The Predictions Dept. scored its second consecutive undefeated week, with the pick in the LSU-Florida game being pushed back along with the game itself. This week’s primary attraction is Alabama-Tennessee, but Ole Miss and Arkansas will battle in an interesting SEC West tilt while Mississippi State faces BYU in one very weird interregional matchup.
Alabama opened as a four-touchdown favorite in this game, and with the kickoff at 11 a.m., Mississippi State is hamstrung even further as the road team. Still, Texas A&M was ranked No. 4 in the country, and the Bulldogs slayed them. Alabama can’t treat this game as part one of a two-part walkover leading up to its game against Auburn.
Alabama’s bid to win a second straight national championship fell short thanks to a combination of injuries, a lack of depth on its defensive line that finally came to a head and the struggles of a true freshman quarterback who seemed to run out of gas a bit down the season’s stretch.
Saturday’s A-Day spring contest, the 10th of Nick Saban’s Bama career, was as much a time for reflection as it was an opportunity to look forward to the 2016 season. Alabama didn’t pack out Bryant-Denny Stadium, but it did appear to reverse a trend of declining attendance, solidly packing the 60,000-seat lower bowl, most of the west upper decks, and scattering enough fans through the remaining three decks to lead the school to announce attendance at 76,212 – which may have been even a conservative estimate.
There is a lot of familiarity between these two teams, thanks mostly to Florida hiring former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain as head coach, who subsequently attracted former Bama staffers Doug Nussmeier, Geoff Collins and Chris Rumph. The end result is that Alabama will have a hard time surprising Florida, and with the Gators’ defense a tough customer, expect this one to be close at least until the final quarter. Alabama will need to force Florida to make mistakes in order to avoid a low-scoring stalemate.
If you were shocked by Lane Kiffin leaving Alabama for the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic – which if initial reports are accurate, may have actually resulted in a pay cut – don’t be.
This game is more about just a win or a loss. It’s about not putting oneself in a position to have to hope for miracles. It’s also about not losing three times in a row to a historical conference also-ran that only recently has achieved status as a contender – and, perhaps not coincidentally, is battling the NCAA over alleged recruiting violations.
By Jess Nicholas TideFans.com Editor-In-Chief March 5, 2016 Prior to the point at which Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams announced their intent to return to Alabama for...
The addition of Jamar King at the last moment brought Alabama up to a rating of “Excellent” in the “Needs Filled” category; otherwise, it would have been hard to rank the Crimson Tide No. 1 in the country overall over Florida State. Alabama, over the past few years, has finished with at least one position group’s worth of signees somewhere to be called best-in-class; in 2016, Alabama did it for at least one position group and maybe as many as three. Alabama got the nation’s best linebacker haul, picking up three 10.0-rated prospects on Signing Day: Ben Davis, Lyndell Wilson and Terrell Hall. But Alabama also was in the running for best OL class, headed by Jonah Williams
This week, several good games dot the schedule, including three matchups in which both SEC teams are ranked.