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Jumbo Package: How will the Tide respond in Starkville?

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. The Tide will look to exorcise some self inflicted demons in Starkville this week. Your previews:

The Crimson Tide are coming off their first loss of the season, and it was one that rocked the college football world. So naturally, you can expect Nick Saban to light a fire under his team and take out their frustrations on Mississippi State. It could be a long night for the Bulldogs. Alabama 53, Mississippi State 24

I don’t have a high level of confidence in this pick. I’m very confident that Alabama will win the game, but given how badly the Crimson Tide have struggled on the road, I’m not willing to trust them to cover a spread this large. With that in mind, I don’t know how many points the Bulldogs can be trusted to score! My honest advice is to stay away from this game unless the spread gets as low as Alabama -14 or as high as Mississippi State +20. I doubt either scenario happens. Prediction: Mississippi State (+17)

2013 was the last time Bama lost back-to-back games, and that came on the Kick Six against Auburn followed up by a totally heartbroken loss to a jacked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Same thing in 2008 – a brutal SEC Championship loss to Tim Tebow and Florida led to a lifeless Sugar Bowl loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

The last time the University of Alabama lost back-to-back regular season games was all the way back in 2007. That was the last time the school lost to Mississippi State, too.

The Bulldogs will get a few passing yards to keep this interesting, and the better-than-you-think defense will keep this from getting out of hand, but you’re messing with history here if you think Nick Saban is about to lose two straight regular season games.

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 20

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 23: Last season, Alabama ran away with a 41-0 victory against Mississippi State. Rogers replaced quarterback K.J. Costello midway through that game, then threw two picks. The Bulldogs advanced into Crimson Tide territory on just three drives.

But in coach Mike Leach’s second season, some improvement on that score can be expected. Alabama isn’t likely to drop a second straight game, though — in fact, facing the Crimson Tide after a loss might make the task all the more challenging for the Bulldogs.

That last one is from the Mississippi State beat at the Clarion-Ledger. I would love to tell you how the Tide will play in this game, but I honestly have no idea. On the one hand, playing a Saban team after a loss has been a murderous proposition. On the other, this year’s team has gone on the road twice this season, and put up by far their worst two performances in those games. The talent is there, but does this team have it in them to commit to the cause and blow out a Mississippi State squad that won at Kyle field two weeks ago?

I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt one more week. Call it Alabama 45, Mississippi State 20. Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Alabama at Mississippi State?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Leach walks the plank, Tide by 17+
    (488 votes)
  • 39%
    Alabama wins but fails to cover, Tide by 1-16
    (347 votes)
  • 4%
    Bulldogs pull the upset (FLAGED)
    (42 votes)
877 votes total Vote Now

As usual, Saban spoke to his team through media last night.

— “Our team last year had a great sense of purpose,” Saban said. They were up and excited for every game they played because they were upset about how the 2019 team finished. They were older and more experienced with strong leadership. The motivation was internal, “which is what you want it to be, not external. Not what somebody else says or somebody else thinks or this guy cut my head off and carried it down the road like somebody did. That’s external.”

— Final word: “We’re no longer viewed as an elite team,” Saban said. They need to play a 60-minute game, which Saban said he hasn’t seen that from this team yet this season.

He needs to keep banging that “not elite” drum until it sinks in.

USA Today has Alabama running the table and getting in the playoff.

So how did this weekend change this edition of the bowl projections? Alabama is keeping its spot with the expectation it wins the rest of its regular-season games and gets by Georgia in the SEC title game. There’s not a ton of confidence with this pick, but it still seems to be the most likely result despite the unpredictable nature of the season. Iowa is not so fortunate as the Hawkeyes drop out in favor of Ohio State, now the favorite to win the Big Ten East. Oklahoma also remains in the field.

Let it be written.

Saban is once again the highest paid coach in the land, as he should be.

Alabama’s football coach again topped the rankings as the highest-paid nationally when USA Today released its annual rankings Thursday. Saban’s $9.75 million salary topped the list followed by LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Stanford’s David Shaw and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.

Saban and Shaw were the only in the top five who didn’t have a pandemic-related pay cut as Swinney’s $1.25 million reduction led the nation by a large margin.

Dabo needs a bigger cut this year.

Last, Roydell Williams is looking to break out.

Through six games, Williams has rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown while averaging a team-high 6.04 yards per carry. He also has two receptions for 28 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown catch during last week’s game against Texas A&M.

“He brings a different type of spark,” Robinson said. “He comes in, he doesn’t have the size that I have but he’s just as physical. He has speed, he’s aggressive and there’s no fall-off if you put him in the game he’ll come in the game. He’ll run the ball hard, he’ll catch the ball out of the backfield and he’ll do it fast and he’ll do it physical.”

Robinson previously described Williams as a “small bowling ball” due to his ability to steamroll defenders during runs.

Brian Robinson is likely to continue to dominate the touches, but the team needs Williams to be able to relieve some of the burden.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.