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It’s no mystery why Alabama scheduled Charleston Southern here. The Buccaneers’ offense makes a good analog for the Auburn offense Alabama will see a week from now. The Bucs are a quality opponent without being a real threat. If Alabama does mope around too much in this game, it could be a repeat of 2011, when the Crimson Tide let then-FCS Georgia Southern hang around almost too long, in a game that could have cost Bama a repeat shot at LSU had voters been turned off by the Tide’s performance. Ultimately, the goal is to get to the Auburn game with no further injuries, and with a convincing win in Alabama’s back pocket.
A game like this was almost expected, the result of Alabama being faced, week after week, with a gauntlet of rested teams, thanks to the SEC office’s inability (or lack of desire) to address unfair scheduling practices.
And in this case, the Crimson Tide nearly paid the price for the circumstances outside its control.Continue reading …
Every season, one or two teams seem to rise above their typical watermarks and give Alabama a tougher game than it would otherwise appear on paper.
Alabama is hoping Ole Miss filled the role in Week 3, but in 2009, that team was Tennessee, then led by a young head coach named Lane Kiffin. It took two blocked field goals by DT Terrence Cody, the second coming as time ran out, for Alabama to hold onto the win and eventually play for a national championship.Continue reading …
If Alabama is going to make a run at a national championship, one of the things that must happen for the Crimson Tide has undeniably begun to happen the last two or three weeks: The defense is getting incrementally better every game.
Alabama traded the I-formation offenses of Georgia and Arkansas for Texas A&M’s high-flying spread attack Saturday, and held it to 16 points of production. The Aggie rushing attack – which wasn’t spectacular by any means coming in but was nonetheless respectable – was completely shut down. Alabama’s defensive line lived in the Aggie backfield, quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray were mercilessly harassed, and Alabama’s secondary put on a performance for the ages.Continue reading …
Over its first few seasons after joining the SEC, Texas A&M felt like a jigsaw puzzle missing a couple of pieces.
The Aggies found those missing pieces after they hired John Chavis, the former Tennessee and LSU defensive coordinator, to coach them at the same position. Chavis immediately brought a toughness to the job that the Aggies had been lacking. Although Texas A&M is far from a defensive powerhouse in 2015, the improvement is noticeable, and more is expected in the future.
Alabama enters this game coming off its second physical test in a row. Alabama has beaten Georgia and Arkansas in successive weeks, and now must face the high-powered spread attack brought by Texas A&M. With rival Tennessee coming to Tuscaloosa the week after this game, many Alabama fans are worried that this contest has all the makings of a textbook trap game and upset.Continue reading …
Alabama football games are rarely defined by one quarter, but the Crimson Tide’s 27-14 win over Arkansas was almost entirely about the fourth quarter plus 1:39 of the third.
And it never should have come to that.
The Crimson Tide spun wheels for most of Saturday’s game against Arkansas, victimized by spotty offensive line play, inconsistent quarterback play and playcalling that often veered into the realm of the obtuse. But the best defensive line in college football – perhaps the best defensive front seven – and a secondary that continues to improve every week kept Arkansas from really doing anything about it.Continue reading …
It is easy to dismiss Arkansas as “Georgia Lite” given the Razorbacks’ offensive tendencies, but Arkansas has frequently been a tough out for Alabama. So much so, in fact, that Alabama needs to avoid falling into the trap posed by this direct-from-central-casting “trap game.”
In 2014, Arkansas took Alabama to the wire before the Crimson Tide eventually won, 14-13. It was the game that the Alabama coaches used to eventually define the 2014 squad, and it also marked the last game QB Blake Sims really struggled to get through. In 2015, Alabama gets the Hogs a week after rolling around like a bunch of hogs in the Georgia mud. Fortunately for Alabama, the fourth quarter of its win over Georgia was little more than a mutual slap-fest, as prescribed by the stunningly poor weather conditions.Continue reading …
When you’re a Dawg, you spend a lot of time woofing. That’s what you do.
When you’re the Alabama Crimson Tide, playing in Athens, Ga., you take care of business and rip the heart of the Georgia fan base in the process. That’s what you do.Continue reading …
One of college football’s greatest attractions is that anything can (and does) happen each week to teams, good and bad. Unfortunately for Alabama, this includes a 66-yard Three Stooges act of a touchdown pass to Quincy Adeboyejo that the Tide will be seeing on a loop on ESPN SportsCenter for the next ten years. Those kinds of plays (think “Kick Six,” Johnny Manziel’s fumble TD pass, etc.) have certainly affected Alabama more than others in recent years, but they are only anomalies.Continue reading …
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 …