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Jumbo Package: LSU, ESPN GameDay hype head to Tuscaloosa

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Alabama v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. As you likely know by now, ESPN College Gameday will be in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

This is going to be another hyped up matchup. Hopefully the good guys handle it well. A couple of them spoke about maintaining focus over a bye week.

“It is different, but as long as you have the same type of attitude that you have going into a game week, it all turns out good,” Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner said of coming off a bye. “You still have to put in the work on the bye week. You can’t get complacent in what you’re doing. Other teams are practicing and playing and stuff like that.”

The Tigers also had an open date on Saturday. Both teams will have had two weeks to prepare for the matchup, which could play a deciding factor in the SEC West chase.

Alabama currently sits at 8th in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, but ESPN FPI continues to love them as playoff contenders.

Win projection: 10.7 games

Where Alabama is now: Coming off the open week with a landmark date against LSU at home hoping it can hold firm to the No. 1 spot in the SEC West, but still with questions on the offensive line. Jalen Milroe’s mobility has helped avoid any catastrophes so far as the Tide is 5-0 in conference play, but it wouldn’t hurt to run the ball more, ranking 78th nationally.

Nick Alvarez examined some preseason predictions from various sources, with the Tide now headed into the home stretch.

Prediction: Alabama OL will be second-best in SEC, 4th best nationally

The biggest weakness of the Tide is its inability to keep Milroe upright. While the quarterback has held onto the ball too long at times, the offensive line has tried different starters and pairings to minimal success. Through Week 9 games, Alabama is tied for the fifth-most sacks allowed nationally (35) out of 133 programs.

Much attention has been paid to the left tackle spot, an ongoing split between true freshman Kadyn Proctor and second-year player Elijah Pritchett. Both have struggled with penalties and the pass rush. The right guard spot has also been in flux with Darrian Dalcourt and Terrence Ferguson missing time due to injury. Redshirt sophomore Jaeden Roberts has emerged in conference play.

Jordan Rodgers isn’t too bullish on Alabama’s chances this week.

Ahead of the game, Cole Cubelic and Jordan Rodgers previewed the matchup. Rodgers believes LSU has what it takes to take down the Tide, and he thinks a win could be Jayden Daniels’ Heisman moment.

“I agree, it’s maybe the biggest game all year for the implications they have,” Rodgers said. “But I’m going to go to the other side, Alabama’s had issues in protection, you know all too well. Harold Perkins has been a weapon on the outside in how they revamped his responsibilities on the defense, I’m watching that all day every day. It could Jayden Daniels’ possible Heisman moment, right, for a guy that’s in the front of the pack right now.”

Jerry Palm has Alabama in the Cotton Bowl after Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas.

Now, Oklahoma is projected to have two losses, and since it would have just played the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium (which also hosts the Cotton Bowl), it is more appealing to have Oklahoma head to Atlanta to take on Penn State.

Alabama moves over to the Cotton Bowl to face Oregon in a premier New Year’s Six game outside the College Football Playoff.

The CFP are unchanged again this week. While I do not expect Georgia to be No. 1 in the initial CFP Rankings — released this Tuesday evening — I do expect the Bulldogs to finish atop the final CFP Rankings once the conference championship games conclude.

In NFL news, Bryce Young finally logged his first NFL victory, and it came at the expense of CJ Stroud and the Houston Texans.

Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young earned his first career win on Sunday after leading a game-winning drive against a pair of familiar foes playing for the Houston Texans.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama not only defeated his former teammate, Will Anderson Jr., but also outdueled opposing passer C.J. Stroud. Young and Stroud went Nos. 1 and 2 in the 2023 NFL Draft, respectively. Anderson went third, marking the first time in NFL history that the top three picks of a given draft all played in the same game as rookies.

It was also the first time in his young career that Bryce’s passer rating broke the century mark.

Last, look who caught a touchdown from Jalen Hurts.

You know that Saban is like a proud poppa watching that connection. DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, and Jerry Jeudy all found paydirt yesterday as well. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, including the aforementioned one to Waddle, as the Miami Dolphins swept a struggling New England Patriots squad. Mac Jones’ job security as the starting QB in Foxboro is being called into question again after a subpar game of 161 passing yards on 29 attempts, with one bad interception. Mac did throw two touchdowns, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

By the way, Amari Cooper didn’t score this week, but have you seen his ride? It’s something called a Rezvani Vengeance that costs a cool quarter-million.

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

Roll Tide.