Happy Monday, everyone. It was a really good weekend for Alabama football, clinching the SEC West and all. Still, it has come to our attention that we here at RBR don't do enough to encourage readers to expand their cultural horizons. Therefore, please take a moment to enjoy a smidge of tragic opera, courtesy of AL.com:
Somebody get that man an ice bath.
Competition aside, that was an amazing team performance. Jalen certainly had himself a day:
There were some indications before Alabama’s game with Mississippi State that if things went well, coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin wanted to work on the passing game. Mission accomplished. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts became the first Alabama quarterback in history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game as the Crimson Tide rolled 51-3.
Hurts’ 447 total yards was the third highest single-game total in school history, trailing only Blake Sims (484 vs. Florida in 2014) and Scott Hunter (457 vs. Auburn in 1969). His five total touchdowns were a career high, and his four passing touchdowns were one short of an Alabama record set by Gary Hollingsworth at Ole Miss in 1969. Here is a look at what went right for the for Hurts in his historic game Saturday:
Most importantly, he completed passes over the middle of the field, from the pocket. With defenses concerned about stopping the interior run game and the horizontal passing game, the two stress points caused by RPOs, those intermediate yards between the hashes are there for the taking. If those routes click the way they did on Saturday, this team won't be challenged on the way to 15-0.
Oh, ArDarius had a great day as well, and celebrated in the absolute best way imaginable:
That's just beautiful.
Dating back to the last touchdown A&M scored, the Tide has defended 159 plays and surrendered only 451 yards — an average of 2.8 yards per snap. During that span, Alabama has also shut teams down on third down, allowing a conversion rate of 30 percent. "I feel like we're a lot more dominant now," said linebacker Rashaan Evans. "But there are little things we still have to work on...Overall, I think we're doing pretty good." That's an understatement.
An understatement indeed. To put this in perspective, the most anemic FBS offense belongs to Texas State, who has produced 3.8 yards per play on the season. Over the past ten quarters Alabama has held three SEC opponents, who have averaged 6.1, 6.5, and 5.3 YPP respectively, to a number that is about 30% worse than the worst offense in the country.
For a while, we thought Alabama was head and shoulders above the rest of the Southeastern Conference teams. But now it appears the Crimson Tide also are head and shoulders above the rest of college football. They’ve not come close to suffering a surprising upset (except for falling behind by three TDs against Ole Miss). The team that played them best — LSU — never scored a single point. Alabama will be heavily favored in every single one of its remaining games — even now-three-loss Auburn seems to be far less challenging than we thought — including, theoretically, the national semifinal and championship games.
Alabama is understandably getting all the respect after the chaos that ensued Saturday evening. Funny enough, it appears that Ohio State actually controls its own destiny for a playoff spot despite the fact that it does not control its own destiny for a division title:
If two-loss Wisconsin or two-loss Penn State wins the Big Ten, what do you do with one-loss Ohio State, which presumably will be ranked ahead of both teams yet lost to the Nittany Lions? Does the Big Ten get two teams in the playoff, or only one? And if so, which one? Ohio State would have wins over Oklahoma, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Badgers could actually win the Big Ten despite going 0-2 against Ohio State and Michigan. And, oh by the way, don't forget Michigan, which could still win the Big Ten and make the CFP if it beats Ohio State and wins the conference championship game. That would give the Wolverines wins over Colorado, Ohio State and Wisconsin (twice). But is Michigan really going to win at Ohio State if it can't win at Iowa? Stay tuned.
I agree with this assessment, and look for Ohio State to be in the playoff along with Alabama and Clemson, who both will likely win out. That leaves one spot for a myriad of contenders, who are presumably competing for the #4 spot and a date with Alabama. Vegas predictably likes the Tide no matter who they see:
According to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Alabama would be favored by more than a touchdown on a neutral field against every other FBS team pic.twitter.com/p4jH5ePXbw— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 11, 2016
These are good times, folks.
If you didn't see it, LSU runnung back Derrius Guice still had his mind on Alabama after beating Arkansas:
"Alabama always stacks 10 people in the box to stop us. They're scared as well," Guice said after the win over Arkansas, per The Advocate. "It's always good to do our bread and butter and run down teams' throats and be physical. The (offensive line is) tired of hearing that they're poo and that they can't block, and we're also tired of hearing that we can't run (after) Alabama and that we can't run after we play them."
Ryan Anderson's response:
Ryan is a funny dude who is quickly becoming Jonathan Allen's top competition for most quotable Alabama player. #AlabamaDoes
Looking forward to the Iron Bowl:
These are two teams powered by defense. The Tide is No. 1 against the rush (68.8 yards per game) preparing to face the nation's No. 7 running offense (282.5 yards per game) in Auburn. In terms of scoring defense, both are in the top 10 with Alabama No. 2 (12.2 points a game) followed by No. 8 Auburn (17.9). Neither has been consistent passing with the Tide 62nd and the Tigers 105th nationally.
If they couldn't handle Smart and company, who hadn't won an SEC home game all season until Saturday, what chance do they have against Smart's mentor Nick Saban and his machine? Shudder at the thought. There aren't enough prayers in Auburn's prayer circle to prevent the Armageddon that awaits.
"Armageddon," eh? I like the sound of that just fine. Oh, and 105th in the nation sounds pretty consistent to me.
Lastly, an interesting tidbit about Coach Avery Johnson's stellar recruiting class:
Avery Johnson said that Nick Saban met with four of the five basketball players Alabama signed in its Top 5 recruiting class.— Rainer Sabin (@RainerSabin) November 11, 2016
That just ain't fair, y'all.
That's about it for today. Have a great week.