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The Rebels have now hung 70-plus points on each of its first two opponents, UT-Martin and Fresno State. It wasn’t a surprise in the opener; it was definitely a surprise last week against a Fresno team that is typically well-coached and scrappy. It leaves Alabama asking the question of just how good is Ole Miss, and whether Kelly was the missing piece to Hugh Freeze’s offense this whole time.
It’s hard convincing people that a mid-major program like Middle Tennessee State could be a threat to Alabama, especially at this point in the Crimson Tide’s development. MTSU is a recent addition to Conference USA after playing either at lower divisions or in the lowly Sun Belt up to now.
But MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill is a Bobby Bowden disciple, a good recruiter and former assistant at Clemson and South Carolina. His defensive coordinator, Tyrone Nix, has been around for years and also has SEC experience. Offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner is a young assistant to watch, whose experience at Valdosta State and Murray State exposed him to high-flying offenses.
On the other hand, it is not unusual for MTSU to not fill all of its allotted scholarship slots. The Blue Raiders are typically thinner than most teams and try to rely on the newest innovations in offense or defense to corner the element of surprise. Unfortunately, the raw talent level just isn’t there often enough for the Blue Raiders to seal the deal.
Alabama will be using this game to work on fixing the few small issues that cropped up against Wisconsin. Ole Miss comes to town next week, and the Crimson Tide needs to be firing on all cylinders for that one.Continue reading …
For Wisconsin, a game against Alabama in Week 1 is a bit like engaging in a demolition derby – against a Ross Winans steam locomotive, rather than an old sedan.
Alabama has been, ever since Nick Saban’s arrival, a machine. It doesn’t always move fast, but it moves deliberately, it’s hard to stop and almost impossible to overpower. And while Alabama has made forays into what many observers like to call “modern football” – i.e., the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses and their variants – Alabama wins with brawn and depth.
Shortly after Barry Alvarez’s arrival in Madison, Wisc., the Badgers became somewhat of the Alabama of the Big Ten – Gene Stallings’ Alabama, that is. Wisconsin throws the ball only when a judge orders it. Otherwise, Wisconsin is content to bury its opponents under a pile of rubble, occasionally lobbing the ball to a receiver just to keep them interested. While Wisconsin finished the 2014 season with an impressive 11-3 record, the Badgers had their hands full with any team it couldn’t physically intimidate. Most notably, Wisconsin fell 59-0 to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.Continue reading …
The Crimson Tide is hoping to ride a defense that might have 11 upperclassman starters to a title in 2015, but doing so will require a fast rebuild on the offensive side of the ball, not to mention navigating a schedule that many deem to be the most difficult in the nation. Other challenges include a spotty situation at placekicker and the shuffling of coaching personnel, primarily on defense.Continue reading …
TideFans.com doesn’t often make reference to betting lines, as that’s not our thing. But when Alabama opened up as roughly a two-touchdown favorite over Texas A&M, it got everyone’s attention in the sports media world.
Alabama, a team that had just scraped to a 14-13 victory over Arkansas, the SEC West’s presumptive worst team, was being made a two-touchdown favorite over a team that beat Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2012, carried the Crimson Tide to the wire in College Station in 2013, and has many of the same pieces returning from those teams in 2014. On the face, it doesn’t make sense.Continue reading …
It is the height of irony that the principal reason for Alabama scoring more points than Arkansas Saturday came as a result of a special teams play on the part of the Crimson Tide.
A’Shawn Robinson and Jonathan Allen have been crushing opponents’ field goal and extra-point formations all season long. And, for the second consecutive week, one of those plays gave Alabama the opportunity to win.Continue reading …
Whether Arkansas actually follows through with doing the near-impossible this weekend, it won’t be for a lack of confidence that the impossible can be done.
In year two of Bret Bielema’s tenure in Fayetteville, Arkansas might not be one of the SEC’s best teams, but it’s not from a lack of believing. And with Alabama coming to town fresh off being made to look very mortal by Ole Miss, the Razorbacks will surely speak with a noticeably louder oink this week.Continue reading …
A quick glance at defensive statistics this season would seem to suggest that no, Ole Miss’ 2013 defensive improvement was not a mirage. The Rebels have put up impressive numbers through the first third of the 2014 season, and the confidence gained from their performance have given Ole Miss’ players a great deal of confidence heading into this game.
For Alabama, though, it’s just another verse to a familiar song, one sung by Ole Miss players and fans insistent that the current season will be different from those of the last 50 years. And while Ole Miss has a stout defense in 2014, to be sure, the Rebels’ offensive capabilities – particularly in the running game – simply haven’t been good enough to merit discussion of the Rebels-as-contenders subject.Continue reading …
As the final few plays in Florida’s overtime win over Kentucky went by the boards, there were two schools of thought concerning the Gators. The first was that Will Muschamp needed to visit the nearest Laser Copy and start getting resumes ready; the second was that this Gators team, despite its struggles against Kentucky, still has enough talent to win any game on its schedule.
And, now that Florida refused to fold against Kentucky, you can add the adjective “resilient” to the mix.Continue reading …
Just about the time West Virginia head coach Dana Holgersen was being anointed as the next big thing in college coaches, the 2013 season happened.
West Virginia went 4-8 in 2013, and the problems were evident right off the bat, as West Virginia struggled to beat William & Mary in the opener, 24-17, then had losses to Oklahoma and Maryland by a combined score of 53-7, sandwiching a win over FBS pretender Georgia State. The offense than Holgorsen took such great pride in having developed suddenly didn’t work.Continue reading …