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Jumbo Package: Saban focused on cleaning up “fixable” errors

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Alabama v Texas A&M Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama stayed about the same in the polls after beating Texas A&M on the road.

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide remains ranked No. 10 in the latest US LBM Coaches Poll. Alabama (5-1, 3-0 SEC) had been ranked No. 10 in the coaches poll before the game in College Station.

Other SEC teams ranked in the coaches poll include No. 1 Georgia, No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 17 Tennessee, No. 20 LSU, No. 23 Kentucky and No. 25 Missouri.

Texas, Alabama’s only loss, fell seven spots to No. 11 in the coaches poll after the loss to Oklahoma.

Miami and Texas did no favors for our strength of schedule this week, as Texas lost to Oklahoma and Miami blew a home game to Georgia Tech when Mario Cristobal failed to take a knee with a three point lead, less than a minute to go and Tech out of timeouts. The football gods tend to punish such things, and former Alabama WR Christian Leary got to be a hero. As an aside, we don’t do meltdowns anymore, but this here comment is dark.

That might be a smidge drastic, but it’s very Miami.

In any case, the Tide won and now lead the SEC West with a bunch of football left to play. As Chris Low notes, Caleb Downs’ interception might have been the most important play of the game.

The stakes certainly weren’t nearly as high, but that play reminded me of Da’Shawn Hand getting his helmet in the way of a Jake Fromm pass, despite being held to the point of rushing the passer backwards, to get the ball back shortly after Tua Tagovailoa threw an interception in the 2017 national title game. In both cases it’s fair to wonder whether Alabama wins without it.

Saban rated this game among the ugliest wins of his career.

“This may be the record game for me in terms of messing up and still winning,” Saban said. “You take the mess-ups and penalties and you add them all together.”

He wasn’t happy about the mistakes. But Saban was extremely pleased in his ability to make it past all the various problems it inflicted upon itself.

“For guys to pull themselves up, to overcome adversity and resiliency, this is a great win for our team,” Saban said. “It was a great one for the program. It was a great win for this team. It was an opportunity to show who they are.”

Nick Kelly categorizes the penalties thusly:

The breakdown of football penalties that result from playing the game vs. mental/discipline penalties falls 20-23. The mental/discipline penalties have the slight edge.

Which penalties are included in which category?

Football penalties: pass interference, defensive holding, roughing the passer, holding, face mask, ineligible man downfield and targeting.

Mental/discipline penalties: False starts, unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal snaps, personal foul, offsides, delay of game and illegal shift.

It is true that most of the “discipline” penalties can stop abruptly, but thus far they have not. If they ever do, this team can win a title. It would be an understatement to say that’s a big “if.”

National media really thought that they were going get an Alabama loss and have a mostly Alabama-free season in terms of playoff discussion, but it just didn’t go down like that.

The greatest coach of all time has flipped the script on a season that began with deep-rooted quarterback dysfunction, no identifiable consistent offensive game-breaker and a bad offensive line. The weird quarterback battle bled into the season for about a month before Alabama finally landed on Jalen Milroe as the starter. And even with Milroe entrenched as QB1, there are still long streaks of games when it looks like the Crimson Tide made the wrong decision.

Then Milroe will throw a 40-yard rope into the end zone that makes your jaw drop. That’s how Alabama won Saturday on the road. Milroe, who infuriates his fan base with terrible throws on short and intermediate routes, turns it on and becomes magical. Alabama was down by seven at the half, but Milroe connected on two touchdown passes to Jermaine Burton in the third quarter, both of which came on gorgeous throws.

At some point folks are going to have to get less infuriated by Milroe’s flaws. He has some, and he also has some very real strengths. The QB race is over, and at this point everyone should simply be rooting for him.

It’s expensive to go to a SEC game.

The average cost for a family of four — including tickets, parking, hot dogs and sodas — was $643.47, or more than $160 per person.

Costs for four tickets to the first SEC home game for each school ranged from $207.49 for Kentucky at Vanderbilt to $1,188.73 for South Carolina at Tennessee. Defending national champion Georgia was the only other school with a cost of more than $1,000 for four tickets at $1011.36 for its SEC home opener (also vs. South Carolina).

The cost of four tickets averaged $566.57 across all 14 schools, or more than $141 per person.

People seem to be paying a lot of money to see some ‘Cocks these days.

Mark Inabinett has a NFL roundup of former Alabama players for you. Nothing too special this week, though several Tide players made plays.

Last, be thankful that this wasn’t you.

Ouch. Not sure who felt worse between him and Miami fans.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.