Following their defeat of the Texas A & M Aggies in College Station the Alabama Crimson Tide are again odds on favorites to finish number one in the country and represent the SEC in the BCS title game in Pasadena on January 6th. A title game appearance by the Tide would be their fourth in five years. Under Nick Saban they are a perfect 3-0 in title games. Alabama’s remaining schedule is conducive to a potential undefeated season, but is not without pitfalls. Here’s a look at the three remaining matchups that could blemish Alabama’s potentially undefeated season.
Saturday, November 9th versus LSU: The Tigers and Crimson Tide have formed a tremendous rivalry over the past five years with the annual matchup typically deciding the SEC West. Les Miles and his staff have their typical roster full of future athletic players, with the offense again being the big question mark. Since LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 two years ago the Tigers have struggled offensively versus Alabama, including a whitewashing in the 2011 title game. Zach Mettenberger has been efficient and protected the football this season and the Tigers have a stud running back in Jeremy Hill. LSU will be entering a tough environment in Tuscaloosa, but if Mettenberger can limit his turnovers the Tigers defense should make it a close game.
Saturday, November 30th at Auburn: The annual Iron Bowl should be a closer contest this season with Gus Malzahn in at head coach of the Tigers. Auburn has their usual talented roster but had perhaps the worst head coach in all of college football the past few years in Gene Chizik. Malzahn is an elite offensive mind and the Tigers offense should continue to improve all season. The big question is the defense, a unit that has struggled in early season non-conference play at times. After falling behind quickly in a tough environment at LSU the Tigers rebounded and made the game respectable, showing a grit they lacked last season.
SEC Championship Game: If the Tide can navigate the regular season undefeated they’ll face a tough opponent in the SEC championship game. The trio of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida all could stiff competition for Alabama, especially if Georgia wins the right to represent the SEC East in the title game in Atlanta. All three teams present unique challenges to the Crimson Tide. Under quarterback Andy Murray and running back Todd Gurley the Georgia Bulldogs have a high powered offense that put big numbers on the board versus Clemson and South Carolina and should be able to move the ball versus the Tide. The question mark for Georgia is their young defense, although they are a talented bunch that will have a full regular season behind them by the time they reach the SEC title game.
South Carolina is playing from behind after a loss to Georgia, but are a well coached and talented bunch that could very well run the rest of their schedule undefeated. They have a versatile dual threat quarterback in Connor Shaw and a game-breaking running back in Mike Davis. The defense is led by Jadeveon Clowney, the odds on number one overall pick in next spring’s NFL draft. If the Gamecocks can reach the SEC title game they may give the Crimson Tide their toughest opponent.
Due to their struggles at quarterback the Florida Gators may be a longshot to reach the SEC title game, but have a deep roster with an elite defense. If the offense can get sorted out in conference play the Gators have the depth of talent on defense to give the Bama offense fits. Unfortunately for the Gators their schedule is brutal with trips to LSU and South Carolina. They get the Georgia Bulldogs at home in their traditional rivalry game, aka “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”.
Alabama’s remaining schedule is highly favorable to an undefeated regular season and a return to the BCS Title game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. They’ll receive tough opposition from LSU on November 9th and in the SEC title game, but the odds are Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will be back in the BCS Title game on January 6th. By:Chris Michaels