Happy Thursday, everyone. The annual SEC media straw poll was conducted yesterday, and a lot of folks like Alabama.
The preseason SEC media poll.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) September 23, 2020
Alabama is the pick to win the SEC. Florida is the pick to win the SEC East. pic.twitter.com/lDJmi8ZUNs
The Florida pick is somewhat surprising. I’m guessing the difference is in the QB situation, where Georgia is unsettled and Florida brings back a guy in Kyle Trask, who some are higher on than others but offers stability if nothing else. That is going to be important this season, particularly in the early part.
Alabama is also very well represented on the preseason all-conference team.
May the postseason list boast even more.
Saban spoke to the media yesterday, as usual for a Wednesday.
“I think there’s a lot of questions. I don’t think there’s any biggest question,” Saban said Wednesday evening. “Every player that you’re playing that’s a new player that hasn’t been a starter before, it’s obviously how they’re going to respond when they get in the game environment, especially young players who haven’t been in a situation like that before. I think when you have new starters at any position, regardless of what their role on the team has been in the past, how are they going to respond to the new role, the new responsibility that they have?”
“I can’t really say right now,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said of Barmore’s status for the game. “He’s done a little more each day. I think when you have an injury like this, sometimes the more you do it creates a little soreness. Then you have to back off a little bit. Then you can do a little bit more the next day. He’s worked every day this week and he’s made progress and we’re encouraged by the progress that he makes.”
Every season brings new challenges, but this one is a different animal. How the players respond to all of the noise and calamity that will undoubtedly accompany the season will determine their success. As usual, I will embed the entire press conference below.
Chris Low covered this most difficult of all offseasons at Alabama in detail. It’s a fantastic piece.
The Alabama veteran players have made it clear that there will be hell to pay if they hear about anybody on the team living it up downtown at the bars or attending any parties.
“Everything that we’ve done to make this season happen, we can walk it all back with one person getting the virus,” Jones said. “That was my message to the team, along with [Dylan Moses] and some of the older guys. We’re going to wear our masks, eliminate being around large groups and do what they ask us to do.
“I went out a lot when I was younger, so I’ve been there. It’s really hard. But let’s grind it out for five more months, and after we win the national championship, then everyone can celebrate.”
Jones’ girlfriend, Sophie Scott, even took a leave of absence from her job at the university orthopedic clinic to make sure she wasn’t around anybody who might expose her and potentially spread the virus to Jones.
Not all heroes wear capes, Sophie. Jeff Allen is in there speaking about how Alabama has been monitoring the myocarditis situation since April. They rented an EKG, bring in someone to run it, and all positive cases have follow-ups every two weeks for two months. It also mentions the thrice daily sanitizing in the facility. Saban is ahead of college football constantly. Why would virus mitigation be any different?
Cincy Jungle is excited about Jonah Williams.
Williams ain’t no rookie.
Not because he technically accrued an NFL season last year. He simply doesn’t look the part. The guy’s not even 23 years old yet and he’s doing everything in his power to bring a basic dignity to the putrid stain that blemishes what is now a marketable enterprise; otherwise known as the Bengals’ offensive line.
Williams needed to be good. He still needs to be good. Great, even. Not only because his performance will directly impact the wellbeing of franchise quarterback Joe Burrow, but because of factors that have been in play even before Williams came into the picture.
Hopefully Jonah can stay healthy and reach his immense potential.
Last, Stewart Mandel’s picks this week have some delicious nuggets.
No. 23 Kentucky (+7.5) at No. 8 Auburn | Noon, SEC
Auburn is the more talented team, but it has a lot riding on a mostly brand new offensive line and a D-line adjusting to life without Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Kentucky is a tough, physical team that can take advantage. But this pick also assumes QB Terry Wilson looks good in his return from injury. Kentucky 24, Auburn 20
He also has Tennessee losing. Sign me up.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.