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Jumbo Package: Stick a fork in ‘em, the Tide is cooked

Why even play the rest of the season? Alabama might as well forfeit if you read the articles flying around right now

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Alabama at USF Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kicking things off, here’s Coach Saban’s press conference from yesterday afternoon (the first two minutes of the video are dead, so you can skip ahead to when Saban arrives):

Some updates-

  • Tyler Booker and Jaheim Oatis are back to practicing, so hopefully they’ll be good to go for the game.
  • Ty Simpson is solidly the #2 QB
  • Saban wants to get Jam Miller and Justice Haynes more involved in the running game.

And that’s really about it. It was one of the shortest Saban press conferences I’ve heard in a while.

Other than that, there’s not too much out there right now. A bunch of the national writers are trying to get shots in at Alabama’s QBs while they can:

A defensive coordinator at another Power 5 school talked about Jalen Milroe saying Milroe is, “Big play or nothing … He’s in a tough spot, but I do think he’s talented,” “He throws a great deep ball, can create on his own. He just doesn’t have that ability to make the off-platform throws that Bryce Young did,” via Alex Scarborough of ESPN.

It’s tough to follow in the footsteps after four NFL starting quarterbacks all succeeded playing for Alabama football before, but Jalen Milroe will at least retain his position as QB1 going forward.

But before asking where Saban and Alabama go from here, you have to ask how they got here in the first place. How is it that no one was ready to replace Young after he left school as the No. 1 overall draft pick? How did it fall to Milroe, Buchner and Simpson? How did it get to the point that the break in case of emergency option — true freshman Dylan Lonergan — might have his number called before he’s ready?

The answer is complicated. Some sources close to the program say it’s as simple as the program’s luck finally running out. The Hurts-Tagovailoa-Jones-Young run was unprecedented for a reason, they say. But other, more cynical sources, question the recruiting and development at the position the last two-plus years.

Milroe might not have been Alabama’s pick in the 2021 class had Drake Maye not decommitted in March 2020, opting instead to sign at North Carolina. Fast-forward to the end of last season and Alabama was back sniffing around Maye, according to multiple sources, in the event that he entered the transfer portal, which he didn’t.

It’s becoming apparent that this might not be just a down year for Alabama relative to the standard set across the past 15 seasons. This could be a disaster of a season, period. After the Rebels, the Tide face No. 48 Mississippi State, No. 30 Texas A&M, No. 43 Arkansas, No. 22 Tennessee, No. 14 LSU and No. 25 Kentucky. If this group wasn’t named Alabama, how many games would you pick them to win out of that bunch?

While the re-rank does not keep extensive records of historic rankings dating to its inception in 2010, choosing instead to live in the moment instead of dwelling in the past, a team of researchers is confident this is the lowest-ever ranking for the Tide.

According to USA Today, Alabama is sandwiched between Fresno State and James Madison in terms of ranking. Seems legit.

No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 13 Alabama

This one will be a shootout — one during which the Crimson Tide will not be able to keep up. The offensive line is the unit plaguing the Tide right now, and the Rebels pass rush will tee off on Milroe when things start to get wild in the second half. It’s shocking that Alabama is even favored in this game, much less by a touchdown. Take the Rebels to cover and win outright. Pick: Ole Miss +7

Ah Barrett Sallee, never change. Talk about a guy that’s been waiting over a decade to write that paragraph.

Anyway, it seems there’s a lot of people ready to bury the Tide, and are gleeful to do it. While we all knew the day would come eventually, how sure are we that it is now? We’ll see. Maybe it is. Or maybe this is just a really young team that is taking some time to put things together. The Tide is now in do-or-die mode every week for the rest of the season, and beating Ole Miss will be a salve to fixing the ailments of the last two weeks.