3. Alabama isn’t dead: Take the emotions of the game out of it. Let’s think about this like the College Football Playoff selection committee might. Alabama lost to a team ranked in the top 15. It lost on the road. And it lost in the final few minutes. It lost a game in which its quarterback had a subpar performance; its most explosive weapon on offense, Kenyan Drake, was knocked out of the game in brutal fashion; and two starters, linebacker Denzel Devall and center Ryan Kelly, were sidelined with injuries. If there’s such a thing as a quality loss, this was it. It’s not quite Michigan State losing at Oregon, given that Sparty put itself out there scheduling that game, but it’s close. That’s little consolation to Alabama right now, but in a few months, it might mean something. The SEC West is a bear. Who really thinks a team is going to survive the division undefeated? If Alabama can get better play from its offensive line and secondary, what’s to say the Tide can’t get right back in it? A loss at Ole Miss isn’t going to be enough to keep them out.
Just 15 minutes removed from Alabama's third loss in its last seven games, Saban echoed what he said after the Crimson Tide's 2012 loss to Texas A&M. The loss certainly makes life difficult, but it doesn't kill the ultimate aspiration of this year's team.
"Every goal that we have as a team is still in front of us," Saban said. "We must improve and respond the right way to losing." Within the regular season, Alabama's been pretty good about bouncing back during the Saban era. The Crimson Tide hasn't lost consecutive regular season games since 2007 and has often provided little drama in the games directly following a loss. In 2011 and 2012, a regular-season loss served as the impetus for dominant stretch runs that ended with a national championship. The 2012 loss to Texas A&M, in particular, was referenced by multiple players as a much-needed kick in the pants that may have just saved the season.
"We can't let this loss define our team," tight end O.J. Howard said. "It's still a young season, we've got a long way to go. We've got to bounce back strong."
"I was in protection blocking and Blake pulled it down to run," Howard said. "I didn't know he was going to run it and I think the guy tried to get away from me and they said I held him a little too long. I think (Sims) was already past me when the call was made. They called holding on me so I guess I did it."
Saban said that flag -- Howard's second for holding Saturday -- changed everything about the way Alabama called the next play. Instead of first down inside the redzone, the Tide had the 2nd-and-13 from the Ole Miss 32.
Sims took the blame for what happened next. He said it was the wrong throw throwing into double coverage with the safety helping cover Howard in the end zone.
"Yeah, I saw him," Sims said. "I made the wrong decision and O.J. did the best he could do."
If that was really the best O.J. could do, then I would kindly invite every Bama fan ever to never talk about O.J. having a "coming out" party again. You don't get big-boy'd by a guy that's nearly half your size.
1. Alabama running back Kenyan Drake suffered a gruesome leg injury during the Crimson Tide's 23-17 loss at Ole Miss, but has received an enormous amount of support since. The injury will likely keep Drake away from the playing field this season, but it was really cool to see the Ole Miss fans cheering him on as he was carted off the field. He was incredibly emotional while leaving the field, but it was great to see the immediate support from the opposing fan base. Very classy.
4. Who still has redshirt eligibility after five games? Though there is always a chance for an exception, we're at the point of the season where it's OK to look ahead at who might be redshirting.
A simple breakdown of the true freshmen:
Who has already played: CB Tony Brown, LB Rashaan Evans, DT Josh Frazier, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, DE Da'Shawn Hand, DB Laurence "Hootie" Jones, OL Cam Robinson, P JK Scott, WR Cam Sims
Who hasn't played: OL Josh Casher, S Ronnie Clark, QB David Cornwell, DT Johnny Dwight, OL J.C. Hassenauer, LB Keith Holcombe, CB Marlon Humphrey, WR Derek Kief, LB Christian Miller, OL Ross Pierschbacher, DT O.J. Smith
Alabama's streak as a betting favorite extended to 60 when it opened as an 8-point favorite over Arkansas, but another streak came to an end.
The Crimson Tide hadn't been a single-digit favorite in consecutive games since the end of 2010, when it was a 4.5-point favorite against Auburn and a 7.5-point favorite against Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.