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Jumbo Package: Alabama’s “piranhas” win games before the coin toss with spite, domination

At least according to Sam Pittman.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: For those looking for the weekly press conference highlights, they’ve been posted in a separate piece, with both coaches pressers and relevant articles. The JP was simply going to be far too unwieldy otherwise. On with today’s JP.

I’m sure we won’t hear about this or anything, but Tua vs. Burrow tonight. Ja’marr Chase vs. Jaylen Waddle. Tyreek Hill. Star power aplenty for the Fish and Bungles. Tide 100.9 has a really nice piece on the history of their head-to-head meetings in college:

Tagovailoa and Burrow first clashed in 2018, where both quarterbacks earned the starting job for the first time. Burrow had a much longer road to becoming a collegiate starter, as he spent the first three years of college at Ohio State as a backup before transferring to LSU.

In the first matchup, Tua outperformed Burrow in Death Valley, throwing for nearly 300 yards and scoring three touchdowns in a 29-0 win over LSU. Tua ran for a 44-yard touchdown run, which at the time was thought to be his Heisman moment.

Not that Tua should even be playing — hell, for that matter, that he should have gone back into the game on Sunday. Tua was so plainly concussed, that one of the nation’s pioneering experts on CTE even voiced his shock. But, you know No. 1 will suit up. Irrespective of concussion protocols, the NFL DGAF if players are being spoon-fed by age 40. It’s a star-driven league, and the Shield has a budding battle of potential superstar quarterbacks on prime time. I’d be stunned if our Hawaiian Prince doesn’t play. Tua has cleared the protocol, and he is blaming that unsteadiness on a back injury. But I doubt he even knew what zip code he was in until Tuesday afternoon or so.

And, think about this for a second: In 2018-2019 four starting NFL quarterbacks were on the roster in these games, with no fewer than three at any moment appearing in the combined two-deep.

Remember the decades-long knock on the SEC’s was bad quarterback play? Seems a lifetime ago...when we are really just a few short years removed from that.

It’s not really a surprise to anyone that knows the M.O. of this program, but Alabama wins a lot of games by demoralizing opponents in the days before kickoff. If you can’t beat the Tide on the practice field Mon-Thurs, or on your head on Friday night, then most of the time you can’t do so on Saturdays.

Sam Pittman emphasized that today: as corny as it is, you really do have to believe you can beat the Crimson Tide.

Still, as he concedes, not very many teams go into games thinking they can.

You have a hard time blaming the Big 10 for this. Kevin Warren and Co. are just navigating the landscape created by crybaby journos and fans of poverty programs. But, if the B1G can leverage that large population, and some of the largest names in sports, for an additional tranche of funding, the Rust Belt Bros can all-but certainly kill off the PAC 12.

The Big Ten’s continued pursuit of four Pac-12 schools is leading to concern that another round of expansion could collapse the Pac-12, industry sources tell CBS Sports. This as Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren continues to seek an offer from Amazon, or potentially another partner, for additional Big Ten football media rights revenue.

An offer deemed substantial enough would likely convince Big Ten presidents that California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington would be valuable additions to the league from the Pac-12. That figure is believed to be less than $100 million annually.

If the Big Ten makes such a move, it would almost certainly increase the likelihood the Big 12 is able to get some combination of Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah from the Pac-12, thus crushing the Pac-12 and hanging Oregon State and Washington State out to dry.

“If that [Big Ten move] happens, I think the other [four Pac-12] schools will want to jump to our league,” said a Big 12 source familiar with the situation.

The historian in me is disgusted that one of the oldest leagues in college athletics would be killed off so cavalierly by one of the other oldest leagues.

But, the vindictive bastard in me is giggling at the treachery of it all.

For decades, the unholy fart-sniffing Rose Bowl duo has killed one measure after another in sports, thrown up roadblocks to bowl reform, condescended to the rest of the nation about the purity of the sporting endeavor, and otherwise been obnoxious. To see the Big 10 gut and twist the knife into the soft belly of their century-long partner — in broad daylight, for money — is as funny as it it treacherous.

The unfunny Buddy Cop film has turned into Macbeth right in front of our eyes.

I hit up Gump Day today to see if Josh would make mention of this. He did not, but this is going to loom large next week, I suspect.

The only competent Texas A&M offensive player, star WR Ainias Smith, broke his leg midway through the awful Hawgs-Fake Army game Saturday. Apparently it was a bad break too: he’s lost to A&M for the season.

The Alabama secondary’s job just became a lot easier. Last year the diminutive burner scorched ‘Bama for a season-high two TDs. Going into the Arkansas game, Smith led the SEC in YPC (19.3), removing the sole explosive element from Aggy’s offense. Nor is it just the receiving game where his impact will be felt: he will be missed on special teams too. Smith was 10th in the NCAA in punt return average and 3rd in the SEC.

You don’t wish injury on anyone, of course. But after a decade-plus of seeing promising ‘Bama seasons derailed by crucial injuries, ask me if I feel bad that an opponent is not at 100%?

Aye Ell has a very interesting retrospective piece on this, the highest-rated class that Alabama has ever signed — and very close to be the highest-ranked one, ever.

How we got here?

There was a point this summer where Alabama’s spot on 247′s big board was 48th. While a few panic buttons were pressed on social media, the wave came in July. The Tide didn’t end up securing all of the nation’s premier recruits, but it instead opted for depth among four- and five-star players.

Two of the most significant impacts have been made by defensive line coach Freddie Roach and offensive line coach Eric Wolford. Roach’s work in-state led to two of its key pieces in the secondary: Florence’s Jahlil Hurley and Thompson’s Tony Mitchell. Wolford also made waves in his short time in Tuscaloosa with five offensive line commits.


That is the word of the week and it’s an attitude seemingly missing from the Tide defense over the last few years. But, they’ve got the swagger back and are publicly calling their shot.

Casagrande took a stab at profiling some other Tide players with that same dominant, hateful spirit.

I love this story so much: Is Brandon Miller the missing piece that can get ‘Bama Basketball over the top? He’s been called a phenom, the best freshman Alabama has ever had, and a host of other superlatives. And, in the exhibition season, Miller’s very much been the real deal, averaging 22 PPG against three IOC national teams (including a win over No. 22 China).

Don’t get caught up with the Tide’s perfect football season: ‘Bama basketball begins very shortly, with a more manageable OOC schedule, and the Tide are loaded.

Could Miller — the nation’s No. 11 player — be Nate Oats’s Julio Jones? Let’s all find out together.


Should Tua have gone back in the game on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Yes, docs cleared him. He wasn’t concussed
    (96 votes)
  • 38%
    No, NFL docs are notoriously suspect and he was concussed.
    (271 votes)
  • 47%
    I’m not a doctor, why are you asking me? I didn’t even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    (335 votes)
702 votes total Vote Now