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Jumbo Package: No time to lick wounds for 6th ranked Tide

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama has no time to lick its wounds from the weekend as a game Mississippi State bunch heads to town as 18 point underdogs. The Bulldogs can pass the football, so this is going to be another challenge.

Following the heartbreaker on Saturday, Alabama fell to 6th in both polls, which seems about right.

The Crimson Tide had their string of 40 straight appearances in the top five snapped. It was the longest such active streak in the country.

Georgia now has the longest run of top-five appearances with 24.

The Tide’s latest top-five run is only the third longest of the Saban era. Their 68 straight top-five appearances from 2015 to 2019 is the AP poll record, and a string of 48 consecutive top-five rankings from 2011 to 2013 is tied for fourth.

This Slate writer, of all outlets, sums things up.

You could spend your entire life dreaming about your program getting to the mountaintop—the figurative one, not Rocky Top in Tennessee—and unless you root for one of a small handful of programs, you’ll never get salvation. Such is life in a game with 131 teams in the top classification, about 15 of which are playing a different sport than the rest. Tennessee has often been on the good side of that divide, and beating Alabama means the Vols are back in rare air. It would be cool if they kept winning, but their fans already won. When a mob of orange carried the goalposts out of the stadium on Saturday night, that was that. The first thing the winning coach, Josh Heupel, said after the game was, “This is college football at its best.” Even winning the national championship on a Monday night in January, in some sterile NFL stadium, would not be quite the same as what happened Saturday.

Yep, beating Alabama in October is preferable to a national title for the critters. Good for them. For all of the handwringing about earlier efforts in the season after the loss, this particular game actually had all the hallmarks of the losses that the championship Saban teams have taken.

Alabama gained 569 yards of total offense (Bryce Young alone threw for 455 yards), racked up 32 first downs, and won the time of possession and turnover battle, yet self-destructed with 17 penalties for 130 yards and the most noteworthy missed field goal since the “Kick Six”. The Tide also managed to make history – coming into this game, Nick Saban was 52-0 at Alabama when his teams scored 49 or more points. Make that 52-1.

Top ten team, excellent QB, Alabama still outgained them but some shenanigans in the kicking game, officiating or other wild and wacky nonsense contributed heavily to a loss. That pretty well sums up the game. As I wrote yesterday, Alabama not only wins the game but likely covers the spread had McKinstry’s interception and return been allowed to stand as it should have. A couple of well known partisans made their feelings known on that play.

Marquis Maze didn’t necessarily dispute the complaints about the officiating, but was more concerned about the fact that Tennessee’s players were hungrier for this win.

“Some of the Bama fans can’t admit them folks wanted that game more than our players,” Maze tweeted. “Yes, the refs made some bad calls, but we, as a team, made it where those call’s mattered! I don’t care about no moral victories. Call a spade a spade.”

It didn’t stop there.

“These the most message-sending players I ever seen,” he tweeted. “Everything you thinking, show us. Quit all that crying cause you lost and fix the problems and go win this Natty. The standard is never to give up no damn 52 points, so enough of all that talk. Show it!”

He’s not wrong, though I think some of that is human nature. I’d argue that Tennessee’s players have been hungrier in this series for some years now, as evidenced by the near misses when the talent disparity was much greater. It took a QB who started for the first time as an academic junior and is now on his fourth year as a starter to get them over the hump, at home, by three points in a game with dubious officiating.

As many have said, this team will be defined by their response.

Also, Bryce accounted for a full 80% of the offense, but some of you wanted to lean on the running game to try and get Reichard closer at the end? Can’t understand that one. The goal wasn’t to get to a 45 yard field goal, but something more like a 35 yard kick. Complete one more pass as Bryce had been doing all day, and then you can run clock. Alas, they did not.

Contrary to Yahoo’s headline, that game really didn’t do much to shake up the playoff race. Had Tennessee lost a close game, they wouldn’t have fallen far and would still have controlled their own destiny as well. I guess it shook up some talking head predictions on who will make the playoffs, but those never meant anything to begin with.

It is a shame that Alabama would ever lose to this kind of poverty program.

That’s just gross.

Nate Oats pulled another blue chip.

Dioubate is a 6-foot-7 forward from Flushing, New York and plays high school basketball at Putnam Science Academy. He ranks as the No. 89 player in the country according to 247Sports’ composite rankings as well as the No. 3 player from the state of New York.

Alabama was one of four finalists for Dioubate’s pledge, along with Maryland, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Dioubate visted Alabama most recently on Oct. 1.

It hasn’t been all that long that any top 100 prospect would have been considered the jewel of an Alabama recruiting class. Oats has gotten it done on the trail and made two consecutive NCAA tournaments. Hopefully this year’s team can make a bit of a postseason run. They had a closed scrimmage at TCU yesterday that reportedly didn’t go too well for the Tide, but they also held out Nimari Burnett and Charles Bediako with supposedly minor injuries. Hope for the best on those. The Tide will play Southern Illinois in a charity exhibition at Foster on the 29th, and the season kicks off against Longwood on November 7.

Najee found the end zone in what has been a horrific offensive start for Pittsburgh.

Last, Hurts and Smitty hooked up yet again as the Eagles remain the only unbeaten team in the NFL.

The flag was on Trevon Diggs, who was so mad about the busted coverage that he took his helmet off and slammed it to the turf. Hopefully we get some mad current players on Saturday, ready to take it out on Mississippi State.

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

Roll Tide.