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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban remains positive ahead of USF, squashes retirement talk

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama travels to Tampa this weekend, to take on the South Florida Bulls. As expected, the Tide are heavily favored. Some previews:

Well, here’s something you don’t see every day. Alabama is playing just its fourth nonconference road game and the first game on the road against a Group of Five team in the Nick Saban era. Not that there would ever be good timing for this from the USF perspective, this is especially bad timing. Someone is going to have to pay for the relatively lackluster performance Alabama gave at home to Texas last week and that someone is South Florida. I am not sure how the Bulls stay within this line unless the Crimson Tide gets bored. Pick: Alabama (-32)

Alabama 42, South Florida: 10: The Crimson Tide get back on track after the loss to Texas. Even though this game is on the road, the matchup serves as the perfect palate cleanser for an Alabama team that needs to build momentum heading into SEC play.

There’s no panic yet.

Nick Saban is preaching calm, all is well, stay the course, been here before, just win the next game, keep learning, move on.

This is the week to get the timing down a little more with the passing attack. It’ll be okay to take a few chances and get Milroe the at bats to keep on improving. The defense will rise up and dominate if and when the Tide O screws up.

It’s a strange road game, and that appears to be a positive in a change-of-scenery sort of way. By the way, Alabama’s last road game against a Group of Five program was …

November 29, 2003. Hawaii 37, Alabama 29.

It’ll go a little better for the Tide this time around.

Alabama 52, USF 10

A road trip away from Tuscaloosa against an overmatched opponent is just what the doctor ordered for Alabama coming off that loss. There are legitimate questions as to whether Jalen Milroe is the answer at quarterback, and this game could give Saban a chance to test out his other options after gaining an early lead and putting it out of reach.

Alabama’s receivers have the speed advantage working on the perimeter against the Bulls’ coverage options and both lines should dominate in their respective phases, opening up running lanes on the inside and giving Milroe, or whomever, more time to connect downfield and rebuild their confidence going into the SEC slate.

College Football HQ picks...

Alabama wins 45-10

Covers the spread

And hits the under

I’m not particularly interested in predicting whether Alabama wins by 25 or 35 or 45. I just want to see the team play with intensity and execute better than they did last Saturday. Everyone will be focused on the QB position, and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possiblity that a change is made there. Milroe certainly made some mistakes and Texas exposed his weaknesses. The question is whether the coaching staff believes that those weaknesses can be offset by playing to his strengths, or if someone else on the team offers a better chance to win. We will find out soon enough.

Saban was at Baumhower’s last night for his weekly radio show, and provided some laughs seeking Peewee from Grand Bay’s advice on the offensive line play.

He also said this, and depending on your current view of the situation, it may or may not suggest a QB change.

“I’m really proud of this bunch of guys,” Saban said. “I’m disappointed in the game just like everybody else is disappointed in the game, but these guys have worked hard. There’s a good chemistry on this team. I think we just got to get the right players in the right spots to do the right things to complement each other and we can have a really good season.

“All the goals that we have are still in front of us, so if we learn from our failings, we’re gonna have a chance to, I think, develop into a really good team. But our consistency and performance has got to be the thing that we develop and improve on week in and week out.”

— Saban says first test against Texas was valuable for some of the Crimson Tide’s younger players despite loss. Says experiences are beneficial for growth both for players and for coaches. Says he told players they need to understand that “success is a lousy teacher” and he wants them paranoid, always thinking someone is after them. Says consistency is key to success and Alabama had too many critical errors to overcome, notes how many “drive-stoppers” the Tide had in Texas game.

- Saban says players have looked good this week. Says he sometimes says on the show that the week is good, even when it wasn’t. Admits that Texas week didn’t have great continuity.

We shall see.

Nick was also on the Pat McAfee show yesterday and looked to squash any retirement talk.

Elsewhere, Lane Kiffin was named in a lawsuit by a former player.

DeSanto Rollins, a Louisiana native, claimed he was suffering from mental health issues just before last season’s football campaign started.

In the lawsuit, Rollins claimed he was not provided proper care by the university and that Kiffin kicked him off the team causing even more anxiety. Rollins is still listed on the football team’s online roster.

Dartmouth men’s basketball team filed union paperwork.

“Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to represent students on Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team,” Dartmouth College spokesperson Jana Barnello said in a statement to CBS Sports. “We have the utmost respect for our students and for unions generally. We are carefully considering this petition with the aim of responding promptly yet thoughtfully in accordance with Dartmouth’s educational mission and priorities.”

Last, Smitty did Smitty things again.

Oh how we miss that man.

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

Roll Tide.