Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
You can almost see the light of the open week from here.
Effectively, all that stands between Alabama and an easy road back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship is No. 6 Texas A&M. In the Aggies’ still-young SEC history, this matchup has proven nearly as important as the Alabama-LSU matchup, if not as consistently and prominently featured in the season’s title race.
2012 is probably the most prominent game in the series, when SEC newboys Texas A&M came to Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama behind an incredible first quarter from Johnny Manziel. I was on campus during that game, and I swear I’ve never seen it so despondent, even after the Ole Miss losses. In 2013 Alabama had its revenge, beating Manziel and the Aggies in a shootout in an excruciatingly hot College Station. 2014 was an off year, when Alabama cemented itself as the conference favorite by decimating then-No. 21 Texas A&M, 59-0. And in 2015, Alabama’s defense catapulted the team to the top of the conference with a win in front of 160,000 in Aggieland.
Each year, Alabama’s held the advantage entering the game. Each year, the game has had wide-reaching implications for the division and national title picture. Each year, the Aggies have come into this game with an upset on their minds. This season will be no different.
Alabama is a 17-point favorite at most books. AL.com’s Michael Casagrande calls this game Alabama’s biggest test remaining, while Kevin Scarbinsky says it’s “the one Alabama’s supposed to lose.” Matt Zenitz has the full tactical breakdown of the matchup, and, just in case you forgot, that’ll be Alabama-slayer Trevor Knight under center on Saturday.
- The titanic matchup Saturday will see two similar, dominant pass rushes, from AL.com’s Rainer Sabin.
- Uncle Verne didn’t care for Bo Scarbrough’s attempted ‘high five,’ and explained (?) why Gary Danielson was wearing a robe Saturday.
- Tim Brando spoke in Mobile on Monday, and thinks LSU is still Alabama’s biggest threat.
- Jalen Hurts and Jonah Williams were named SEC players of the week, and while Eddie Jackson and ArDarius Stewart led Alabama’s list. Nick Saban, meanwhile, was named the Bobby Dodd national coach of the week.
- Right guard Alphonse “Shank” Taylor is day-to-day this week. He was on the field but not in contact drills, according to Marq Burnett’s practice report.
- Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop blamed the officials for not being able to set an edge or maintain gap discipline while giving up 430 yards on the ground last Saturday. Or something like that.
- From BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter, Jalen Hurts is as mature as freshmen come.
- RollBamaRoll has an interesting power ranking of Alabama’s individual players.
- Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee: ‘Kiffin deserves to be a head coach again.‘
Saban in full
I love Saban’s answer on Jalen Hurts at around the 11:30 mark. I’m not so much interested in what he has to say about Hurts as his reaction to the question. Not much is written about Saban’s interest in one-on-one coaching, but he cares about it a great deal.
Also, I can’t believe somebody asked him about “outside talk.” I get that everyone wants to see Saban rant, but that’s just fishing. He didn’t really go for it, so maybe Saban’s mellowing in his old age.
Around the Capstone
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) October 17, 2016
- Alabama’s featured women’s doubles team is off to a flying start this season, winning the ITA regional championship the second year in a row.
Plan your off week
— SEC (@SEC) October 17, 2016
Are there any games here that merit Alabama’s attention? Florida and Georgia will be the football equivalent of the worst hangover you’ve ever had, and I can’t imagine South Carolina’s going to put up much of a fight to Tennessee. The pickings are slim. Maybe just watch the B1G or spend some time with your family or something.
Get hype, kind of
This is the least partisan hype video I could find for this game, and even it ends with a big ol’ “BTHO Alabama.” Consider this a challenge to the Alabama fan base: y’all gotta step up your hype video game. I don’t know if Texas A&M plans out their collective hours of weekly trap-music-soundtracked highlight reels at the cult meetings they call Midnight Yell, but for a school with a gigantic fanbase, plentiful footage and respectable film school, Alabama’s hype videos are conspicuous by their absence.
Maybe this is just like the “we don’t storm the field thing,” except this one is less because there’s cast iron fences everywhere and more because nobody can get worked up enough to spend the time in Windows Movie Maker.
That’s all for me today. If y’all have any feedback or suggestions for what you’d like to see in this space, feel free to find me on Twitter @landrysean or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org