigger boon for the Tide than expected, eh? While I hate we’re going to miss out on some key position battles (namely the linebackers and 5th defensive back) that would have been on display during A-Day, the Alabama offense is mostly settled already.

And without spring practices to play catch-up, it seems pretty likely that Bryce Young will be well behind Mac Jones come September.

Mac Jones, QB Alabama (25-1)

”Jones will be under center for perennial power Alabama – currently +550 to win the title. After taking over for (Tua) Tagovailoa last year, Jones did a good job throwing 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Although Jones loses Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs to the NFL Draft, there is still plenty of talent surrounding Jones, including Bama’s leading receiver from last season – DeVonta Smith.

Bo Nix – QB Auburn (28-1)

“According to our odds to win-it-all, Auburn looks to be a potential top-10 team. Nix should improve on his decent numbers (16 TD, 6 INT). Nix also has the ability of putting up good numbers on the ground as he ran for 330 yards and seven scores last season.”

Trey Sanders, RB, Alabama (50-1)

”Even though Sanders was sidelined in 2019 with an injury, his talent is too immense to ignore. Sanders was the top RB recruit out of high school in 2019. If Mac Jones doesn’t take the next step and the Tide has a difficult time replacing the productivity of Jeudy and Ruggs, they could move to a much more of a run-heavy offense with Sanders and Najee Harris.

Speaking of Mac, it’s nice to see that Vegas recognizes he’s a better candidate to win the Heisman than Bo Nix. What’s truly amazing, though, is that they included Trey Sanders at all. A 2nd year back that got injured before every playing a down in college and is set to be the third-string behind two seniors— one of which is a former #1 overall recruit coming back from a 1500 yard season? That’s not odds I would want to bet on... no matter how talented Sanders is.

Stock price: 10-2 regular season, No. 3 in SP+ ratings, 2nd in SEC West

Bud Elliott: HOLD — Alabama scored 110 points more than any team in conference games not named LSU (Tigers had 377, Tide had 360). Injuries on defense were a major concern, as was losing QB Tua Tagovailoa to injury late in the year. Though it must break in a new QB, I’ll absolutely buy Alabama continuing to play like one of the top teams in the nation in 2020 thanks to a defense which should be awesome assuming the linebacker position does not again get wiped out in fall camp.

Brad Crawford: BUY — Admittedly, I would’ve lost money on the Crimson Tide last season and I’m not going to pretend Mac Jones strikes a ton of fear in opposing SEC defense, but it’s not often Nick Saban’s team is available on the open market as an affordable option after a two-loss campaign. In fact, it has only happened once in the past decade. I’m buying what I can now and fully expect the defense to be much-improved with Dylan Moses back and for Alabama to be in the College Football Playoff conversation coming down the stretch in November.

At least, now that the initial shock is over, most of the national media seems to recognize that ridiculously bad injury luck played more of a part in Alabama’s utterly horrifying two-loss season than the idea of a crumbling dynasty.

That’s about all there is in the news out there right now outside of the shiny new contracts the Alabama alumni got in the pros. (Erik’s got you covered here)

So, I’m going to go a little off script and give you a few other nuggets of #content to talk about. Fair warning, I’m breaking out the science lesson for a few paragraphs.

Ever wanted to know how water from your toilet winds up being able to be put right back into a source of water somewhere without it being an issue? Sure, you hear that they “sanitized” it, but does spraying a bunch of bleach on your sewer water really make it clean?

The whole point of a waste treatment plant is to take anything that’s not okay to be in water... out of the water. It’s a simple concept that, while there’s all kinds of math that goes on behind the physics of it, you’re used to doing all forms of separations in your daily life, such as pouring your water and spaghetti noodles into a colander to separate the liquids from the solids.

In a typical waste treatment plant, the first step is called “primary clarification,” which just means to take any non-dissolved solids out of the water using a novel concept called gravity. All the sewer water is sent to a gigantic contained pond or basin that, because of it’s size, slows down the movement speed of all the water. Given time to sit still, all that fecal matter (and other solids more dense than water) settles to the bottom of the basin. The now solids-free water is taken off the top, and the solids are sent out the bottom.

For those counting, the next step is secondary clarification. This is where things get interesting. Because there’s still a lot of... ahem... crap in the water that was dissolved and couldn’t sink to the bottom, it has to be removed a different way. A plant will then toss in a whole bunch of specialized bacteria into the water along with nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and a whole lot of oxygen. The bacteria then do what they were born to do: eat. It’s really a good life being a microbe.

They eat all the dissolved organic matter (read: dissolved poop and urine), poop it out as an actual solid again, grow and reproduce, and then eventually die. All the stuff that was once dissolved is now solid bacteria poop and bacteria carcasses that can, again, sink to the bottom of a huge, nearly stagnant basin and the clean water is taken off the top.

The final part of the process is tertiary treatment, or the disinfection step. There are a number of different methods here, such as using a whole lot of bleach or blasting it all with UV light, but the idea is just to kill any leftover bacteria that made it out alive.

And now you have water that is totally ready to given back to nature. Of course, there are hundreds of different ways to accomplish those three tasks and many involve water cycling back and forth between the stages to get an even more thorough “cleaning,” and there’s all kinds of math, physics, and chemistry behind how to make it happen efficiently. But, I don’t want to waste your time with that level of detail.

So, there’s your how-stuff-works tidbit of the week. While you’re stuck “working” from home the next few weeks, don’t be afraid to use the chance to learn something else new. If you really want to score some points, learn about some basic methods of statistical analysis and Excel formulas and try to do some stats research on a topic around Alabama Football. If it’s good, make it a fanpost and we might even push you to the front page.

If you’re more of just the idea type that doesn’t want to actually do anything, feel free to make request for me to look at in the future. I have access to all the play-by-play and drive data for Alabama since 2008, so we just might stumble upon something cool.

Good luck out there, keep your heads up, and remember that the internet can be a really good thing in times like this. Learn new things, keep up with your friends, and talk to strangers on an Alabama sports blog. We’ll be here.

Roll Tide!