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Jumbo Package: How Alabama messes with Texas teams may define the season

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Brad Crawford over at 247sports has Alabama’s pair of games against teams from Texas listed among his “season-defining” contests.

Saban’s loud spat with Jimbo Fisher in May tossed gasoline on college football’s offseason fire within the SEC and took one of the league’s most-anticipated games of the 2022 season to another level of intrigue. Not only will the winner of this matchup likely take the Western Division, but a loss for the Aggies could send the Texas A&M fanbase into a tizzy if early-season matchups against Miami and Arkansas were also unsuccessful. Fisher’s squad went 3-2 over their final five SEC games after beating the Crimson Tide in 2021, stumbling to an 8-4 finish. This season, Texas A&M plays South Carolina, Ole Miss, Florida, Auburn and LSU after Alabama.

If Alabama doesn’t wipe the floor with the Aggies, it won’t be for lack of trying.

Michael Casagrande took some time in the offseason to compile some Alabama records for you, both good and bad.

— The four highest passing yardage seasons in Alabama history came in the last four years. Each of those four rank among the top eight in SEC history with 2021 at No. 2.

2021 season with 5,073 yards

2018 season with 4,854

2020 season with 4,656

2019 season with 4,449

— The 2020 Alabama team holds the SEC record for points per game with 48.5. LSU’s 2019 team is No. 2 at 48.4 with Alabama’s 2019 team next at 47.2.

Needless to say, that 2020 team would be first on the passing yardage list had they been afforded the full 15 games. The fact that they just edged out the LSU offense from the year before is hilarious, and they did it against all Power Five competition.

Crawford also wrote about some teams that could surprise this season.

The Longhorns have enjoyed quite a week on the recruiting trail, earning a verbal commitment from the 2023’s top-ranked player in quarterback Arch Manning, who promises to be the future of the program under Steve Sarkisian. In 2022 however, the keys to the offense and the team’s overall success belongs to Quinn Ewers or Hudson Card in a yet-to-be-decided competition. Ewers has the edge and showed out during the Longhorns’ spring game as a potential difference-maker within a loaded unit on that side of the football. Texas was among college football’s most notable teams who improved the most this spring and the Longhorns hope to muddy up the playoff picture this season with an early-September game against Alabama and later on in the Big 12 race.

Ewers showed out? You be the judge.

It wasn’t a disastrous outing. There were a few nice throws in there, but there were also some stinkers and what seemed like a bit of locking on to the primary read. It will be interesting to see if Sark throws Ewers to the wolves named Anderson and Turner, or if Hudson Card starts at the beginning of the season.

Ohio State’s AD wants schools to be involved with NIL so that they may police the boosters.

“NIL is working largely in a whole lot of places,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told CBS Sports. “Of course, no one writes about those. Everybody’s reporting on the plane crashing. I understand that, but the reality is we need to come up with a strategy to deal with inducements.

“One of those [solutions] might be institutions having more involvement. That’s being discussed, and it needs to be continued to be discussed.”

Even though the NCAA’s bare-bones interim policy, adopted at the onset of NIL, didn’t provide much guidance, it stated “the expectation” is that schools and athletes will not use NIL to compensate for athletic participation. The NCAA also warned about the dangers of an “improper inducement” if the two parties worked together.

What do you think of this idea, Jimbo?

Last, Herbie sees the Power Five breaking off from the rest of the NCAA sometime soon.

I think I have some thoughts on college football. It is an emotional time right now. NIL and the transfer portal have created a lot of angst throughout the college football community, but there will eventually be some parameters put it place so it can start to make sense. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Power 5 conferences break away from the NCAA at some point and create their own governing body. If that happens, I think you’ll see them negotiate with the players to collectively agree on a set of rules both sides are willing to live with and that should include players getting a share of future broadcast rights deals. They deserve that.

Seems inevitable, and what that looks like remains to be seen.

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

Roll Tide.