On Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide get to play their annual "let's kick the shit out of Arkansas game" before heading into a bye week, which precedes an absolutely monumental matchup with LSU. Depending on where you look, the Tide are anywhere from a 31 to 34-point favorite, and that's without Tua Tagovailoa, who just had surgery. If Alabama plays poorly, they'll still win by three touchdowns. If they play well, they might win by eight touchdowns. Since Nick Saban took over, 'Bama has won 12 straight over the Razorbacks, and seven of those wins have come by 24 or more points. Saturday's game will essentially serve as a walkthrough.
Of course, the mere suggestion of this fact in Saban's presence fills him with rage, so much of it that it's a miracle he doesn't spontaneously combust. Assuming they are going to win and win handily is, as Saban often refers to it, rat poison. Rat poison leads to complacency, and complacency could lead to only a 17-point win instead of a 45-point win. So it should come as no surprise that Saban went into Hulk mode during his weekly press conference when a reporter asked him if the third string quarterback would get a look on Saturday, the implication being that they'll be up so many points that there would be an opportunity to get the third-stringer some reps:
The reporter is referring to Taulia Tagovailoa, third-string quarterback and brother of Tua. Mac Jones will start, but this reporter is simply wondering if there will be an opportunity for Taulia to play. In the unfortunate event Jones gets hurt, they would need to turn to Taulia, so getting him snaps in a blowout would serve as a good opportunity to "expedite his progression." But that's assuming the Tide are up big, and Saban was having NONE of that. In his mind, Arkansas is a good 2-5 football team who is going to give 'Bama its best shot.
Apparently, this reporter learned nothing from Maria Taylor, who fairly asked the question that was on everyone's mind at the beginning of last season about Tua and Jalen Hurts. Taylor's question yielded a Saban reaction that will be used on social media until the end of time:
Ask Saban about his quarterback situation at your own risk.