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Jumbo Package: LSU is the first of a two game season that will decide the SEC West

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Mississippi State v Alabama Photo by Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama needed a week of rest following a tough stretch that included a close road loss followed by a 30-6 win over Mississippi State that made half the fanbase mad online. They now begin a two game season to decide the west, starting as big favorites in Baton Rouge on Saturday.

LSU moved up from No. 20 to No. 17 in Sunday’s coaches poll after having Saturday off. Ole Miss moved up to No. 10 from No. 12 in the same poll after escaping College Station with a three-point win over unranked Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Alabama, which had its traditional late-October open week, remained No. 6 in the coaches poll after last week’s top four teams won and No. 5 Clemson did not play.

Win both, and the West is clinched. Lose one, and the odds of getting to Atlanta are slim. It’s just that simple.

One of the key questions for LSU is whether their pair of freshman tackles can hold up against the Alabama pass rush.

This is cheating, but both freshman offensive tackles will have to play equally well, or else LSU’s entire operation on offense will fall apart.

Alabama has the most talented edge rushers in college football with future top-5 NFL Draft pick Will Anderson (37 pressures this season, per Pro Football Focus), Byron Young (16) and Dallas Turner (24).

In order to slow them down, Campbell and Jones not only will need chip help from the likes of tight end Mason Taylor and running back Josh Williams but also will have to play the best games of their young careers in order for the Tigers to have a chance of moving the ball consistently.

QB Jaeden Daniels has plenty of athleticism which has helped tremendously, but these next two weeks would be a good time for Will and Dallas to eat. Speaking of Will, he is mentioned on this list of scariest SEC players in the last 20-odd years.

Let’s start with the man they call “The Terminator” in Tuscaloosa. Think of all the defensive superstars Nick Saban has coached at Alabama, yet Anderson could be his best ever. The Georgia native terrorizes offensive lineman and quarterbacks, even through double-teams and game plans entirely built around containing him. Fast, strong and unblockable, the future first-round pick is as good as it gets as an edge rusher and an absolute terror for offensive coordinators looking for answers.

The first playoff rankings come out tomorrow, and most believe the Vawls will be on top.

Yep, we think there’s a good chance the Vols will open at No. 1 in the CFP rankings. In addition to that thrilling win over Alabama, Tennessee also has easy wins over two other ranked opponents in LSU and Kentucky. The win over the Wildcats on Saturday night showed Tennessee was not looking ahead to next week’s potential epic at Georgia. That game will be for the SEC East title and a possible playoff spot and can also solidify Tennessee’s return to the top of the SEC.

Alabama is projected at #7 there, which is probably about right.

Of course, if this flag stays in a pocket, the playoff landscape is altered substantially, and Tennessee heads into this week fighting for its playoff life as an 8 point underdog in Athens.

Say what you will, but that was some damn fine cornerback play that should have essentially iced the game and had the Tide in the catbird seat. Hopefully the failure doesn’t go to waste.

As you know, Alabama basketball won an exhibition game over the weekend.

“We didn’t shoot it well,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “I think we’re going to be a pretty good shooting team this year, but for whatever reason we didn’t shoot it well today. We’ll have to figure out why we’re not getting better looks. We got some good looks we’ve just got to make them. Some of that’s going to come with playing together, getting our chemistry a little bit better.”

Let’s just hope we aren’t still talking about poor shooting in February. Nate has assembled a roster that should allow for five players on the floor together who can all make the three if he so desires. Even Charles Bediako said that he has been working hard on his perimeter shot and had been given the green light to shoot it.

Last, the Jalen and Tua show rolls on.

Tua threw for 382 yards and three scores as the Dolphins won at Detroit. There was a little Waddle mixed in as well.

Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts became the first QB in Philadelphia Eagles history to win ten straight starts, including the first seven of this season. It was a quiet day for DeVonta Smith, but Hurts took down the Steelers with four TD passes including three to AJ Brown. You simply can’t throw a ball any better than this.

The work that Hurts has put in is showing up in a big way. Congratulations to him.

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

Roll Tide.