I read a post which pointed out that Bama was far more successful converting 3rd downs than Florida. Looking up the game boxscore, this seemed to be true, as Bama converted 11 of 15 while Florida converted only 4 of 11. Now I happen to believe that 3rd down conversion is important to deciding individual games, but somewhat random throughout the season, so this concerned me. Maybe the game was not so one sided as I had thought. Maybe Bama just happened to convert more 3rd downs, and otherwise was evenly matched against the Gators, leading to the seeming one sided result! So I looked deeper into the drive chart.
What I learned was that as far as 3rd down conversion was concerned, the great success Alabama enjoyed was more a product of their overall domination than the producer of it. That is, Bama had great success on 1st and 2nd down generally, which lead to short 3rd down conversion attempts, which lead to more being made successfully.
The average to go in Florida's 4 successful conversions: 3.5 yards. Bama's average in their 11 made: 3.2 yards. Florida's average to go in their 7 unseccessful conversions: 9.7 yards. Bama's average to go in their unsuccessful 4: 8.3 yards. Florida converted every 3rd down attempt of less than 7 yards, and converted one of 7 yards. Bama converted two 7 yard attempts, but failed in one 4 and one 5 yard attempt, and also converted none of over 7 yards.
Overall, Alabama's average yardage to go on 3rd down was only 4.5 yards, while Florida faced an average of 7.5 yards to go on 3rd. If Florida had been better on 1st and 2nd, they would have had much more success on 3rd, and Bama's overall success was not just the result of a few big plays on one side of the ball or another. The game inside the game clearly validates the overall result: Alabama was by far the better team on Saturday, and no flukes can explain their total domination of play.