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LET'S ALL PACE OURSELVES FOR OHIO STATE V. ALABAMA

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THERE ARE A LOT OF HOT TAKES OUT THERE. LET'S NOT STUFF THEM INTO THE CONTENT MICROWAVE ALL AT ONCE.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

How long did that take oh we were just kidding WAIT SHIT SOMEONE ALREADY DID IT--

AlabamaSabanMeyerQuit

Guhhh, just going ahead and blowing a prime fake storyline before we even get out of the shadow of championship weekend. You've got to pace yourself, dammit. There's almost a month until the game, and we're going to have to set this straight before we go poisoning any more quality mock-content wells.

Okay, let's just establish a few rules for how this is going to go from the start. We're not going to assume Saban has mindpowers capable of killing opposing coaches. If this were true he would have exploded Les Miles' heart three or four times over, something Miles has avoided because Saban has no superpowers. Or maybe he does, and Les Miles' obsession with "chest" and chestiness is all to develop a sufficiently thick sternum and pectoral casing capable of repelling Saban's avada kedavra skills.* Okay, maybe Nick Saban really did hit Urban Meyer with a dim mak strike. The scoreboard reads: Alabama 1, reason and logic -293889282777.

*Les Miles is like Link at the end of Zelda: he has fifteen hearts, and sometimes sets shrubs on fire because "there might be a staircase under there or something."

Second, let's try treating Ohio State like a team capable of winning football games. No really, try it, it makes this much more fun when, rather than pointing to the horizon and yelling "Bamaaaaa," you step back and start pointing at the sore spots in Alabama's otherwise bulletproof carapace. Devin Smith averages a swimming pool length every catch, and will be working against the Crimson Tide's corners, aka the matches that burn every time you strike them. Sure, Cardale Jones will have no idea what he's doing, but Stephen Garcia beat Bama once, so don't tell us experience and thinking does a whole lot against Nick Saban defenses. Just throw that shit up there, run a little bit, and hope the team with the better turnover margin wins. For the record, that would be Ohio State, not Alabama.

Third, you have over three weeks to chew the scenery over this game, so let's just give you the blueprint ahead of time for both sides.

For Alabama fans, there's the "Nick Saban gave Urban Meyer a baboon heart" theory, which is already spent. So you've got to go further now, and reach for the dim, backhanded compliments of "Ohio State's recruiting speed now" (like every football team besides Minnesota doesn't), or perhaps "You know, Ohio State really does do things like an SEC team would." A panicked respect is just going to help you get through this month, is what we're saying. If at any point you flag and get fatigued, just whisper "Utah and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl" to yourself and you'll perk right back up.

For Ohio State, it's got to be about how Urban's done this the right way, preferably while subtly hinting at oversigning and roster manipulation by Alabama. It's got to be about how Urban might have learned the lessons of the SEC, but combined them with the virtues of the Big Ten.* Throw in a good debate about Big Ten Network revenues besting the SEC's, toss in a few barbs about the out-of-conference schedules of the SEC (ignore Alabama's robust scheduling in that department), and then finish by rightly poking at Alabama's difficulties defending spread offenses. That makes Alabama fans twice as mad because the spread's an affront not only to their defensive stats, but to Jesus. (Jesus ran the I-formation, and will judge those who use the zone read with great vengeance.)

*Whatever those are, outside of this. Which is fucking awesome.