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Jumbo Package: Tide favored by 20 in Austin

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Labor Day, everyone. Opening lines are starting to come out for Saturday’s game at Texas, and right now Alabama is favored by about three touchdowns. That is a significant spread for a Power Five road contest, particularly this early in the season.

Nick Saban was pleased enough about the 55-0 win over Utah State, but is already concerned with cleaning up some mistakes ahead of tougher competition.

Whatever holes can be punched in these two blueblood programs, they’ll be laid bare for a national TV audience to see when the Crimson Tide travels to Austin in Week 2 for its first real test of the season.

And without mentioning Texas specifically, Alabama coach Nick Saban made reference to it.

“No disrespect to Utah State, their players played hard, they’ve got a good little team. We’re going to play teams that are much more physical and aggressive and talented than what they are,” Saban said. “So we’re going to have to do things correctly, and it’s going to be important to get guys to understand that.”

Alabama will be facing one of the two pass catchers who transferred to Texas in the offseason.

Sarkisian said it’s not for anything that occurred during Billingsley’s time at Texas but at his previous stop, Alabama.

Billingsley transferred to Texas (1-0) in the offseason.

“He’s in the process of that (suspension),” Sarkisian said. “He’s got five more games to go. We’ll get him back for Big 12 play.”

We don’t know the situation here, but six games is the standard suspension for failing a NCAA drug test.

Bryce is conceding nothing in his quest for a second Heisman.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young began his Heisman Trophy defense on Saturday with six touchdowns in a season-opening 55-0 win over Utah State.

He joined Tua Tagovailoa as the only players in Alabama history with six or more touchdowns in a game. Tagovailoa had seven touchdowns in a 2019 game against Ole Miss.

Young completed 18 of 28 pass attempts for 195 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. All of his passing touchdowns came in the first half.

Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide are still good too. Alabama may have fallen in last year’s title game, but it didn’t fall far. Young, who finished last season with exactly zero rushing yards (Side note: Can we please stop counting sacks as rushing attempts?) showed off his wheels on Saturday against Utah State, scampering 63 yards for a touchdown as part of a six-TD day.

Young’s closest competition for this year’s Heisman Trophy delivered a stirring drive to save Ohio State from a near upset. C.J. Stroud spent much of Saturday night frustrated by Notre Dame’s stout defense, but with the game on the line, the QB came up big. Stroud helped engineer a 14-play, 95-yard drive touchdown drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes in the fourth quarter, and the Buckeyes topped the Fighting Irish 21-10.

We are very fortunate to have him running the offense.

Last, in case you missed it, the expanded playoff was approved.

“If history’s a lesson to help us understand the future, it won’t be easy,” Sankey said. “But minds change, motivations change. ... There’s a bunch of moving parts. That’s where I wish we could have used the last nine months to work. We’ll have to accelerate our consideration to make it happen.”

On Friday, the College Football Playoff’s board of managers unanimously voted to expand the playoff to 12 teams starting in 2026. But the board, which consists of 11 presidents and chancellors, encouraged the sport’s commissioners to try to implement the expanded format as soon as 2024.

I only have one thing to say to that: blech.

That’s about ir for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.