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Happy Gump Day! Alabama finds itself in striking distance in the first CFP committee ranking

“I am sore wounded but not slain. I will lay me down and bleed a while. And then rise up to fight again”

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

For the first 6-7 weeks of the season, we’ve been subjected to the continual hot takes about what a trash QB Bryce is, how great CJ Stroud is playing, etc. But, ya’ know, sometimes reality gets in the way of the hot takes, and the game has to be played

In their first pro meeting, longtime-rivals Bryce Young and CJ Stroud went head-to-hea as starters...and Bryce lit up the Texans (for Carolina, anyway), while Stroud struggled against the woeful Panthers.

In doing so, the two renewed a frenemy status that goes all the way back to 8th grade...and affirmed to many observers that there’s a reason Bryce was the No. 1 overall pick.

“You can say all you want, but when you feel the energy, you feel that kind of confidence, it gives you confidence that, ‘Hey, he’s gonna dish it, he’s gonna find us. Do your job and see what happens.’’’

What happened is Young made the types of plays during that 15-play drive that made the Panthers comfortable acquiring the No. 1 overall pick from the Chicago Bears and selecting him over Stroud, who went No. 2 to the Texans.

Three in particular stood out. The first came on second-and-19 from the 36 when Young spun out of trouble for a 7-yard scramble. It showed his awareness and shiftiness in avoiding defenders.

That was followed by a 10-yard completion to Thielen on a screen play, as Young changed the angle of his throw to a sidearm to avoid oncoming defenders.

Young picked up his first win, but more importantly, some more confidence that he’s learning and improving each day. Congrats to the 2021 Heisman winner, and Roll Tide

This week’s opponent for the Tide, the LSU Tigers, may have one of the most effective offenses in college football. But, that’s also paired with one of the most miserable defensive units you’ve ever seen in Baton Rouge.

And that’s when they’re healthy. But this week? Nope. Not healthy at all — the Tigers secondary is a walking MASH unit.

LSU head coach Brian Kelly met with the media on Monday morning and provided a grim look at his Tigers defense ahead of this weekend’s game.

According to Kelly starting defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo had surgery on a nagging lower-body injury and will miss at least six weeks of action.

Additionally, Kelly announced starting cornerback Zy Alexander was unavailable this week due to injury and will likely miss extended time. That’s not the only secondary issue the Bayou Bengals face as transfers Denver Harris and Duce Chestnut are still not practicing with the team as Kelly referred to them as “unavailable”.

Kelly slammed the door shut when asked if Harris or Chestnut could be available by the end of the week.

“They are not playing,” said Kelly.

Please, Baby Bear Bryant in His Cleveland County manger, let Tommy Rees have found a way to exploit this woeful Tigers defense. And let Jalen Milroe execute it properly. Ramen.

Those of us who were curious about Alabama’s standings in the first CFB Playoff were pleasantly surprised Tuesday Night — Alabama sits at No 8. overall, within easy striking distance of the Committee's Final Four should they win out.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide

Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in. The Alabama Crimson Tide sit in the top 10 once again, after finding their groove on offense in SEC play. If there’s any team that could potentially make a leap into the top four it’s this team. Why? Because they have LSU and a potential SEC Title game battle with Georgia left on the schedule. The defense has rounded into form, while the offense has found their formula with QB Jalen Milroe attacking teams vertically. LSU is up next, a crucial game if the Tide want to make a jump.

How does Alabama get into the Playoffs? 247 does the speculation here:

There are also two guaranteed losses above Alabama in the rankings. Ohio State and Michigan have yet to play, and Washington and Oregon are currently destined to meet in the Pac-12 championship game. Alabama beating Georgia would knock down a third higher-ranked team, but there still would need to be a fourth fall somewhere. Right now, that’s not a guarantee.

Washington beating Oregon for a second time would leave the Huskies as an undefeated conference champion. Florida State and the winner of Michigan-Ohio State could also become undefeated conference champions. Then there’s Texas, which took a loss to Oklahoma but could finish as a 1-loss Big 12 champion with a second win over the Sooners.

There has never been an undefeated Power 5 champion left out of the playoff, and there have only been two instances of an undefeated Power 5 conference champion being ranked lower than a 1-loss team: Florida State in 2014, and Ohio State in 2020.

If the 12-team playoff were in place, Alabama would easily make the field, squaring off with Oklahoma in Round 1, and Ohio State coming off a bye in Round 2.

As for the other big question of the nighty, those of us even more curious about what the Committee would do with a patently crooked Michigan team?

Absolutely ignore it, as it happens. Indeed, reward the Wolverines with the No. 3 seeding.

However, as expected, the committee did not take off-field controversy into account when ranking the teams. “It’s an NCAA issue,” said CFP selection committee chair Boo Corrigan. “It’s not a CFP issue.”

For now, Michigan can expect to be ranked solely on its on-field performance, but that’s subject to change depending what else is learned in the Stalions investigation.

BUT, speaking of Stalions, the story gets more bizarre every day. Last night’s big news? It appears that he crashed the Central Michigan Sideline with Ray-Ban Smartglasses and was recording or livestreaming the contest.

Josh Pate is all over this like the Zapruder film. And the story is legitimately so nutty, that I hope it never ends.

If more and more stuff like that breaks, how can the Committee in good conscience permit the Wolverines to compete?

It was good to hear Saban get on the fans about their lack of game-changing noise. It really helped, as it happens. And the players noticed it, loved it, and want fans to bring even more energy to this one:

“Crowd noise definitely plays an extreme part into the game,” right tackle JC Latham said. “That was the loudest I think I’ve heard Bryant-Denny get [vs. Tennessee]. I loved it. They got two false-start penalties.

“When Jihaad [Campbell] scored that touchdown I was insane. Just having the crowd behind you definitely adds momentum for the defense, because you know that the offense, when they’re out there, just creates a lot of confusion, a lot of stuff going on.

“Sometimes the offense can’t communicate with one another so they can’t be all in tune and get ready to go. And then when the offense is out there we know we got the home fans behind us so we’re all playing as one and it’s a great feeling.”

Added newly-named Thorpe Award finalist Kool-Aid McKinstry: ”I’m very excited how they were here against Tennessee. I feel like we need the same amount of energy, if not more, for this game.

“We need the fans to be there. We’re very excited to have the fans at our game, and we want to make the game as hard as we can and make it to our advantage that we have a crowd here that’s on our side.”

Read More: Tide Players Say Noise Helps |

YEsterday was Brian Kelly’s presser, and what I find interesting is the first player that he mentions is Isaiah Bond. The speedy Sophomore has grabbed more and more P/T this season, with his knack for big plays...and he has grabbed LSU’s attention too.

“Certainly, (Isaiah Bond) and (Jermaine Burton) at the wide receiver position have given them playmakers. They are physical up front. I think they’re massive on the offensive line. (Roydell Williams) and (Jace McClellan) at the running back position. And, of course, their defense has been as good if not better than anybody consistently over the last six weeks by giving up 21 points or fewer (each game).

“(Dallas Turner) and (Caleb Downs) and (Terrion Arnold), there’s a number of players, and their defensive line is stout and physical. Outstanding in special teams. So, again, we know what we’re up against. Outstanding football team on the road, playing at Alabama, and a great challenge and a great opportunity for us at the same time. So, we’ll practice today and get an opportunity to begin the preparation for an outstanding football team.”

The full interview is below:

The other thing that has his attention? That defense:

“It’s the layers, and what I mean by the layers, it’s years of recruiting. It’s years of messaging. It’s years of knowing what to do and how to do it in big games. Nick’s been there. His teams are prepared for it. So this is about a team that rises their preparation level. They don’t rise to the occasion of an LSU. They know what they’re doing. They’ve been there before. This is a football team that is well-coached in all phases. Defensively, they haven’t given up more than 21 points against five consecutive SEC opponents, so we know what we’re getting — this is an outstanding football team.”

One thing we absolutely need to prevent is Jayden Daniel cementing his Heisman moment in Tuscaloosa. 2019 was bad enough...but LSU? Again? Nah. I can’t hang with the defense is going to have to step up. My mental health relies upon it.

LSU is 6-2 on the year and has been doomed by a porous defense in both of those losses. Even in a few of the wins, the Tigers’ offense really had to compensate for a lackluster performance from the defense.

Daniels has been at the center of that, putting up eye-popping numbers. For the season, Daniels has thrown for 2,573 yards and 25 touchdowns with only three interceptions while completing 73.1% of his attempts. Daniels leads the nation in touchdown passes, yards per attempt and quarterback rating. He’s fourth nationally in passing yards and sixth in completion percentage. He also has rushed for 521 yards and five scores on the year.

Even with LSU effectively out of the national championship picture with two losses, Daniels now has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy at BetMGM.

Curious how the Committee sorted out ‘Bama-OU-Texas? With some actual logic, it appears.

“A lot of discussion,” Horrigan said. “You go back to we want to get this right as we look at it. A wonderful win by Oklahoma, last-second drive to win this game (Texas).

“When you factor in a two-loss Kansas team this past weekend, getting the win over Oklahoma, Kansas with the two losses to Texas and Oklahoma State, while they continue to improve and play better, body of work, if you will, looking at this, Texas over Alabama, winning there in Tuscaloosa, similar to Texas-Oklahoma but then add in the factor that Oklahoma lost that game to Kansas as well as a close game with UCF. But primarily the loss to Kansas.”

Moral of the story: Don’t lose to meh teams.

And, for his part, Sark has begun his own politicking. I don’t think it’s unfair for him to claim (as he did), that Texas has the single most impressive win of the season. Because the Longhorns really, really do.


Alrighty, That’s the JP for now. We’ll have more for y’all later. Dig in and Roll Tide


Who should have been No. 1 in the CFP initial rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    They got it right: Ohio State
    (188 votes)
  • 4%
    Cheatin’ or not, Michigan
    (29 votes)
  • 18%
    (126 votes)
  • 13%
    Too much ‘Bama in me. Roll Tide
    (93 votes)
  • 1%
    Oregon may have lost to Washington, but they’re still the best team out there.
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    "We actually beat Oregon," — Washington
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Sarkisian is right: Texas has an impressive body of work and the best win in the country.
    (29 votes)
  • 28%
    FSU can beat anyone in the country and has some quality wins as well
    (199 votes)
  • 1%
    Other, below
    (13 votes)
696 votes total Vote Now