Future Foe Scenarios: The Crimson Tide Schedule After Week Two

Now that we have some (admittedly limited) game data to work from, we'll get back to giving an overview of the entirety of the schedule every Monday. Let's get started:

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WEEK ONE

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Virginia Tech - 1-1 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - #13 * Coaches - #14

 

Schedule:

09/05 vs Alabama (Georgia Dome) L 24-34
09/12 vs Marshall W 52-10
09/19 vs Nebraska
09/26 vs Miami (FL)
10/03 at Duke
10/10 vs Boston College
10/17 at Georgia Tech
10/29 vs North Carolina
11/05 at East Carolina
11/14 at Maryland
11/21 vs NC State
11/28 at Virginia

 

Best Win So Far:

Marshall, though how much a win over Marshall is worth these days is debatable.  The Hokies rolled up over 600 yards of offense on the Thundering Herd (444 of them on the ground) and 52 points after managing only 155 yards against our beloved Tide, and held Marshall to only 252 yards of offense after surrendering close to 500 to Alabama.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

With only two games to choose from, I think you know the answer here.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

At this point in the season, we're still counting this one as a quality win on spec.  VPI is still a ranked BCS opponent that is ostensible favorite to win the ACC, so it's still a feather worth having in our caps.  Add to that the cache of piling up 498 yards of offense against a team with a perpetual top ten defense and it still definitely makes us look good.

***

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Florida International - 0-1 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/12 at Alabama L 40-14
09/19 at Rutgers
09/26 vs Toledo
10/03 at Louisiana-Monroe
10/10 at Western Kentucky
10/17 vs Troy
10/24 at Arkansas State
10/31 vs Louisiana-LaFayette
11/07 at Middle Tennessee State
11/14 vs North Texas
11/21 at Florida
12/05 vs Florida Atlantic

 

Best Win So Far:

Sadly, not applicable at this point.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

I don't know that I would call their performance against Alabama a "worst" or an even bad one.  They clearly took advantage of the first week bye by coming out and throwing stuff at our defense that we weren't expecting and used T.Y. Hilton to great effect in both the return game and the passing attack.  Further, the experience of an offensive line that returned all five starters showed early on.  This is a team that should do reasonably well this season

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Not a whole heck of a lot at this point.  For Tide fans it's probably comforting that we were able to survive an uncomfortable first half to completely dominate the second, all without star receiver/security blanket Julio Jones and starting RBs Mark Ingram and Roy Upchurch on the field.

***

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North Texas - 1-1 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/03 at Ball State W 20-10
09/12 vs Ohio L 30-31
09/19 at Alabama
09/26 vs Middle Tennessee State
10/10 at Lousiana-LaFayette
10/17 vs Florida Atlantic
10/24 at Troy
10/31 vs Western Kentucky
11/07 vs Louisiana-Monroe
11/14 at FIU
11/21 vs Army
11/28 at Arkansas State

 

Best Win So Far:

Their 20-10 win over Ball State was a big win for a struggling Mean Green program.  Though most everyone from last year's surprise 12 win Ball State team is gone from head coach on down, it was still a great way for the team to start the season.  Cam Montgomery rushed for 149 yards and the Mean Green rolled up 500 yards of offense. QB Riley Dodge had a more than respectable 23-33 for 216 yards and 1 TD, while the defense held the Cardinals to 309 yards of offense.  All in all it was a decisive win, one that the Mean Green needed.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Sadly, their 30-31 double OT loss at home to Ohio is bad for two reasons.

1. North Texas had to rally to force overtime after a 69 yard pick six gave Ohio the lead late in the fourth, and then gave up the deciding 2-point conversion after a roughing the passer call gave the Bobcats the ball on the 2 yard line.

2. The pick six that doomed them came from backup QB Nathan Tune who was forced into duty after starter Riley Dodge left the game with a shoulder injury that could force him to sit out this week as well.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

I know we're not supposed to take opponents for granted, but without Dodge under center this team doesn't stand much of a chance.  A win here does nothing but put the Tide at 3-0.

***

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Arkansas - 1-0 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR* BlogPoll -NR

Schedule:

09/03 vs Missouri State
W 48-10
09/19 vs Georgia
09/26 at Alabama
10/03 vs Texas A&M (Arlington, TX)
10/10 vs Auburn
10/17 at Florida
10/24 at Ole Miss
10/31 vs Eastern Michigan
11/07 vs South Carolina
11/14 vs Troy
11/21 vs Mississippi State
11/28 at LSU

 

Best Win So Far:

With only one to choose from, the win over 1AA Missouri State will have to do.  The Razorbacks piled up 591 yards of total offense, while Ryan Mallett threw for 309 yards and a TD in his SEC debut.  Of those 591 yards, only 144 yards came on the ground with no single rusher topping 100 yards (true freshman Ronnie Wingo led with 50 yards on 8 carries, while do it all Michael Smith averaged an impressive 10.8 ypc on only 4 rushing attempts).

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

The Hogs were only three of ten on third downs against a 1AA defense and were penalized 8 times for 60 yards, so there are some chinks in the armor.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

As the first conference game, a win here is an absolute must for the Tide to keep a trip back to Atlanta in the works.  Arkansas has been a thorn in our side ever since they joined the conference, though two straight wins have given us a little bit of breathing room as far as keeping a winning record goes.  Though last year's match ended up being a total second half rout, the first half was much closer than was comfortable.  Their offense moved the ball pretty well on us and it took a goal line stand going into the half to really set the Tide up for the second half beat down.  With Ole Miss and LSU still looming in the west, getting by the Hogs with a W puts the Tide at least that much closer than the other two to securing the division.

***

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Kentucky - 1-0 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/05 vs Miami (OH) (Cincinnati)
W 42-0
09/19 vs Louisville
09/26 vs Florida
10/03 vs Alabama
10/10 at South Carolina
10/17 at Auburn
10/24 vs Louisiana-Monroe
10/31 vs Mississippi State
11/07 vs Eastern Kentucky
11/14 at Vanderbilt
11/21 at Georgia
11/28 vs Tennessee

 

Best Win So Far:

The surprising blow out over Miami (OH) gave notice that the UK offense isn't a liability this year.  Mike Hartline threw for 222 yards and 2 TDs, while Randall Cobb finished the day with 3 TDs (one on the ground).  With 488 yards of offense, they outgained the Red Hawks by 300 yards, and the defense sacked and picked off Miami (OH) QB Raudabaugh two times each and held them to 3.4 yards per play. 

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Sadly, not applicable at this point.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Last year's game in Tuscaloosa was a little close for comfort; though the Tide managed to move the ball at will while turnovers and missed field goals kept the Wildcats in it until the very end when a busted coverage gave them another spark of hope to pull the upset.  Thankfully we recovered the onside kick and put it away, but it just goes to show how there is a thin margin for error in games like these if your players aren't executing like they should and can.  With the UK offense showing some serious signs of life, we'll have to play some solid defense and continue to pile up big numbers on offense to get past this one.

***

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Ole Miss - 1-0 (0-0)

Ranking: AP - #5 * Coaches - #6

Schedule:

09/06 at Memphis W 45-14
09/19 vs Southeastern Louisiana
09/24 at South Carolina
10/03 at Vanderbilt
10/10 vs Alabama
10/17 vs UAB
10/24 vs Arkansas
10/31 at Auburn
11/07 vs Northern Arizona
11/14 vs Tennessee
11/21 vs LSU
11/28 at Mississippi State

 

Best Win So Far:

Another team with only one to choose from (seriously, what is the deal with all these early byes this year?), the 45-14 rout of Memphis is the only option.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Even though the scoreboard indicates differently, this wasn't the statistical rout that you might think.  Jeavan Snead threw two picks, they only outgained the Tigers by 65 yards (349 to 284), and were only 5-12 on third downs.  Not exactly the start to the season this dark horse outfit was looking for.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Even with the struggles against Memphis, Ole Miss still showed a lot of promies in the game.  After a disastrous start, the Rebels were able to pull away late and move the ball far more effectively in the second half.  Looking at their schedule, it would be no surprise to see them still undefeated and ranked in the top ten (just behind our own beloved Tide) by the time we reach Oxford, so it will be a hugely hyped game.

***

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South Carolina - 1-1 (0-1)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/03 at NC State W 7-3
09/12 at Georgia L 37-41
09/19 vs Florida Atlantic
09/24 vs Ole Miss
10/03 vs South Carolina State
10/10 vs Kentucky
10/17 at Alabama
10/24 vs Vanderbilt
10/31 at Tennessee
11/07 at Arkansas
11/14 vs Florida
11/28 vs Clemson

 

Best Win So Far:

The 7-3 snoozefest that kicked off the season is the only option.  They actually did reasonably well in that game, holding the Wolfpack to only 133 total yards, though the SC offense was pretty anemic, averaging only 2.6 ypc on the ground after a supposed recommitment to the run.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Considering the 'Cocks outperformed Georgia on the stat sheet in every way save 3rd down conversions and were this close to starting 2-0, their worst performance was the win over NC State.  They piled up 427 yards of offense against UGA and were only a blocked PAT away from needing a FG to go to OT instead of a 4th down TD pass to win.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

This one is really going to depend on how well they play the next few weeks.  it is a winnable conference game, so that makes it a de facto must win, but depending on how they handle Ole Miss and UK will say a lot about what the game means for Alabama as far as "prestige" goes.

***

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Tennessee - 1-1 (0-0)

Schedule:

09/05 vs Western Kentucky W 63-7
09/12 vs UCLA L 15-19
09/19 at Florida
09/26 vs Ohio
10/03 vs Auburn
10/10 vs Georgia
10/24 at Alabama
10/31 vs South Carolina
11/07 vs Memphis
11/14 at Ole miss
11/21 vs Vanderbilt
11/28 at Kentucky

 

Best Win So Far:

The drubbing of Western Kentucky had a lot of people thinking Lane Kiffin was going to do something special at UT right away after the Vols piled up 657 yards of offense and held the Hilltoppers to only 83.  The previously maligned Jonathan Crompton hit 21-28 for 233 yards and 5 TDs (plus 2 INTs) and both Montario Hardesty and Bryce Brown topped 100 yards rushing.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

You know how everyone thought the WKU win was a turning point and an indication of things to come?  Yeah.  UCLA came to Knoxville and held the previously potent Vol offense to only 208 total yards (despite gaining only 186 themselves) and forced Crompton into a horrific 13 of 26 for 93 yards and 3 INTs.  Neither Hardesty or Brown topped 100 yards or 3.4 ypc.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Its the Third Saturday in October, and a win here means much more than just another step towards Atlanta. With UT looking more like the first year Kiffin team we all expected on Saturday, this should be an imminently winnable game to put the streak at three.

***

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LSU - 2-0 (1-0)

Ranking: AP - #9 * Coaches - #7

Schedule:

09/05 at Washington W 31-23
09/12 vs Vanderbilt W 23-9
09/19 vs Louisiana-LaFayette
09/26 at Mississippi State
10/03 at Georgia
10/10 vs Florida
10/24 vs Auburn
10/31 vs Tulane
11/07 at Alabama
11/14 vs Louisiana Tech
11/21 at Ole Miss
11/28 vs Arkansas

 

Best Win So Far:

I'll have to go with the Vandy win here since a lot of fluky stuff went on at Washington.  LSU held the 'Dores to 210 yards total offense and only 4 of 15 on 3rd down, while gaining 326 yards themselves and making 9 of 17 3rd downs.  Jordan Jefferson wasn't spectacular, but he was 20 for 29 for 138 yards without a TD (but more importanly without an INT).  The LSU defense held new Commie starter Ryan Smith to 11 of 24 for 88 yards and an INT.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

The win at Washington was a fluky win that saw the LSU defense give up 478 yards of total offense and outgained some 150 yards and 8 first downs.  LSU won the turnover margin and kept the Huskies from capatilizing on strong drives, but it was still a feeble effort from what should have been an improved defense.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Depending on how the Ole Miss and Arkansas games go for us and the UGA and UF games go for them, this is the last hurdle before Atlanta for the Tide.  A win here either punches our ticket or spoils theirs.

***

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Mississippi State - 1-1 (0-1)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/05 vs Jackson State W 45-7
09/12 at Auburn L 24-49
09/19 at Vanderbilt
09/26 vs LSU
10/03 vs Georgia Tech
10/10 vs Houston
10/17 at Middle Tennessee State
10/24 vs Florida
10/31 at Kentucky
11/14 vs Alabama
11/21 at Arkansas
11/28 vs Ole Miss

 

Best Win So Far:

The Jackson State win is the sole option right now, but the previously anemic State offense managed 410 yards of total offense and Chris Reif emerged over Tyson Lee with a three TD performance.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Any hope that the Jackson State performance was indicative of a new kind of State offensive prowess was shot on Saturday after Auburn held them to 297 yards, 5 of 14 on third downs, and picked off Reif twice.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

Looking at the schedule it's hard to think that Mississippi State will be a bowl team this year, so this is a late season trap game at most.

***

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Auburn - 2-0 (1-0)

Ranking: AP - NR * Coaches - NR

Schedule:

09/05 vs Louisiana Tech W 37-13
09/12 vs Mississippi State W 49-24
09/19 vs West Virginia
09/26 vs Ball State
10/03 at Tennessee
10/10 at Arkansas
10/17 vs Kentucky
10/24 at LSU
10/31 vs Ole Miss
11/07 vs Furman
11/14 at Georgia
11/27 vs Alabama

 

Best Win So Far:

Hard to choose here, honestly, since the Tigers looked solid on both sides of the ball against both brands of Bulldog.  The Mississippi State win will likely be the better one in the long run since it is a conference game and the defense contributed to the scoring as well.

Worst Loss/Performance So Far:

Not applicable at this point, unless you want to consider some early struggles in both games.

What Does a Win Here Mean for Alabama?

That all is just and right with the world.

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