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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama jumps to #2 in the opening CFB Playoff rankings, and people are, of course, quite angry

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

First, a couple of notes of sad news:

Former Alabama OL Grant Hill passes away

The University of Alabama announced via social media Tuesday that former offensive lineman Grant Hill has passed away. Hill, who lettered for the Crimson Tide from 2013-14, was 26.

“Grant Hill was a wonderful teammate and friend,” UA said in a tweet on its official account. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this devastating time.”

Further details regarding Hill’s death were not immediately available.

Hill was one of the early top recruits in the Saban era, and medical issues kept him from ever being a contributor.

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) resulting in a death after his car rear-ended another car and left one person dead, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

LVMPD responded to the crash early Tuesday — around 3:39 a.m. — near an intersection where they found a Chevrolet Corvette and a Toyota RAV4 that was on fire. Firefighters responded and found a person dead inside the Toyota, police said.

Man, what an awful, avoidable tragedy. One bad decision, and now someone is dead, another critically injured, and Ruggs is likely going to spend a significant amount of time in jail.

Just get a cab.


In case you live under a rock and missed it, here’s Josh’s thoughts on the CFP Rankings reveal:

This really changes nothing in terms of the Tide’s control of its own destiny. Should the Tide win out, they will most likely be the top seed in the playoffs. What this does signal is the committee’s respect for the Tide despite the loss in College Station. The Aggies came in at #14 in the rankings, which certainly helped Alabama’s case. Auburn checked in at #13, and as you all know the Tide will close the regular season in Jordan Hare. Should Alabama win out and then lose close in Atlanta, perhaps they will have an outside chance.

While LSU won the old BCS championship as a two-loss team in 2007, no team with multiple losses have qualified for the four-team playoff in its first six years. The highest any such team finished was No. 5 while Mississippi State landed at No. 7 in the final 2014 rankings as the best team with two losses.

But the fact Alabama landed at No. 2 in the initial ranking at least creates the argument it could slip into the playoff with a close loss to Georgia in the SEC title game.

The real wildcard here, of course, is Cincinnati.

Predictably, people are BIG mad about undefeated Cincinnati not being included in the top 4.... Like it matters for the final rankings at the end of the season.

The meltdown of bleeding hearts is wonderful. But in everyone’s desire to hate Alabama, they don’t recognize the true villain here:

Tulane.

The 1-7 Green Wave has been positively awful for most of the season, except when they very nearly defeated Oklahoma, and played a 1-score game with Cincy up until the final quarter, with the Bearcats getting their last points after a desperation comeback attempt gave them a short field.

And Oklahoma was punished by being ranked #8 despite being undefeated in a P5 schedule, while Cincy was only punished down to #6 since they got the late TD.

See... Tulane is the common denominator. Maybe these teams should try to not play close games with them. Ole Miss didn’t.

Anyway, moving on.

“We all know (what happened) the last time LSU came here,” running back Brian Robinson said. “So with that weighing on us, we’ve got a way of approaching this week. We still feel that feeling from when they came here two years ago and they beat us on our home turf, and we feel like we’ve gotta respond to that.”

“That’s something that we keep lingering (in our minds),” the veteran running back said. “We make sure people know just the disrespect that was with that, how it made us feel and everything we’ve gotta do to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

I love this from Brian Robinson, and I’m glad there are still players on the team who remember losses like that and can lead the younger guys away from things like that happening again.

This week Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “ Christian has played well for us this year. I think that he’s been a very, very good player. He’s very athletic. I think he has improved dramatically from a year ago to this year and continues to make that kind of progress. He’s had a really good attitude about what he has tried to accomplish and what he is trying to do this year. Every player on our team, we’re trying to get them to be the most consistent performers that they can be. That’s what he wants from himself, that’s what we want for him. That’s what we’re going to continue to try to do.”

Saturday’s game against LSU (6 p.m. CDT, ESPN televising) is expected to be physical because players on both sides “like to compete,” Harris said. “Of course, we love to compete. It’s an SEC game, a big SEC game. It’s always been a physical game and that’s the most exciting part. I think we all like that. That’s why we came to play SEC ball, for games like this.”

I specifically noticed during the Tennessee game that Christian Harris had possibly played the best game of his career. He made a number of powerful run stops up the middle while shedding blocks and maintaining gap integrity, and that’s the kind of inside linebacking that’s been missing from his game over the first two years of his career.

If he can keep that consistency up while continuing to flash his explosive athleticism when chasing ball carriers, he has the chance to really develop into a great one.

There’s a clear sense of pride — perhaps a touch of hubris — among those who pack the 101,000-seat stadium that Alabama hasn’t rushed the field after a big win.

The only home win over a No. 1 team came in 2014 over Mississippi State as Jay-Z’s “On to the next one” pumped through the speakers in the closing seconds. A visit from Auburn was two weeks away in a highly anticipated rematch a year after the infamous Kick Six and subsequent field storming. But there was no breach of security after Alabama’s 55-44 Iron Bowl win that November.

The win over that top-ranked Mississippi State team seven years ago was one of just four at home over top-five teams in the last 30 years. Each was capped by a round or two of Rammer Jammers but there aren’t archival photos of Bryant-Denny Stadium awash in a sea of celebrants.

This is a phenomenal historical piece from Casagrande at AL.com. Give it a read, and bask in your own status as a fan of the elite.

Roll Tide!