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Jumbo Package: Kevin Steele retires, final AP poll places Alabama 5th

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Rose Bowl Game - Practice Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Michigan won the national title last night by taking down Washington 34-13, a fitting score since they did it in largely the same fashion as the 1992 Alabama squad. Indeed, old school college football purists now have proof of concept that a modern era team can win a national title with defense, running game, and just enough passing. The Wolverines managed to go wire to wire without getting dragged into a shootout, even against the explosive Washington Huskies.

Michael Penix Jr. passed the ball 51 times for 255 yards, producing the same yards per attempt that Jalen Milroe managed in the Rose Bowl. Penix also threw two interceptions. Washington’s defense has been suspect to mediocre all season, and that held true. Michigan wins this game if they never pass the ball even once, because their defense really was just that much better than everyone this year. Tip the cap.

Is this the dawn of a new era, as free agency makes it more difficult to develop those timing based spread passing attacks? Or, is this just a one-off? We shall see.

Alabama basketball hosts South Carolina tonight at 6pm CT. We will have coverage of that later.

The big Alabama news of the day was the retirement announcement of DC Kevin Steele. Nobody should be surprised by that in the least, and his replacement is likely already on staff.

Travaris Robinson

Current position: Alabama cornerbacks coach

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin made waves early in the season when he claimed Robinson was the one calling Alabama’s defense instead of Steele. Saban and company denied the claim at the time, but it could become true now.

Robinson has SEC defensive coordinator experience, five years worth at South Carolina. He’s also already in Tuscaloosa, and players have spoken highly of him.

It’s no guarantee that Saban goes that route, but I see little reason not to. Hire a good young linebacker coach and move on, keep some continuity.

This is goofy.

1 - Michigan 15-0, 1,525 (61)

2 - Washington 14-1, 1,459

3 - Texas 12-2, 1,356

4 - Georgia 13-1, 1,328

5 - Alabama 12-2, 1,321

So basically in order: If you beat Alabama and won the national title, you are of course at the top. If you make the national title game but beat a team that beat Alabama, you finish 2nd. If you have two losses but still beat Alabama, then you’re 3rd. If Alabama was your only loss and it was close, then you’re 4th. But Alabama can only be 5th?

Alrighty then.

Last, Paul Myerberg is one smart man.

1. 2020 Alabama (13-0)

By dominating the FBS with an unstoppable offense led by Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Crimson Tide have an argument for being counted among the top teams in modern history. Against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic, Alabama went unbeaten in games against 11 SEC teams, Notre Dame and Ohio State, scoring at least 31 points in every game, at least 41 points in every game but two and winning every game by at least 15 points. This was a dominant group and coach Nick Saban’s best team.

Folks focus on the defections, but most were necessary and the fact is that this squad is going to return a hell of a lot on both sides next year. They may not be 2020 good, but they will be right in the mix.

CBS agrees, though I find their portal QB question to be highly unlikely.

Georgia The Bulldogs have still won 29 out of their last 30 games. If not for a stumble against Alabama, they would have been playing for a third straight national championship. With Carson Beck and most of a rock-solid defense returning, there’s no shame in winning three out of the last four nattys.2

Alabama Nick Saban has stiff-armed retirement rumors as he turns 73 next Halloween. The defense will take some hits, and there’s a question whether Saban will go after a quarterback in the transfer portal, but expect the Crimson Tide to be a slam dunk for the expanded College Football Playoff.

I will be absolutely floored if Milroe isn’t treated as a returning starter next year, because he is. Does that mean that he absolutely could not be passed up? Of course not. It would be pretty surprising, though. Last night’s game from Penix should ease a lot of minds about Jalen, who actually put up a damn fine season passing the football.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.