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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Hugh Freeze gonna beat Bama, huh?

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

First up, I want to talk a little about Georgia’s rival, the cow college in Lee County. The Auburn Tigers got played by Jimmy Sexton to get Lane Kiffin a contract extension to keep him in Ole Miss until Saban retires, and they then pivoted and hired Hugh Freeze.

After their success with Bruce Pearl in hoops, it was a hire that fit like a glove, but I honestly can’t believe they actually did it. It’s gross, and it reeks of a hire made with only one priority: beating Nick Saban... And not creating an actual winning program.

Never mind the fact that 2015 was a long time ago, nor that their previous coach got fired after beating Saban more times than Freeze ever did.

I try not to give our baby sister site any publicity as a rule, but this is an absolutely phenomenal piece of writing from Jack Condon over at College and Magnolia.

Look, maybe we all got a little tired of Gus Malzahn, and maybe it was time for us to part. But we can’t pick up with Gus Lite just two years later and pretend like we don’t realize what we’re doing. Hugh runs the exact same offense, he just did it worse. Gus beat Alabama more times, and we fired him. Hugh never won any titles, unless you count “Biggest Blowout Loss in Peach Bowl History” as a championship.

When this news broke on Saturday morning that he was the top target, he promptly showed us what he could do and lost 49-14 to New Mexico State. I’m sold. I’m sure that this is just Jimmy Sexton doing his job and appealing to the lowest common denominator in an effort to make money, and that’s fine, but we don’t have to entertain it. Word is that Auburn has hired a “crisis communications firm” to handle the PR and optics on this particular decision. You don’t think that’s a red flag in itself? You can avoid having to pay some group that does this sort of thing by not hiring this guy.

Seriously, go give the whole piece a read. He, of course, gets in a good Mike Price dig at us.

And if you missed it, check out Erik’s writing on the other half of this Auburn debacle:

One side in all of this kept true to the Auburn creed, and it damned sure wasn’t the people with the checkbooks. “I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men...”

What a farce.

Because we now know that the one thing Williams can not believe in was the one that he ought have never doubted: Auburn itself.

So much for family.

Cadillac Williams universally impressed pretty much everyone in the college football world for how he pulled together that Chernobyl ground zero in East Georgia and got them functioning again. Auburn may have relegated him to some backseat position while they chase after... Whatever it is they think they’re chasing after... But someone is going to hire him away sooner rather than later.

But hey, cheer up Barn fans, at least he’s sorry!

“I learned from this situation that I should totally understand other people’s circumstances first before communicating or commenting on someone’s situation,” Freeze told ESPN. “It was an inadvertent misstep with no ill intent, and I am sorry.”

I’m not sure how inadvertent you can really be with a “direct” message, but hey, it was all an accident with no ill will!

Anyway, enough Freeze talk for now.

The CFP Rankings got released last night, and Alabama came in at #6, essentially ending any pipe dreams anyone was still hanging on to about possibly sneaking into the playoffs.

For Alabama to have a shot, it needs Utah to beat No. 4 USC in Friday’s Pac-12 title game to give the Trojans a second loss. A blowout TCU loss in the Big 12 game would also have to be significant enough to drop the third-ranked Horned Frogs behind Alabama.

The problem for the Tide is the lack of a true quality win. As it stands, No. 20 Texas (8-4) holds that banner after Ole Miss dropped from No. 11 the week it lost to Alabama all the way out of the top 25. Lane Kiffin’s team lost four of its final five games to finish 8-4 after a 24-22 Egg Bowl loss to Mississippi State on Thanksgiving.

The conversation between Alabama and Ohio State for #5 was always going to be an interesting one. And, to be honest, I don’t envy the CFP folks having to make that decision, cause I don’t know what I would have picked. Two losses for the Tide vs only a single loss to the #2 team in the country would, at face value, heavily favor the Buckeyes. But the context was always the kicker: while OSU was absolutely blasted in their one loss, Alabama lost on the final play of the game (after having a game-winning fumble and game-winning interception taken away by dubious ref decisions) in one, and in overtime in the other game.

Throw in that all of the advanced metrics like S&P and FEI having Alabama as the resounding #3 team in the country, and you have a really tough call to make.

In any case, I think that, in any sense, Alabama did not ever really prove that they deserved to be competing for that final spot this season, and that ultimately did them in. And I think that is very, very fair.

Although, again, I’m nor sure OSU did either.

For what it’s worth, I think this all even further shows the folly of trying to blend the playoffs with the conference championships. TCU and USC now have to play yet another prove it game, and if either falls, then Ohio State slips in without ever proving anything.

It’s almost like the old BCS and Bowl system worked better. Or something.

In recruiting news, Alabama picked up a new commitment at the start of this week:

“Well he is just that (special),” Whittemore said of Hamilton. “He is very unique in his skillset. I would say that he could be the most explosive athlete in his class. From a linear and a vertical standpoint, in a 6-1 frame, 195-200 pounds-plus, there aren’t going to be many kids in the country that run a sub-10.6 and jump over 40 inches. That’s what makes him incredibly unique. Not to mention the fact he’s got great return skills. One of his kickoff returns for a touchdown this year was a human highlight reel. He’s got extreme ceiling. A lot of kids have already peaked at their ceiling. Kids don’t understand that but the collegiate coaches and those that know the game and know athletes know that. So although he’s got 40 catches for almost 900 yards, he hasn’t even come close to tapping into the potential...”

Hamilton is the #258 overall player and the 31st wide receiver by the 247Composite. He’s got good length and very impressive athleticism. I expect he’s more of a special teams guy (gunner and/or returner) early in his career who could potentially develop as a receiver down the road.

He joins Justin Hale and Cole Adams, as well as JUCO transfer Malik Benson for the Tide’s receiving corps for the 2023 class. All are solid pieces, but don’t be surprised if Alabama is still targeting one more WR for the group.

That’s all for today. Roll Tide!