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Given that top-ranked Mississippi State was an underdog in Saturday’s game, it would be incorrect to call this Alabama win an upset.
It would, however, be appropriate for college football’s new Playoff Committee to finally acknowledge what the oddsmakers were trying to tell them beforehand: Alabama is probably the best, most complete team in college football right now.
Oregon will probably claim its high-flying offense makes it the most dangerous; Florida State can point to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and its undefeated record and claim it’s the best team in the land. But Alabama is beginning to win games with defense, sort of an anachronism in today’s college football world, and as de rigueur as high-powered offenses are at the moment, a strong defense beats a strong offense most of time, as much as that might chafe those in an around the sport that have become addicted to points.
Alabama is coming off its annual exposure to trench warfare, otherwise known as the LSU game, and the results were almost too terrible to imagine. Alabama needed a last-minute, game-tying drive and an overtime period to defeat the Bayou Bengals, and the Tide’s reward is a date with a Bulldog team that is more dynamic offensively, has better speed at the quarterback position and who spent last week toying with UT-Martin.
If this game was being played in Starkville, it would be even more of a circus than it figures to be in Tuscaloosa. But with Alabama’s home-field performances being so strong in 2014, the top concern might not be Mississippi State, but the annual post-LSU hangover from which the Crimson Tide always seems to suffer.Continue reading …
About a month ago, LSU was 4-2, coming off a 41-7 pasting at the hands of Auburn, and a lot of college football fans and pundits alike were writing the Bayou Bengals’ obituary.
But things change in an instant in this game. LSU’s alleged slide into mediocrity continued the following week with a 30-27 near-loss at Florida, a game many people believe the Gators would have won had Florida not suspended QB Treon Harris over off-the-field allegations that eventually proved false.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 …
The last time Alabama fans witnessed something so dumbfounding inside the confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium, Josh Reed was involved and Nick Saban was wearing LSU colors.
That day – Nov. 3, 2001 to be exact – saw Reed catch 19 passes for 293 yards, and LSU quarterback Rohan Davey throw for 528 yards on 35 completions. After a time, the game itself almost became secondary to the Davey-to-Reed show, with fans of both teams essentially waiting to see what would happen next.Continue reading …
The ever-lovable Joe Kines brought to Alabama a defensive strategy based around a concept of bending, but not breaking. And depending on the Alabama fan one interviews today, that description either encourages praise, or the gritting of teeth.
Kines’ strategy played out much differently than Nick Saban’s ever has, and had a different attitude. Kines believed in pushing plays toward the sidelines and using superior speed to make the play. Offenses, Kines reasoned, would eventually make a mistake and kill their own drives so long as Alabama didn’t give up a big play along the way. He was playing the percentages.Continue reading …
Prior to meeting West Virginia in the opener, Alabama didn’t know what it had at the quarterback position.
Now, Florida Atlantic doesn’t know what it has, either.
An injury has likely claimed starter Jaquez Johnson, but if Johnson doesn’t play Saturday, Florida Atlantic’s already-slim chances of winning this game go out the window. Johnson’s dual-threat makeup and leadership skills make him the only real threat the Owls have on offense. Without him, FAU is toast – and the Owls seem to realize this, as despite the fact Johnson has a shoulder injury and Florida Atlantic needs him healthy for its Conference USA schedule, he has been upgraded to “probable” for the Alabama game.
But even with Johnson available for much of the opener against Nebraska, Florida Atlantic was routed, 55-7, and showed a complete lack of competitiveness. Alabama, meanwhile, is coming off a solid win over West Virginia that was far from perfect, but held promise for the future provided Alabama makes improvements on defense.Continue reading …
Alabama is one of the most interesting teams in college football in 2014, if for no other reason that a team one play away from a possible shot at a national championship, returning a nucleus of top talent and poised for yet another title run, is actually a team in transition. A new offensive coordinator is in town, the quarterback position is completely up in the air and changes are expected on the defensive side of the ball to correct a downward trend, particularly in front seven performance.
Alabama is now the employer of one Lane Kiffin, former Tennessee head coach, NCAA scofflaw and general spoiled brat. At least that’s what he’s been in the eyes of Alabama fans until now. These days, he’s the hopeful savior of Alabama’s balanced, but ground-oriented offensive attack built around the idea that beating an opponent into a bloody coma is the pinnacle of college football strategy. But the ultimate determiner of style may be decided by which quarterback wins the starting job.Continue reading …
One of the side effects to consistently signing classes that are stocked top-to-bottom with talent is that it gets difficult to project who will end up playing and who will finish the season with “RS” posted next to his name.
While nothing is certain until fall camp is over, here’s a look at the incoming freshmen and transfer signees on the 2014 Alabama football team, and a quick assessment of which players are most likely to play or not play during the upcoming season.Continue reading …
For a fan base that was on the edge of its seats Saturday, watching with great interest the battle at quarterback, A-Day didn’t tell them much. Thanks to A-Day rules which completely remove QB scrambles from the list of possible outcomes – anything wearing a black jersey is considered “sacked” if they so happen to get breathed upon by a defensive lineman – Blake Sims might as well have been a boat anchor. A-Day ended up being a poor barometer of Sims’ skill set, and the quarterback competition is no clearer now than it was prior to the game.Continue reading …