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Jumbo Package: Basketball team dealing with illness, Nick Saban poised for huge signing day

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama v Ole Miss Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The basketball team takes on Jackson State tonight and we will have our usual coverage later, but the team doesn’t seem to be feeling all that well.

“Spread everybody out,” Oats said. “We just, myself included, haven’t been feeling great. It’s just a lot of different stuff going around. Trying to keep guys as healthy as can be, to where they can get to Christmas break and go home and spend Christmas with their families without getting too sick. We need to get through this one last game.

“There’s just — I’m not a doctor, so I’m not gonna speak to the immune systems, it just seems like there’s just a lot more going around this year.”

They say we have a “tripledemic” going on right now of RSV, COVID, and the flu. If you have escaped it thus far, count your blessings. The crud has run through my family a couple of times this fall. Hopefully the guys feel well enough to bring it tonight. You can watch all of Nate’s presser below.

Chase Goodbread notes that no permanent captain has ever skipped a bowl game for Alabama.

“Everybody says it’s (a business), but when you love the game of football, you also have that competitor part of you,” Anderson said. “And me just being at home with training and sitting down watching the game, I would have been feeling so bad, or not feeling great about myself. That’s just the competitor in me. That’s why I wanted to play this game.”

Added Young: “If you look at all the captains of the past, it’s such a remarkable legacy that people have left.”

And to date, none of opted out of a bowl game, either. The last time Alabama was in the position of playing a non-playoff bowl game, the Citrus Bowl in 2019, all four permanent team captains were on hand: safety Xavier McKinney, linebacker Anfernee Jennings, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. McKinney and Jennings combined for 20 tackles in a 35-16 win over Michigan, Smith added a touchdown catch, and even Tagovailoa, who could’ve easily been elsewhere rehabilitating a severe hip injury ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, was instead on crutches on the sideline.

Anderson also said this:

“It was all just about leadership and being here for the team,” Anderson said. “I’ve been preaching so much over these last two years about how to do things the right way, the standard around here and how to uphold the standard. It wouldn’t be right for me to walk out on my teammates. I think that’s a big reason why I decided to play in this game and play with those guys.”

We’re going to sorely miss that man.

The “early” signing day that has become the actual signing day is tomorrow, and Alabama is in position to potentially land another historic class.

Alabama sits at No. 1, and while maintaining that ranking is not a lock, the Crimson Tide are in good position to notch their eighth top ranked class under Nick Saban. Whether the Tide secure the No. 1 class or not could likely come down to the commitments of five-star teammates Russaw and Smith, both scheduled to announce on Wednesday.

Though SEC foes like Florida, Auburn and Georgia are in the mix, if Alabama can land the pair, it would give Saban and his staff over 20 ESPN 300 commits (three five-stars) and widen their margin to a point that would be difficult to overcome.

Wednesday is going to be a crazy day for a lot of programs, but especially for Alabama. The Crimson Tide has the top recruiting class of 2023, highlighted by Keeley, cornerback Caleb Downs and running back Justice Haynes. But one of the most regarded classes in recent program history can potentially become legendary for two reasons.

First, Alabama could get some serious offensive line help with the potential addition of Kadyn Proctor, the top prospect in Iowa who originally committed to the in-state Hawkeyes. But a recent visit to Tuscaloosa has definitely created waves.

All three of those seem to be trending to Alabama, and should all three commit while Alabama keeps the rest of the committed class together, the Tide would be looking at a class that would rival last year’s record setting Texas A&M haul. The Aggies are all the way down at 15th for this cycle.

Last, David M. Hale at ESPN wants you to remember that the teams at the bottom of the recruiting rankings can be fun too.

Call it bad football, ugly football, sickos football — whatever the name, its charm is undeniable in a way that simply isn’t true of nearly any other form of entertainment. Yes, the cultural zeitgeist might occasionally stumble upon William Hung or Right Said Fred, but those are enjoyed with a measure of ironic detachment. And sure, sports fans have their butt fumbles and, well, pretty much the entire history of the Detroit Lions, but those are as sad as they are funny.

Bad college football, however, is something akin to cult classic movies of the “so bad they’re good” variety, enjoyable on their own merits once you buy into the central conceit. Whether it’s Patrick Swayze earnestly insisting “pain don’t hurt” in “Roadhouse” or Butch Jones announcing his awful 2017 Tennessee Volunteers won the “championship of life,” the line between ridiculous and sublime is effectively nonexistent.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.