Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
I know this section title doesn’t really apply, but I’m not about to change it just for this week.
Has any game lost its preseason luster like this one? Michigan-Michigan State perhaps, but not even that game had the same hype as this. In August, it wasn’t inconceivable that November would open with another “Game of the Century,” undefeated No. 1 and No. 2 Alabama and LSU contending for control of the SEC.
Instead, LSU essentially wrote off its season long ago, and Ed Orgeron was left to pick up the pieces. In around a month, coach O has won three straight games and lost none, diversifying LSU’s offense enough that it now ranks second in explosiveness, according to Bill Connolly. If LSU’s run-heavy offense can do enough to beat Alabama this Saturday, coach O will almost certainly have a permanent home in Baton Rouge.
Alabama, however, leads the nation in stifling explosive running attacks and trails only Michigan in defensive efficiency. The pass defense isn’t far behind. For all that’s been said about Alabama’s new-look offense, this defense shows every indication of being able to stop Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers for the second year running.
Alabama’s a 7.5-point favorite at most books. And The Valley Shook, the LSU SBNation blog, has an excellent schematic breakdown of that re-imagined Alabama offense and how LSU might defend it. AL.com’s Matt Zenitz has a statistical cheat sheet for the game, and here’s what makes this year’s game a fresh take on an old favorite from his colleague, Michael Casagrande.
- Terrin Waack of The Tuscaloosa News on what Saban sees when he watches coach O’s offense.
- Alabama players respond to LSU’s trash talk. And by respond, I mean don’t really say much at all.
- Alabama is still finalizing its strategy for replacing Eddie Jackson.
- AL.com’s Kevin Scarbinsky: The SEC West is a mess.
- More defensive back shuffling and other notes from practice, from our Marq Burnett.
- BamaOnline’s Travis Reier analyzes Monday’s practice.
- Jalen Hurts and Jonathan Allen are semifinalists for the Maxwell Award. Meanwhile, Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster are semifinalists for the Butkus.
- And finally, a Halloween special from the SEC Shorts crew at AL.com.
Happy Birthday, Nick!
Language warning below.
You can see Saban’s full press conference here. Also, Burnett looks back at some of Saban’s milestones.
— Crimson Tide FB (@CrimsonTide_FB) October 31, 2016
Built By Bama
- The Saints aren’t losing faith in Mark Ingram yet. Unlike his fantasy owners.
Nick Saban isn’t leaving
It happens every year, though the end of October is earlier than usual. Inevitably, when a major college or NFL coaching job opens or was recently filled, the stories begin to trickle out that Saban has expressed passionate, maniacal interest in leaving Tuscaloosa. This year, the stories say Saban was headed to New York to coach the Giants.
Although, that’s not what the stories say, is it? That’s what the headlines say. What the stories actually say is that comedian Tom Arnold or boxing promoter and paragon of virtue Bob Arum told radio shows, unconfirmed and uncorroborated, that Saban’s agent maybe expressed interest in the New York Giants gig.
Arum claims that Jimmy Sexton, one of the most powerful men in sports, needed Arum to make third-hand innuendo to the Giants to make a deal possible. He claims that the deal would have been done, except the Giants management wouldn’t wait because they nearly had the deal to hire Ben “not the basketball player Bob” McAdoo finalized. Or maybe Saban couldn’t move because Miss Terry suddenly decided she really did love Tuscaloosa too much to move to snowy New York. And all the while, Sexton is conducting this through a colleague who’s conducting this through Arum, who had to tell the Giants’ owners that Saban wasn’t interested.
Never mind the fact that the Sabans have repeatedly, publicly and privately, discussed their affinity for Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. Never mind that Saban is 65 years old and has been to and left the NFL, which doesn’t suit him as well and where he can’t recruit, once already. Never mind that Saban has been in Tuscaloosa for 10 years and that he and those who know him well have said repeatedly that it will be his final stop.
This is an awesome story. Totally false, but awesome. https://t.co/m5hiWqwTRb
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 31, 2016
It’s entirely possible Saban’s name came up in New York and that Sexton, well-known for effectively pursuing raises for his clients, encouraged that. But if you’re trying to convince me that Saban was going to uproot a dynastic football program that he controls every aspect of and where he’s on the precipice of dethroning the most iconic coach in the history of the game to take over a middling NFC East team with a slightly-better-than-average quarterback, I’m not buying.
It happens every year, and college football fan bases, particularly Southern ones, cling to it, hoping that Saban will deal the same pain to Alabama that he’s dealt to their team, either in departure (LSU) or conquest (also LSU). In 10 years, he hasn’t yet, and until retirement, I doubt he ever will.