Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Pyrrhus was a general and king in ancient Greece. Considered by his contemporaries to be among the greatest military commanders in human history to that point, Pyrrhus led a massive army, including 20 war elephants, into war against the then-burgeoning Roman Empire. Pyrrhus fought his way from the coast of Greece into the heartland of what is now Italy, eventually engaging the Romans at the Battle of Asculum. After two days of fighting, Pyrrhus and his 20 war elephants emerged victorious, but with thousands of men, including many officers, dead.
After the battle, Pyrrhus was supposed to have said, “One more such victory, and we are undone.” With that, the notion of a Pyrrhic victory, or winning the battle at too high a cost, was born.
It remains to be seen if Alabama’s 33-14 victory over Texas A&M will fit that bill, but the magnitude of the loss caused by Eddie Jackson’s season-ending injury can’t be overstated. Jackson is one of Alabama’s defensive captains and signal callers. His field vision on defense and special teams has been a major drive of Alabama’s dominance, including its 10-game non-offensive touchdown streak. More than anything, Jackson is a senior leader on a young team.
Alabama prides itself on depth, however. Hootie Jones will take his place at safety, replacing 38 games of experience with eight. Xavian Marks will likely take over punt return duties, but Jackson’s average of 23 yards per return will be difficult to replicate.
I just want to say thank you to everyone for checking on me and all the prayers all I know is how to bounce back…God Is In Control???RTR!!
— Eddie Jackson (@EJackson_4) October 23, 2016
What they’re saying nationally
- The Crimson Tide still leads both major polls.
- Alabama still leads Kirk Herbstreit’s top four.
- Yahoo’s Pat Forde: ‘If any team looks like a playoff lock, it’s this one.‘
- Marc Tracy at The New York Times: Alabama passed its biggest test before the postseason.
- Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post: Jonathan Allen is “290 of the damnedest pounds anybody ever saw.“
- SI’s Pete Thamel has an extended metaphor about Bryant-Denny Stadium’s broken toilets to describe the game.
- CBS’ Dennis Dodd: If Alabama’s going to lose, it will probably have to beat itself.
- Matt Brown at Sports on Earth: “There is no doubt who the frontrunner is.”
- USAToday’s Dan Wolken: Alabama still has room to improve, somehow.
- Fox Sports Dieter Kurtenbach: This is Nick Saban’s best team ever.
- ESPN’s Ed Aschoff and Bleacher Report’s Chris Walsh want to know if anyone can stop Alabama, which brings us to…
A note on Michigan
— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) October 24, 2016
To translate, S&P+ is a statistical rating that analyzes each play a team plays on both sides of the ball to evaluate its success and particular attributes. It includes four major components, two of which are “success rate,” which measures if a play does what it needs to do to generate an obvious rushing situation on the next play, essentially, and IsoPPP, which measures how many projected points plays add to a team’s offense–essentially, how explosive your offense is.
S&P+ is an opponent-adjusted stat, but in college football, it’s difficult to judge just how accurate that adjustment is. With the exception of the odd out-of-conference game, conferences largely exist in vacuums, so adjust Michigan’s statistics to exist in the same universe as Alabama’s is difficult. Consider that just one out of those three OOC games is against a Power 5 team that can be easily compared, and the adjustment becomes even more complicated.
All that aside, Michigan is dominating its opponents just as completely as Alabama is. While many Alabama fans will be loathe to acknowledge Jim Harbaugh’s program building, the bye week might be a good time to start scouting one of the only teams that could give the Crimson Tide a run for its money.
Closer to home
- The Montgomery Advertiser’s Duane Rankin has a different plan for Eddie Jackson’s replacement in his five takeaways.
- The Tuscaloosa News’ Ben Jones goes deep on the blocking Alabama gets from its star wide receivers.
- His editor, Tommy Deas, on the four burning questions Alabama answered Saturday.
- “We don’t give up 100 yards at Alabama,” Jonathan Allen said to The Tuscaloosa News’ Aaron Suttles.
- From BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter, here’s a rundown of Alabama’s statistical rankings, the freshmen and players reacting to Jackson’s injury.
- AL.com’s Rainer Sabin’s four surprises includes O.J. Howard’s annual resurgence.
- From Sabin, Jonathan Allen, Human Highlight Reel, with apologies to Dominique Wilkins.
- Alabama’s victory was hampered by some disastrous red zone execution, from AL.com’s Michael Casagrande.
- Casagrande is already looking forward to LSU, with a statistical comparison.
- And finally, Casagrande on the third-down penalty that changed the game.
- Matt Zenitz on those two hits from Mack Wilson.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) October 22, 2016
- In recruiting news, Alabama got a commitment from the No. 11 tight end in the country to go with the 3-star former Baylor commit it’s already received.
- Defense gets an A+, breaks the curve in Marq Burnett’s position grades.
- Alabama-Texas A&M was the most-watched college football game on Saturday, second only to the Cubs winning the National League pennant for the first time in 71 years when including all sporting events.
- Jonathan Allen is the latest Alabama player who people want to pretend could win the Heisman.
Saban in full
He’s been downright cheery after most victories this season. It’s not like him.
Around the Capstone
- Volleyball lost to Ole Miss in four sets on Sunday, from The Crimson White’s Ben Boynton. The loss comes after sweeping Arkansas on Friday for coach Ed Allen’s 50th SEC win.
- Soccer clinched an SEC tournament berth with a scoreless draw at LSU. Alabama missed the tournament last season.
- Rowing finished 18th twice and 12th once at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
- Softball closed its fall slate with a pair of shutout victories.
- The basketball teams started the countdown to their seasons with the Tide Tipoff celebration.
From our guy Funny Maine, maybe his best work of the season:
— FunnyMaine (@FunnyMaine) October 23, 2016
- Julio Jones finished with 9 catches for 174 yards in the Falcons’ overtime loss on Sunday, despite being grossly interfered with, again.
- Mark Ingram finished with 16 carries for 62 yards and 4 catches for 20 yards in the Saints’ 27-21 loss to the Chiefs. He also lost a fumble in the fourth quarter while the Saints were attempting a comeback. It’s fine, though. Really.
- Landon Collins opened his NFL account with a pick-six in London’s iconic Twickenham Stadium rugby ground.
- Former Alabama golfer Justin Thomas woke up at 4 a.m. local to watch the Crimson Tide before winning the CIMB Classic hours later.
- A former Alabama analyst is Fresno State’s interim coach.
From AL.com, maybe the loudest Rammer Jammer since the win over LSU last season.