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Jumbo Package: Alabama looks to finish the season the right way vs. Auburn

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Austin Peay v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. We’ll open up with SI, who has a film review of Alabama’s turnovers from the Austin Peay game.

Coming into Saturday’s game against Austin Peay, Alabama had only forced nine turnovers on the season. That’s seven turnovers less than the 2021 team, who had forced 16 through the same amount of games.

Despite these struggles, the Alabama defense forced three turnovers against Austin Peay — the most it’s had in a game all season.

A couple of well timed turnovers this season, including one that was taken away, and this season could look very different.

Saban gave a few injury updates after the game.

With Gibbs, Saban said he expects him to be back at practice Monday.

Starting cornerback Eli Ricks went down on the first snap at Ole Miss but Saban said he cleared concussion protocol.

“So I think he’ll be able to start practicing Monday,” Saban said.

Afterward, Saban took issue with the open-ended question about injuries.

“You have to ask,” he said pointedly. “You have to do your homework. I’m not bringing an injury report in here so if you want to know about a specific guy, I’ll be glad to share the information.”

Sounds like the team should be generally healthy for Auburn.

This year’s Iron Bowl has a different feel from the Alabama side.

Defensive back Brian Branch views the game as a good way for the Crimson Tide to close out a regular season.

“It’s a big opportunity,” he said. “Auburn is a great team, and its the last regular-season team so we just want to finish out strong and after that think about what’s going to happen next after the Auburn game. But that’s our next priority.”

Running back Jase McClellan believes the Iron Bowl gives the Crimson Tide a chance to establish its identity before this season ends.

“It shows our image, what we are capable of, how we compete. We still got stuff to compete for, just playing for us,” McClellan said.

They ain’t a great team, Brian. You don’t have to lie, though it’s good to hear that you are respecting the opponent.

John Zenor believes that the rest of college football will enjoy a break from Alabama this winter.

—The last time Alabama played a meaningless regular-season game, the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — were off to a sluggish 5-4 start in their first season together.

—The last time Alabama played a meaningless regular-season game, people still used BlackBerry phones, hailed a cab when they needed a ride, read a newspaper to figure out what was going on in the world, and shopped at places known as malls.

—The last time Alabama played a meaningless regular-season game, Tom Brady was a mere child of 33 and the Buffalo Bills were 0-8 at the midway point of the NFL season.

Christopher Walsh now steps in with his best Lee Corso “not so fast my friend.”

At No. 8 in last week’s CFP rankings, the Crimson Tide needed four teams ahead of it to falter in order to move into position for a possible spot in the semifinals.

It came extremely close to having just that on Saturday, only to see No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 TCU win on field goals as time expired (19-17 over Illinois, and 29-28 at Baylor, respectively), and Southern California hold on to beat UCLA (48-45).

But Alabama got the outcome it needed the most to have a realistic shot at the playoff, No. 5 Tennessee losing at South Carolina. The 63-38 final ended the Volunteers playoff chances.

Watching South Carolina destroy the Vols was quite enjoyable. The path to the playoff is still murky, but it will still be interesting to see how the committee approaches Alabama. ESPN FPI has the Tide at #3, with a schedule that ranked the 7th most difficult in the nation. Meanwhile, the other teams that will be considered for the last spot all have schedules ranked outside the top 30. If Alabama is judged against a one loss Michigan, TCU, Clemson, or USC and don’t make the playoff, then it’s hard to argue that the “four best” mantra was upheld.

Lest we forget, chaos is still possible.

They swarmed the Strip, typically a tradition after a national title victory, the moment No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon went down to Baylor and Stanford, respectively, shaking up the Bowl Championship Series race.

Remember the BCS — the complicated and controversial selection system that determined the top two teams that would compete in the national championship game?

The BCS has since been replaced by the College Football Playoff in 2014, which itself will expand to 12 teams (no sooner than 2024, and no later than 2026)?

That said, I’d just as soon use this December as a time to reset everything and get next year’s guys some meaningful playing time.

Last, in NFL news Najee Harris had his second straight big game coming out of the bye week, with 116 scrimmage yards and two scores including this beauty.

On the other side of the Keytone State, the Eagles have struggled a bit the past couple of weeks after looking like prime Super Bowl contenders for the first half of the season. Thanks to Jalen Hurts, however, they still have only one loss.

Jalen accounted for both of Philly’s TDs as shown above, while completing 72% of his 25 passes for a decent 190 yards passing to go with 86 rushing yards on 16 carries. He was the Philadelphia offense.

We’ll leave you with Isaiah Buggs leading in the locker room. Have to watch to the end to see him.

That’s the kind of blue collar mentality that we’ve seemingly been missing this year. The Lions are in second place in the NFC North at 4-6, with a very realistic chance at a playoff berth should they continue improving.

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

Roll Tide.