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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban, Alabama football deal with rat poison after Miami win

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Miami v Alabama Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Labor Day, everyone. What an opener it was for Alabama. Michael Casagrande has a few additional observations for you.

— Miami coach Manny Diaz was fist pumping on the sideline when the Canes picked up a first down on its second snap. The offense was in rhythm with two straight seven-yard passing plays but it would be the last first down of the opening quarter for Miami. It totaled just 16 yards and six plays after the two quick completions.

— The speed of Henry To’o To’o really stood out in person and on TV. He almost looked like a blitzing cornerback at 6-foot-2, 228 pounds and he finished second in tackles with seven. There was concern when he went down with an elbow injury but Saban later said it didn’t appear serious.

Seeing Chris Allen go down was bad enough, seeing Henry go down was positively nauseating. It was great to hear that he would be OK.

Jahleel Billingsley’s Dad liked seeing Nick Saban coaching his son.

We may never know exactly what it is that jahleel has or has not done, but the relationship between coach and player seems to be good, and it sounds like the young man has some strong parenting in his corner as well.

The rat poison is on overdrive.

This observation isn’t finite, as in no one can catch Alabama this year. But it’s obvious after the first weekend that all of the usual suspects who could play foils to the Crimson Tide are all distinctly flawed. (None more than typical Tide foil LSU, which is retreating from the championship mainstream at Chizikian speed.)

And it should give all of the commissioners, TV executives and other dignitaries engrossed in the discussions for the future of the College Football Playoff a reminder of the necessity of expansion as discussions heat up later this month. Alabama would still be ahead of everyone on the field, of course. But it would inject an adrenaline shot of something that’s increasingly missing in everywhere but five or six zip codes around the sport — hope.

The Tide keep rolling: Rumors of Alabama’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. New quarterback Bryce Young was tremendous with 344 yards passing and four touchdowns in his first real action and the No. 1 Crimson Tide defense sat on D’Eriq King and the No. 14 Hurricanes offense all afternoon long. Without trying especially hard, the Tide outgained the Canes 501-266. There will be tougher games on the schedule for the Tide, but this was as definitive a season-opening performance as you’ll find in college football. Alabama is still the team to beat.

Much like last year, top-ranked and defending champion Alabama lands in the No. 1 spot on all but one of our writers’ lists following a 44-13 win over Miami on Saturday. New quarterback Bryce Young wasted no time showing he’s ready for the Crimson Tide limelight as he threw for 344 yards and four scores in his first start for Nick Saban. Alabama’s defense also lived up to the preseason hype, holding Miami to just three first-half points.

New year, same story: Despite the changing cast of characters, Alabama looked so good against Miami to quickly draw comparisons to the 2020 team that made a case for being the most dominant team in a program history littered with dominance.

Mac Jones is out, Bryce Young is in. The second-year player completed 27 of 38 attempts for 344 yards and four scores, setting a record for touchdown passes by an Alabama quarterback in his first career start. Young looked the part of a Heisman Trophy contender who more than earned the subtle praise Saban heaped on the former five-star recruit during the spring and summer.

If Young can keep delivering performances like that, it’ll be hard to see Alabama not making the College Football Playoff again. As good as the offense looked against Miami, the defense may have been even better. Will Anderson looks like he could already play in the NFL as a sophomore and is going to be a force to be reckoned with for opposing offensive lines all season. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King entered the game with some Heisman hype but had no chance against Alabama’s swarming, ferocious defense. The Hurricanes managed just 30 yards in the first quarter, struggled to even get across midfield for most of the first half and finished with only 266 total yards.

We’ve seen first hand how quickly the narratives can shift, but that was a whale of a performance to build on.

Last, Notre Dame pulled out a thrilling win over Florida State last night, then Brian Kelly did this.

We all know what he was trying to do here, but damn, Brian. That was a little direct, wasn’t it?

That quote inspired plenty of takes on social media as you would probably imagine, but as usual the Wikipedia trolls win the day.

College football is most fun when it’s stupid, and this certainly checks that box.

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

Roll Tide.