Category Archives: Alabama Crimson Tide

Perfection denied! National Championship recap.

Alabama loses!

Alabama loses!

I was beginning to think I would never have to use that caption. Only now, at the end, do I have to.

After an undefeated regular season in which only Ole Miss even came close to beating us, our road to a perfect season stops just short of the ultimate goal. Clemson wins the rematch. 2009 remains Alabama’s only undefeated season since 1992.

Props to Clemson! We are humbled. Not as much as Colin Cowherd for believing for one second that the Tigers were a “fraud,” though. Dabo Swinney definitely knows what he’s doing, despite what some have thought. And Deshaun Watson is bound to be a big star in the NFL.

perfectiondenied1

Or not.

Like last time, it was a damn good game! I thought it was over after Bo Scarbrough ran it in to put us up 14-0, but Clemson kept coming and coming! We got a couple turnovers and could have put the game away with them, but instead cashed only a field goal in. Our offense then proceeded to show the same bad blocking seen against Washington, LSU, Auburn, and Chattanooga. Result? A bunch of three-and-outs and our defense got gassed. This set up a 21-7 outscoring job that had Clemson lead for the first time, fall back behind, pull back ahead, and finally psych us out with an onside kick to win the game. The last part had me thinking about how we’d surprised them with an onside kick a year ago, but I don’t think it made the difference this time.

The better team won. That’s all there is to it. Conventional wisdom says that you need a little luck to beat Alabama. I beg to differ. They lost a fumble in their own territory and foolishly went for it on fourth down early against the best defense in college football. Gotta be honest with you, we didn’t get the same ferocious Tigers that Ohio State got. Yet here we are.

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Suddenly, Urban Meyer isn’t being laughed at as hard as he before.

The way to beat Bama? Score on our defense. We’ve lost just one time since 2011 without giving up at least 29 points. Simply put, this team struggles when it gets to be a shootout. Why? Our offense is not even in the same universe as our defense.

This was on display last night. Not only was the offensive line pushed around, Jalen Hurts was overthrowing and missing open receivers throughout the game. He looked like a freshman when we could least afford him to. Watson, meanwhile, was Watson.

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Not that the offensive line was much help. Ooh!

This also concerns me about next year. Hurts seemed to transcend his freshman status in his earlier games only to regress as the season went on. I hope we plays well again next fall, because with some losses on defense to the NFL right around the corner, we need good offense. ROLL TIDE!!!

It’s on again! National Championship preview.

Vs.
clemson

I’ve been had. Like many others, including Las Vegas, I believed the hype of the Big Ten. Then Bowl season came. Nebraska got pummeled by a Tennessee team whose previous game had been an 11-point loss to the not exactly great Vanderbilt. Iowa was blown out by Florida. Penn State and Michigan both lost their Bowls as well. And then there was Ohio State. Sure, their win over Michigan was controversial, but that didn’t mean that they weren’t still the team that beat Alabama in a recent Sugar Bowl, right?

itsonagain1

Never mind.

Anyway, it’s Alabama and Clemson for the top prize in college football. Again. The SEC had a down year, thank god we were the exception. The ACC does seem to be on something of an upswing, so it most likely means nothing that Clemson lost a regular season game this time around.

We have two fantastic teams, great on offense and defense. And two great coaches in Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban. Deshaun Watson remains a fantastic running quarterback. And with the accuracy of his passes, he shouldn’t have much trouble shifting into a more pocket passing style in the NFL (where both the rules and rough nature of the game favor pocket passers). Jalen Hurts does make freshman mistakes, but we have a hell of a defense!

That defense has only twice allowed more than 16 points. But we’ve mostly been playing mediocre teams. Clemson is not mediocre. Again, Watson is great! This will probably be the toughest test to date for our “D.” Also, we won’t have Eddie Jackson this time.

Oct 8, 2016; Fayetteville, AR, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (29) intercepts the ball intended for Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Jared Cornelius (1) during the fourth quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Luckily, Mankah FitzPatrick can collect late Christmas presents as well.

Not to mention that offensively, we haven’t been doing so well as of late. Washington held us to 24 and was pressuring Hurts even more than that suggests. Not to mention that we weren’t scoring that much on Auburn until they got tired from being on the field all game and could only score 31 on Chattanooga (by college standards, that’s not all that many).

However, Watson has been throwing a lot of interceptions this season. We need to capitalize on these chances he seems likely to give us. Even without Jackson, this is a very opportunistic defense.

itsonagain3

If you think interceptions make you sad, just think: the Browns need a quarterback and have the #1 draft pick.

My guess is we win in a lower scoring game than last time, but still pretty close. ROLL TIDE!!!

Unmovable object bests irresistible force. Alabama-Washington recap.

Alabama wins!

Alabama wins!

When this season began, I didn’t expect to never have to use the “Alabama loses” caption, but here we are. Now it’s looking like a perfect season could be real.

After all, is there no one who can score on this Tide defense? Well, this afternoon’s game made a rock-solid case that there isn’t anyone. Put into perspective, there’s not a single defense in the NFL that hasn’t been burned at least once, but this one hasn’t.

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Bama fans reaction to Minkah Fitzpatrick returning to the field after injury: phew!

The Washington Huskies have a truly great offense, but we didn’t see that today. No, Washington’s offense failed to put much on the board. Their offensive line was pwned, receivers were well-covered, the run was stuffed, and they didn’t take care of the ball. Put simply, our defense is out of this world, even better than last year!

Offense didn’t play so well, Bo Scarbrough’s 68-yard touchdown not withstanding. We only scored 24 points (not all that much for college), and seven of them were on defense. Embarrassingly, we were frequently starting in enemy territory. Penalties and an offensive line meltdown of our own hurt us.

Sure wish "offensive MVP" was saying more today...

Sure wish “offensive MVP” was saying more today…

There’s no “next week…” part this time, because I don’t know who we face. All I know is that we’re National Championship favorites. That’s enough.

So much for Alabama being elevated by a weak SEC, eh? I’ll admit, I bought into it. I thought maybe we weren’t as good as our undefeated record. Never mind.

Maybe the SEC is in decline. But assuming the others don’t get it together, what that really means is that it’s our conference. ROLL TIDE!!!

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One of these has the might of a dozen men! The other is a bull.

This could be a rabid pack of huskies. College football playoff preview.

AlabamaVs.washingtonhuskies

The playoffs are here. While other teams are going for Bowls four teams are in the running for the ultimate trophy in college football! My Alabama Crimson Tide is one of them.

Our playoff game is against the Washington Huskies. They have unexpectedly emerged as contenders, having lost just one game and consistently dominated in their other games.

rabidhuskies1

Fear the finger!

How have they done so well? First of all, their offense has been unnatural. Jake Browning has been a fantastic quarterback! He has thrown for 3280 yards, 42 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman have been just as lethal on the ground. The result is that they average more than 40 points a game.

Defense is almost as good. Sacks and interceptions every time you turn around!

Despite all this, Vegas still has us as overwhelming favorites. I’m guessing it’s because they’ve been playing in a weak Pac-12. As a result, their schedule has been easy. But they have been destroying teams. It would be one thing if they were letting those guys hang around, but they’re not.

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Instead, they serve as hangmen.

Besides, although you wouldn’t know it from how the Bowl games shook out, it’s not like the SEC was so great this year. The East is a mess in which two of their top three teams lost to Vandy and the other lost the SEC Championship by 38. Similarly, Though nowhere near as disappointing as the East, there’s not one team in the West that never lost at least one game that they shouldn’t have.

The point is, part of the reason we’re undefeated is because although no one wants to admit it, the SEC as a whole isn’t very good right now. Perhaps Florida and Auburn will restore the SEC to prominence next year with an offseason to get healthy. That is presumably the reason that 4-loss Auburn made the Sugar Bowl.

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Myles Gaskin had best be ready for this.

I do think our defense will bring Browning and Gaskin back to Earth. We should win this game, but probably not in a blowout like some seem to think. ROLL TIDE!!!

Not much to say but “on to the playoffs.” SEC Championship recap.

Alabama wins!

Alabama wins!

Well, the Tide won the SEC for the third straight time. We go on to the College Football Playoffs.

notmuchsay1

Was there any doubt?

There’s really not much to say about this game. Well, maybe a little. We actually fell behind in the first quarter. As it has many times, our offense started out slow. Among other things, we had a botched snap that forced a three-and-out and couldn’t get a touchdown out of intercepting an Austin Appleby pass deep into enemy territory. But once our defense started getting help it was over.

The final score was 54-16. Yikes! That’s more one-sided than Chattanooga did a couple of weeks ago. That says everything!

"I am Saban, destroyer of worlds!"

“I am Saban, destroyer of worlds!”

Basically, the Florida Gators, along with SEC East as a whole, are shells of their former selves. This wasn’t a true test. It was a beatdown of an underwhelming, banged-up team who won their division by default because nobody in there was very good.

We’ll have to wait and see if the East improves next year. As for as the Gators specifically, they have to fix their offensive line and especially address the elephant in the room: quarterback.

By the way, enough Tebow jokes on social media. You do know that he was actually good in college, right?

By the way, enough Tebow jokes on social media. You do know that he was actually good in college, right?

As for us, it goes without saying that we’re in the playoffs. I don’t know how the rest of the picture shakes out, except to say that we haven’t necessarily been tested that much. Yes, we are loaded with talent, but part of the reason we never lost — and this is something nobody wants to admit about our conference — the rest of the SEC had a down year. No other SEC team had less than three regular season losses.

What that means is that you shouldn’t be surprised if we still don’t win the National Championship. Would I bet against that. Oh Hell no, I think we’ve by far the best chance. No doubt. But it’s not the slam-dunk many would assume.

Whatever happens, this has been a magical season. ROLL TIDE!!!

A mere formality… or is it? SEC Championship preview.

AlabamaVs.
floridagators

Let’s get something straight. I’ll never root against my team. I’ll always root for Alabama to win the National Championship. But I totally understand why so many who aren’t even fans of rivals hate seeing us do it. We’ve seen it happen so many times before. Again, it’s not a problem for me. I see Alabama on the field every week anyway. I just understand why almost nobody who is neither a Bammer or hater of our opponents wants to see us win. It’s precisely why when it comes to hockey, I was glad to see the Blackhawks and Kings (the two mini-dynasties) of the NHL. I wanted new blood in the conference/Stanley Cup Finals. So I’ve been there.

People like newborn champions.

People like newborn champions.

But do you think I want my Alabama Crimson Tide to go undefeated in the regular season and then get eliminated from playoff contention, *snaps fingers* just like that? F*ck no! I’ve heard the arguments that we won’t be left out even if we lose this game. I disagree. The case for a non-SEC Championship Alabama in the playoffs is based on current perception without considering that after losing the title to the leaders of the worst SEC East since 2010*. Lose the SEC to that kind of team and the consensus will be that we choked, Jalen Hurts proved that he’s not the real deal, Nick Saban’s not the coach he used to be, etc. And that will influence the committee in ways that are not favorable to the Crimson Tide.

That said, almost everybody agrees that this going to be yet another pummeling of an SEC East team. Vegas has us as 24-point favorites. How often do I agree with the consensus?

Hopefully not this often. Don't wanna be a zombie.

Hopefully not this often. Don’t wanna be a zombie.

Would you call me crazy if I suggested that maybe the Florida Gators have a chance? Almost everything we’ve seen says that we should massacre them. We are undefeated in possibly the toughest division in college football. Florida is a 3-loss team in a woefully under-performing division. their offensive line is awful. Quarterback Austin Appleby isn’t very good, to put it mildly. To be fair, he’s the backup behind the injured Luke Del Rio (who’s not good either). Their run game is a little worse than their passing attack.

But they do have a pretty good defense. As a result, they managed to upset LSU in Baton Rouge. Their offense didn’t play so well, only scoring 16 points. But their defense allowed even less. Bear in mind that LSU was tied with us until well into the fourth quarter.

When football met soccer.

When football met soccer.

So the Gators have a chance. I’d say a 3.76% chance. If they can stop us from moving the ball too much, they might be able to win in a low-scoring bout resembling their game against LSU.

But yeah, we win 96.24% of the time. ROLL TIDE!!!

The road to 12-0 has ended without a hitch! Iron Bowl recap.

Alabama wins!

Alabama wins!

The tradition of losing to Auburn every three years has ended! We win the Iron Bowl 30-12! Thus, Alabama’s regular season ends without a single defeat. Not that beating Auburn isn’t great no matter what!

Now that we've beaten Auburn three times in a row, can we hear less talk about the kick 6?

Now that we’ve beaten Auburn three times in a row, can we please hear less talk about the kick 6?

But this game brings into question whether the “defense wins championships” narrative is to be questioned. Because both defenses played well in the first half. We killed Auburn in the second half, yes, but this was largely because their offense hadn’t been able to get much going for their third straight game. As a result, their defense got tired, while our offense performed competently all game, particularly the quarterback/wide receiver duo of Jalen Hurts and ArDarius Stewart. Offense or lack thereof has meant that Auburn is not quite there yet (which does not break my heart). Their “O” needs help all around while their “D” is pretty much ready.

You can also look at Auburn's mix of offense and defense like this.

You can look at Auburn’s mix of offense and defense like this.

While Alabama and Auburn’s defenses are closely matched with us having a slight edge, We’re the National Championship contenders of the SEC West because we have a solid offense as well. Simply put, I dispute that defense alone wins championships. And it’s not just this game. The Cleveland Cavaliers won a NBA Championship despite having statistically less than elite defensive play, though offense was a whole ‘nother story. Similar NFL tales can be found in the 2009 Saints, 2012 Ravens, and 2014 Patriots. Some argue that “they made stops when it mattered,” but would they have mattered without excellent offense? Furthermore, the aforementioned 2012 Ravens allowed 30+ points in half their postseason games. The line must drawn way before that point.

Elite or not, Flacco clearly wasn't carried by his defense. Sorry, Steelers and Browns fans.

Elite or not, Joe Flacco clearly wasn’t carried by his defense. Sorry, Steelers and Browns fans.

OK, rant over. I shouldn’t allow anything to get in the way of my joy. An absolutely perfect season is in reach. From what I saw earlier today, Ohio State is entirely beatable by this Alabama team.

But we can’t look ahead. No matter how they fare against Florida State, the Florida Gators will meet us in Atlanta. If we don’t win, there will be some question about the playoffs because the committee favors conference winners.

For now, I rejoice a 12-0 regular season as the great achievement that it is. ROLL TIDE!!!

Next week…2016sec