Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
It’s been a long week. This Saturday, treat yourself. Unplug for a little while, relax, enjoy football. If you need to, get away from the social media. It’ll be all right. It’ll be there when you get back. If you’re so inclined, go out and share this football in public, at the game or at the bar. Do what makes you happy. We made it through the week.
- A scouting report from Tommy Deas reports that Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald looks, dare we say, a little Tebow-like?
- SLIDESHOW WARNING: AL.com ranks Saban’s 20 greatest wins.
- One good thing about the post-Derrick Henry era? Alabama is forced to share the carries, from AL.com’s Michael Casagrande.
- The Crimson Tide is famed for its depth. November is when that really counts.
- Jonathan Allen drew plaudits for the Superman sack. Now, he’s getting attention for his on-field leadership.
- Jalen Hurts is a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien award, given annually to the best quarterback in the nation.
- Alabama’s pass rush could be the best in the country two years running.
- AL.com has highlights from Nick Saban’s weekly radio show, including his thoughts on halftime interviews.
- Roll Bama Roll breaks down Mississippi State’s offense and defense.
- Jonathan Allen is a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT trophy.
The media predicts
- Alabama is a 29-point favorite, according to most Vegas books.
- Our Mississippi State reporter takes Alabama by 24.
- So does Fox’s Stewart Mandel.
- Bruce Feldman gives Alabama a 27-point cushion.
- USA Today’s panel likes Alabama unanimously, as does Sports Illustrated,
- And finally, from the AL.com crew:
Built by Bama
- Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings will be on hand at the SEC Championship game for the coin toss.
- Trent Richardson hopes his recent stint with Alabama jump-starts a return to the NFL.
On Thursday morning, we talked about the potentially thrilling weekend Alabama basketball was anticipating. Now, all those Alabama basketball dreams are real, with the signing of possibly the best recruiting class in the program’s history. Alabama added signatures from Collin Sexton and former Kentucky target John Petty. Both are considered among the nation’s leaders at their positions. The signings elevated Alabama’s class to top-3 status, according to 247sports.
These signings are a repudiation of the biggest criticism of Avery Johnson: that an NBA coach with no college experience would be able to compete with Kentucky on signing day. In reality, Johnson landed a high-caliber class in just a year, and he’s just getting started. Alabama takes on Coastal Carolina Friday.
Around the Capstone
- Alabama basketball opened its practice to active duty and veteran military members ahead of its home opener.
- Women’s basketball opens its season Friday with a laundry list of gameday improvements.
What to watch
I won’t mislead y’all. This week and next week, it’s bleak out there. But we’ll power through this together.
- Boston College travels to No. 18 Florida State at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. That should be interesting for about 30 minutes while you get ready for your Friday night to start.
- Noon — Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama kicks off early Saturday. For your second screen or timeouts, keep an eye on South Carolina at Florida on CBS in what could be the messiest game of the year, and a potential SEC East decider. Elsewhere, Kentucky takes on Tennessee on the SECNetwork and Texas hosts No. 16 WVU on FS1.
- 3:30 p.m. — Auburn at Georgia leads the afternoon slate on CBS, though Kirby Smart’s Dawgs need more than a little help against the Tigers. For points, keep an eye on Texas Tech at No. 13 Oklahoma State on FS1. For title implications, watch Pitt at No. 2 Clemson on ABC for at least five minutes.
- 7 p.m. — Potentially the best game of the day is No. 24 LSU at No. 25 Arkansas on ESPN.
- 7:30 p.m. — More likely, however, the top game to watch is No. 20 USC at No. 4 Washington on Fox. This is the game the Huskies are most likely to drop. Win this one, and the path to the playoff opens up for Washington. In conference, Ole Miss heads to No. 8 Texas A&M on the SEC Network.
- 10:30 p.m. — Cal at Washington State closes us out, on ESPN. This has extreme weird football potential.
This week’s poll dealt with y’all’s MVP of the season so far. I expected Jalen Hurts to win out, and he did well, with 41 percent of the vote. However, in true Alabama fashion, y’all favored defense and gave the title to Jonathan Allen with a plurality of 45 percent. Eddie Jackson received about 7 percent, and the rest of the votes were split fairly evenly between Damien Harris and write-ins Reuben Foster and Tim Williams.
That’s it for me today. Enjoy your weekend, and be good to each other.