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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Is Christian Harris primed for a breakout sophomore season?

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Michigan v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

What if I told you there was a time when the Alabama Crimson Tide won a football game on a field goal as time expired?

No, this isn’t the intro to the latest 30 for 30 installment, although, when broaching the topic of successful kicks in critical moments, 14 years ago probably seems more like three decades ago to Crimson Tide fans.

Want to get really crazy? The vertically-challenged 45-yarder Jamie Christensen sent helicoptering through the goalposts at the final gun of the Cotton Bowl on the second day of 2006 wasn’t his first game-winner of the 2005 season.

14 years since a game-winning field goal.... I wonder how that compares to other droughts from teams across the NCAA?

I remember back when Christensen was the kicker. I was absolutely certain he’d miss any field goal that wasn’t a game-winner. When a game was on the line, though, he never missed. Contrast that with many of Alabama’s kickers since who make all the field goals in the world until it comes time to hit one in a pressure situation (looking at you, 2017 championship game vs Georgia).

Overall, 13 Crimson Tide teams posted scores above the national average in their respective sports, including six that bettered the national average of their sport by 10 points or more.

Alabama football posted a program record of 990, which bettered the national average for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams by 22 points. The men’s basketball team posted a 990 APR, bettering the national average by 24 points. Baseball, with a 988 APR, bettered the national average by 11 points.

Five Alabama teams – football, men’s basketball, gymnastics, women’s golf and volleyball - earned public recognition from the NCAA for their APR scores figuring in the top-10 percentile nationally among teams in those sports.

Well would you look at that? Turns out Alabama isn’t just a factory that focuses only on football. Instead, they’ve become a top-notch academic university as well. Roll Tide to that (and also keep making my degree from there even more valuable)!

On the recruiting front, check this out:

Arnold is a top 200 prospect out of Florida and a top 10 safety who’s between Alabama, FSU, and Florida.

Wait. Safety?

That’s right, Arnold is a football recruit for Saban... And now has a basketball offer from Nate Oats. How that might work out is anyone’s guess. Could the two squads pass his scholarship back and forth to help the other with roster caps?

“We’re going to lean on the people who are the most responsible to go out and do their job and be able to create value for themselves because they’re confident and understand,” he said at the time. “That could be a freshman. We’ve played a lot of freshmen around here, I think we played 19 last year and five started. I know they’re not going to have the benefit of going through spring practice, but we’ve had a lot of guys that came in the fall — Minkah [Fitzpatrick], Ronnie Harrison — we’ve had guys that weren’t here in the spring, they didn’t get here mid-year and they started as freshmen.

Saban made it very clear that missing out on spring practice is really going to hurt the incoming freshmen. However, he also makes a point that the cream of the crop wind up contributing anyway. In fact, if someone enrolls in the fall and still winds up becoming an instant contributor, you just about know for sure they’ll become a future star. And that’s why I view Christian Harris as a potential major breakout candidate for 2020.

I mean, hey, it’s Gump Day, after all.

Roll Tide!