Alabama's toughest test ... coming in 2 weeks, 3 weeks, January

It's appearing more and more likely that this year's Iron Bowl will once again be a pivotal game for determining the National playoff picture as well as well as who will win the SEC -West.   As an Alabama fan today's games, both Auburn/Georgia and Alabama/Mississippi State caused me great concern and I hope that  it will do the same for the Alabama players and team.  Just like Miami, Auburn looks legit and hitting on all cylinders   Alabama on the other hand appears as a team that is just making it by on the least of margins and that this years defense is but a fledgling compared to either the 2011, 2015 or 2016 teams.  

Every Alabama fan, or any college football fan, knows that a day of reckoning is coming and that no team can continue to reside atop the mountain as Alabama has pretty much done since 2009.  Alabama has had what most likely will be recorded as the most impressive run of great teams even surpassing those of Bear Bryant, dare that be said.  Saban, and Alabama, set the standard and is the bar for College football teams and of late the National Championship trophy has passed through the State of Alabama.  

As  of today Auburn looks as the most impressive team on the College Football landscape the way they dismantled a Kirby Smart Georgia Team that some had called Alabama light.  IF Alabama can somehow make it past  Auburn and Georgia then two more games await them most likely against either an ever impressive Oklahoma team led by who most certainly will be this years Heisman award winner or either Miami or Clemson again depending on whoever prevails in the ACC championship game.  

What I'm trying to say is Alabama will most assuredly earn the National Championship title if they indeed prevail in their next 5 games but also they stand the greatest chances of being defeated in their following 4 games past next week.  Thy say games that are in doubt until the last minute make for the best games, the most exciting games.  After this weekend I don't know that I care to have any more excitement.  Mississippi State certainly outplayed Alabama in every aspect of the game up and until the last portion of the 4th quarter, when it counted. I hope that Alabama will be more capable of playing against Auburn because in Auburn I see a team on fire that has a natural hatred for Alabama and always rises to their best playing potential for the Iron Bowl add to that, if there needed to be anything else added, that it's an Auburn Home Game.  

Be as the Bereans ( Acts 17:11 )
Original Post

I will agree with you about Mississippi State not outplaying Bama in the 4th and crucial quarter of the game but I do believe they outplayed Alabama for the first 3 quarters based on the Offensive and Defensive line play.  Given the things Alabama had to overcome they earned the win and credit for it but I am very concerned that if they play the same as they did against State when they go to Auburn and if Auburn continues to improve or maintain playing at the level they played Georgia it might be a problem.  

At this point I still think Alabama will find a way to beat Auburn and even Georgia in the SEC Championship but before Saturday's game it was Mississippi State that I was most worried about.  That was, though, before I saw Auburn dismantle Georgia's team.  At least the two best SEC teams and potentially the two best National teams come from the State of Alabama.  

 

gbrk posted:

I will agree with you about Mississippi State not outplaying Bama in the 4th and crucial quarter of the game but I do believe they outplayed Alabama for the first 3 quarters based on the Offensive and Defensive line play.  Given the things Alabama had to overcome they earned the win and credit for it but I am very concerned that if they play the same as they did against State when they go to Auburn and if Auburn continues to improve or maintain playing at the level they played Georgia it might be a problem.  

At this point I still think Alabama will find a way to beat Auburn and even Georgia in the SEC Championship but before Saturday's game it was Mississippi State that I was most worried about.  That was, though, before I saw Auburn dismantle Georgia's team.  At least the two best SEC teams and potentially the two best National teams come from the State of Alabama.  

 

If Bama can't "get healthy" and work out some kinks, there's a very good chance Auburn or Georgia could clean their clocks. Georgia was just weirdly "off" Saturday. 

I don't know if you can say Alabama got their clocks cleaned, as Georgia did against Auburn but you can say that Auburn deserved the win and did outplay Alabama to give them their first defeat.  Alabama's defense was not up to what it was a year or even several years ago and it just caught up with them.  Auburn's Defense also had a good scheme against Alabama and played well enough in man to man that they were able to stop the run and not give Hurt's an open target to go to  as often as he was used to.

Now I hope Auburn gets another win against Georgia and can sweep through the National Championship and win a National Championship trophy.  If one Alabama team can't do it then I hope the other one can.  Either way I hope that the trophy will once again reside in Alabama.  It may be though that Clemson  will repeat their win so time, once again, will tell but I did hate to see Auburn lose their prize running back in the game and hope he will be ready to play again next week.  Also it will be interesting as to whether or not Arkansas will be able to lure Gus into leaving Auburn and heading over to be the Hog's next coach.

The game I saw was an Alabama team that looked disheveled and ill prepared for the tenacity and optimism that Auburn showed.  Auburn appeared to have a plan and stuck to it and just outplayed Alabama which was noticeably weaker due to season injuries to major players.  As for the offense many blame Daboll but I think the blame goes more to Auburn's stellar defense which was able to control Alabama's running game including stopping Jalen Hurts ability to choose to run and hurt the defense.

Alabama had a flicker of greatness in the opening of the 2nd half but Auburn quickly adjusted and stole the momentum back from Alabama.  As an Alabama fan I'm hoping that Auburn beats Georgia again and that Ohio State beats Wisconsin.  If that happens and/or Oklahoma somehow is defeated then there is room for Alabama to potentially slip back into the National Championship picture but given that they will not be a conference champion it will be a very tough hill to climb but one made easier by the committee's inclusion of Ohio State into last years championship.  The real question will be, if the above happens, or if Ohio State was to defeat Wisconsin would a 2 (ugly) loss Ohio State team be picked over a one loss Alabama team.  Alabama's case would be strengthened if Auburn throttles Georgia a second time.  

So as I see it, or my opinion, Alabama fans should be rooting for Auburn in this weeks SEC Championship game against Georgia otherwise I don't see anyway that Alabama could get in as a second SEC team and it's likely that the committee would still leave them out in favor of a conference champion in either the Big 10 or Pac 12.  If Alabama doesn't make the National Championship 4 then I expect we might see an invitation to play Miami in one of the major bowl games. 

I hope Bama makes the playoffs, however if we don't no crying. Everyone knows lose early not late. Auburn did a great job on time management. When they got Bama backing up, they went quick. Then at times they slowed to give their defense rest time while wearing down Bama defense.   Big difference in this year from last is Bama defense scored almost every game last year. This year with injuries they are just trying to get off the field.

1130 posted:

I hope Bama makes the playoffs, however if we don't no crying. Everyone knows lose early not late. Auburn did a great job on time management. When they got Bama backing up, they went quick. Then at times they slowed to give their defense rest time while wearing down Bama defense.   Big difference in this year from last is Bama defense scored almost every game last year. This year with injuries they are just trying to get off the field.

I don't know who Auburn played Sat., but it sure wasn't the Alabama Crimson Tide.

No one knows what will happen but some interesting scenarios could be set up.  Say Auburn beats Georgia (again) and that for sure would put them in the 4 team playoff.  If then Ohio State was to beat Wisconsin, something very likely, then you would have Alabama setting at 5th place in the committee's rankings as of this week and the question would be would Alabama be strong enough to win out over a two loss Ohio State team given that Ohio State would have won the Big 10 divisional championship and Alabama wouldn't have even played for it's divisional championship.

Clemson and Oklahoma are most likely locks for the top 4 if they win their next games and Auburn or Georgia should be a lock if they win the SEC championship but I believe for Alabama to have a ghost of a chance to be chosen as one of the top four Auburn has to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship and Wisconsin has to lose to Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship.  Then it all is a question as to whether or not Bama would get the nod over a two (ugly, big) loss Ohio State team.  Also if Oklahoma was to lose it might could also open a chance for Alabama to squeak in.  

Either way there is a chance that Alabama and Auburn could meet once again this season.  If Clemson goes down to Miami and Auburn wins over Georgia then a #1 Auburn could possibly face a #4 Alabama.  If Auburn was to stay #2 and Clemson #1 then the possible matchup would be a #1 Clemson in a rematch with a #4 Alabama.  Then again as beaten up as Alabama ahs been and being defeated like they were against Auburn it's going to be a long shot for Alabama to recover enough to  stand a chance against a team like Clemson or Auburn  again.  

And what's going on with Tennessee?  No bowl game possible after quite likely one of the most dismal seasons ever and now the Athletic Director's first choice for a replacement head coach is  as much as drummed out, by the fans and students, before he ever had a chance.  Jon Gruden has been sold so soundly that anyone else other than him is going to be a major disappointment for many fans and students.  Not only did Tennessee wait a while to get into the game for looking for a head coach but they allowed Florida to get Dan Mullen first and Kelly, who most likely never was a possibility, at Tennessee, goes to UCLA.  Irony of all Irony there was many students seen carrying signs to bring back Lane Kiffen.

I think that Auburn, from the home field, over the last few weeks could have defeated any team that played them but I think one major reason that they fell to Georgia, yesterday, was that they were still reeling from playing Alabama.  Alabama has a way of (even in a loss) taking a toll on another team to the point that they just don't play the same afterwards.  Auburn beat Alabama and was the better team on that one day on that one field but overall I believe Alabama to be the better team.  

Now comes the committee's decision whether or not to allow Alabama into the National Championship picture without them winning their divisional Championship.  The Committee though did set the precedent last year by picking Ohio State over Penn State so if they do exactly like last year then Alabama should be the 4th ranked team in the Nation and Ohio State, a very ticked off, 5th ranked and outside the championship four.  Alabama should have that honor as for most of the year they were ranked/picked as the number 1 team whereas Ohio State never held that honor and Ohio State was also ran out of the stadium by an unranked nobody team that defeated them by 31 points.  

Regardless who the committee chooses to be the 4th place team there will be some hostile, angry, fans that will disagree with the decision.  

I agree with Auburn "reeling from Bama"   best time to play a team is the week following them playing Bama.   Bama knocked FSU from the top ten, seems most teams lose the week after they play Bama.  Bama tends to be the most physical team.  They not only bruise you, often they knock players out of games. Georgia didn't face the same running back because of Bama.   So Bama owns a bit of Georgia's win. Only way  to settle is to have a play in, however then there would be more arguments of who.  

Well the verdict is now in and I believe the committee got it right by putting Alabama above Ohio State in the National Championship picture.  All thought the season Alabama has hovered in the Number 1 spot based upon their play though the year and Ohio State never had that claim nor close to it.  I also believe that the huge blowout loss to a 7 win 5 loss unranked team cost Ohio State a chance.  

Additionally, although it should have had no bearing at all, I wonder if last years blowout loss to Clemson in one of the semi final games after the committee put Ohio State in the mix was in their minds?  Last year the committee put Ohio State in the playoff over a Division winning Penn State so the precedent was set and this year Ohio State lost out to the very same circumstances that put them in the playoffs' last year.  

I'm just glad that Alabama will have time now for the defense and some of the players to get stronger and healthier.  Consider this though.  Alabama will enter the Clemson game having heard how the committee should have picked Ohio State and how Ohio State should be there instead of them so they will be angry and motivated to show that they do actually belong.  Conversely Ohio State's team will be playing with an edge and angry that they didn't get picked so they will be playing to show that they should have been included so I pity the team that they will face in their bowl game.

interesting  I never heard anyone bring up Georgia's weak schedule.  Plus Georgia might thank Bama. Auburn played a physical Bama while Georgia had an inconsistent Kentucky before their game.   most teams thru the season lost the game they played following playing Bama.   With it all said someone is going to be left out.  What will be remembered is Clemson won on an illegal play.  

1130 posted:

interesting  I never heard anyone bring up Georgia's weak schedule.  Plus Georgia might thank Bama. Auburn played a physical Bama while Georgia had an inconsistent Kentucky before their game.   most teams thru the season lost the game they played following playing Bama.   With it all said someone is going to be left out.  What will be remembered is Clemson won on an illegal play.  

I've heard about that play and in fact heard another team was penalized for the exact same play during the championships this last weekend.  I can't remember the specifics of the play but do know it was the one that Alabama was defeated on, by Clemson.  I don't know that I blame Clemson as they did have Alabama's stellar defense sucking air.  Who, or what, I blame is the referees who should have recognized the play and called it when it happened.  It can be said that that one play was the one that beat Alabama but actually it's any and all of the scoring plays that Clemson made on that day or any and all the plays that Alabama didn't make.

I think both teams respect each other and that Alabama's 2017 defense is not near the quality and strength that their 2015 and 2016 defenses were but then Alabama's current Offense is stronger and better than the prior years offenses but I do think that Lane Kiffen gave Alabama an edge that Daboll has  yet to prove he can match or equal.  I'm just glad that the team will have almost a month to heal and address some of their injuries and I also have no doubt that throughout that time they will be hammered with innuendos and speculation about how it should have been Ohio State in there and how they (Alabama) was not the better team or qualified to be in the final four mix.  That I believe will work to Alabama's favor, and I hope it will.  I hope that our defense will be playing lights out and with an edge, just like I hope the offense does.

Last I hope that both Jalen Hurt's and Daboll will be extremely motivated to play, and call, a much better game than we saw Alabama give Auburn, in the Iron Bowl.  I, personally, think it was one of Jalen Hurt's worst games since being named the Alabama starter and one in which Kevin Steele seemed to have Daboll's number and game plan.   I have no doubt that Brent Venables will also be scheming Daboll out and waiting with equal tenacity as well as Clemson's D-Line's anticipation of Jalen Hurt's running ability.  As far as Jalen Hurt's is concerned he's had, and replayed,  that lost game to Clemson over and over this last year so it's been the one thing on his mind the whole off season as well as throughout this season as he attempted to play toward a rematch with Clemson.

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