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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban isn’t happy that you’re looking past Utah State

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Arkansas State at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. A game with Utah State usually wouldn’t garner much attention, which is something that really bothers one Nick Saban.

Luckily, since this is the season opener, the game is getting pretty significant coverage. Your previews:

UConn ran for 245 yards and averaged over six yards per carry against the Aggies.

The Utah State defensive front isn’t going to get into the backfield enough, and the secondary that wasn’t exactly tested against the Huskies will have to hold up with Bryce Young getting more than enough time to work.

College football should be reintroduced to Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs. The gaping holes will be there – UConn’s Nathan Carter ran for 190 yards averaging close to ten yards per pop. Expect to see home run after home run from the ground attack.

Alabama is ranked for the 230th consecutive week, the longest active streak in college football. ... Utah State won both of its games against Power 5 opponents last season, beating Washington State 26-23 and then topping Oregon State 24-13 in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. ... Alabama is riding a 20-game winning streak in the home opener, including a 15-0 record under Saban. The average margin in such games during Saban’s tenure is 30 points. ... It’s only the third time Utah State has faced the No. 1 team, and first since 1984. The Aggies are 0-2. ... Utah State receiver Xavier Williams spent four seasons at Alabama, catching three passes for 24 yards and appearing in 12 games.

It’s the No. 1 Crimson Tide in the season opener. It won’t be pretty.

Except if you’re an Alabama fan, in which case it’ll be great, but don’t be surprised if the Aggies don’t just roll over right away. Logan Bonner is a veteran quarterback with some decent targets who can chip away on short and medium gainers and bother a defense that might be overconfident.

But the talent discrepancy that Alabama has built over the last 15 years, the foundation of arguably college football’s greatest ever dynasty, hasn’t budged.

The Tide could take their foot off the gas at some point in the second half, making the massive number of 42.5 a little iffy. However, Bama has been known as a reliable first-half bet over the last few seasons and that’s what we are banking on again here.

No one gets his team better prepared to start a season than Nick Saban. He’s been prepping for this matchup for months, while Utah State has only had a week to get ready for this huge matchup.

Bet on Bama to come flying out of the gates and cover the first-half spread.

Watch this one if you’re a sicko and you’ve got a little action on it. If not, just chalk up a big win for the Crimson Tide.

In all seriousness, I actually think Utah State is pretty solid and they have a bunch of good veteran players. But if you can’t win at the line of scrimmage against Alabama, the game is over before it starts. Not trying to be disrespectful, but the Aggies are 6-touchdown dogs for a reason.

Utah State’s performance against UConn wasn’t as extreme as the naysayers would have you believe, but any slow start on the road against the College Football Playoff runners-up will not fly. The margin for error is nil, and while the Aggies should still be okay in the long run, they have not proven yet that they can play a full sixty minutes with zero mistakes.

The good news? In Tuscaloosa, at least, that will make them just like everyone else who tries their hand at turning back the Tide.

Alabama 48, Utah State 14

As usual, I try to include a preview from behind enemy lines at the end of the list and this week is no exception as that last one comes from Mountain West Wire. Exactly nobody expects Utah State to be remotely competitive in this one, with good reason.

The powers that be are meeting today to try and cram that 12 team playoff in by 2024.

Frustrated with the leadership of FBS commissioners, the College Football Playoff Board of Managers will meet Friday with a goal of adopting an expanded playoff bracket as soon as the 2024 season, CBS Sports has learned. The bracket would likely expand to 12 teams under the leading proposal, which was the original concept put in front of stakeholders from the CFP working group in June 2021.

Last, week one got off to a fun start last night with two of the bigger games, Penn State at Purdue and West Virginia at Pitt, going down to the wire. Mountaineers coach Neal Brown is deservedly getting roasted for his cowardice.

What on earth was Neal Brown thinking? Here’s a guy whose job figures to be on the line this season, playing in a rivalry game with a chance to win back the fan base.

He might have done it, too, if he’d showed some guts on 4th-and-inches at the Pitt 47 with 6:17 left in regulation and his team winning by a touchdown.

Instead, Brown punted and watched the Panthers go 92 yards to tie it. He got what he deserved. It reminded me of Pat Narduzzi kicking that late field goal from the Penn State 1-yard line a few years back.

Nothing bugs me more than gutless coaching, and that was the definition. As usual, he got what he deserved.

In the other game, Penn State QB Sean Clifford gave fans the full roller coaster experience as he first tried to throw the game away

...before leading a masterful drive to pull out the victory.

Don’t you love this game?

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

Roll Tide.