Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE
Your daily dose of Crimson Tide and college football news.
"I think at this point in the season it’s kind of like the playoffs in a way," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "You’ve got a tough game the next week. You’ve got a good opponent the next week. You’ve got somebody in your division that’s a really good team."
When T.J. Yeldon scored on a 6-yard run early in Saturday's game, he kept alive a school-best scoring streak. Alabama has scored in 150 straight games, which is the longest in Tide history. The streak began after Auburn shut out Alabama 9-0 in then-Tide coach Mike DuBose's final game in Tuscaloosa. Alabama kept another streak alive when Dee Milliner blocked Mississippi State's 31-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. That was MSU's first series of the night, and the Crimson Tide hasn't allowed any points on the opponent's first possession all season. A third streak stayed active, too. Alabama has scored at least 20 points in every first half this season.
All credit goes to Alabama for this win, as they left no doubt Saturday tht they are the best team in college football. And credit certianly goes to A.J. McCarron as well, who should be, if not already, a candidate for this year's Heisman Trophy. McCarron still has yet to throw an interception, and leads one of the best offenses in the country. You won't see him get as much recognition as Collin Klein or Geno Smith (did, at one time), but he definitely deserves it, as he showed Saturday that he is one of the best quarterbacks in college football. As for the Alabama defense, well, what do you say about them? Mississippi State gave them our best shot, and in the end all we had to show for it was a late scrub touchdown. It all goes back to the opening definition of this post, these Alabama players are like robots. They just make plays, do things methodically and keep the giant machine that is Alabama football right on rolling, despite their opponents best efforts. And the way LSU has been playing this season on offense, I would not be surprised to see the Crimson Tide dominate the Tigers next weekend in Baton Rouge as well.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn’t address them by name following Alabama’s 38-7 thrashing of Mississippi State, but linebacker C.J. Mosley knew they were already on his teammates minds when the clock hit 0:00 Saturday. Everybody knew it was coming all year, but now it’s finally arrived: The No. 1 Crimson Tide will take its championship quest to Baton Rouge, La., this Saturday for a top-5 showdown with the No. 5 LSU Tigers. It’s a re-match of The Re-Match, where Alabama stomped LSU 21-0 in the BCS National Championship just two months after a 9-6 overtime loss to the Tigers in Tuscaloosa. "We don’t even have to talk about it," Mosley said. "You already know what is set for next week’s game based off last year and based off the national championship. We just have to treat every game like it’s another game. We just got to be ready for what they bring."
The most disappointing loss in BCS history went down last January in the Mercedes Benz Superdome as Alabama beat LSU 21-0. The game was not as close as the score. Alabama not only beat LSU in every phase of the game--they embarrassed the Tigers in front of their home crowd. Now for past 10 months Tigers fans have been waiting for a shot to get some type of redemption in facing the Crimson Tide. The stakes are clearly not as high but they could lead higher. Alabama comes into the game against LSU as the #1 team in the country with a perfect 8-0 record, including a 5-0 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Alabama has not allowed any of their last 22 opponents to get 300 yards of total offense.
Saban, the high priest of football focus, was only beginning to shift out of Mississippi State mode after the Crimson Tide's 38-7 win over the Bulldogs. He had not quite reached the gear where he was calling LSU by name. Saban isn't into silly euphemisms, so he will certainly call his former employer by name today. When speaking of bruised but unbroken quarterback AJ McCarron, he simply pronounced McCarron "ready for next week's game." The subliminal message is that even in this much-anticipated game, it isn't really about the opponent. It is, as more and more people are coming to recognize, about playing to the standard of perfection, never quite reachable but occasionally close for this UA team.
Alabama coach Nick Saban indicated that Sims, who has been the quarterback for six drives that ended with touchdowns, has proven to be more efficient at "taking the air out of the ball" when the Crimson Tide is trying to run out the clock. "Blake has improved a lot since we have put him in the role of being back-up quarterback; He really shares time with Phillip," Saban said. "There are a lot more things that he can do and he's capable of doing, it's just that when we're in those situations of the game, we are really trying to take the air out of the ball and it's really four-minute offense and he does a good job executing that. "The fact that he is a runner gives them something else to defend. He has made good progress and he continues to learn more about the offense and play with confidence."
Junior right guard Josh Williford is hopeful of returning to practice for the first time since he suffered a nasty concussion early in the second quarter of a 14-6 loss to Florida on Oct. 6. Should Williford return to action, the Tigers would get a 332-pound shot in the arm with depth up front. Williford could step back in as the starter at right guard and bump Trai Turner into a sixth-man role, or Williford could roam up and down the line and help keep starters fresh against what figures to the be the most physical test of the season.
Alabama's defense remains the best in the nation as it was last season, but the Crimson Tide has not played a schedule to this point as difficult as it had played last season entering the LSU game. Alabama is also without seven starters from its 2011 defense that shut out LSU in a 21-0 victory in the BCS national championship game. Five of those went in the first two rounds of April's NFL draft. The Tigers may be able to beat Alabama Saturday as it did last season -- with great defense, a decent running game and the avoidance of turnovers. LSU's defense is right there with Alabama in the national rankings. The Tigers' running game is third in the SEC to Alabama's first. The Tide's rush defense also did not look insurmountable in its 38-7 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
It’s pretty simple for Alabama: Win out, and the Crimson Tide will get a chance to play for their third national championship in the past four years. The latest BCS standings were released Sunday night, and Alabama maintained a comfortable lead in the No. 1 spot. The Crimson Tide routed previously unbeaten Mississippi State 38-7 on Saturday at home and will get their toughest road test of the season this coming weekend at LSU. Alabama is one of four unbeaten teams occupying the top four spots in this week’s BCS standings. Kansas State moved to No. 2, with Notre Dame checking in at No. 3 and Oregon at No. 4. The Crimson Tide don’t need to worry about what happens below them or who loses and who doesn’t. They just need to keep winning, because they’re not going to be passed in either of the two human polls if they’re sitting there at 13-0 following the SEC championship game.