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Jumbo Package: Saban concerned about “psychological letdown” vs Kentucky

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s Kentucky this week. Your previews:

Against the class of the SEC East, the Wildcats have struggled defending the pass, allowing almost 41 points on average in its three losses, all to teams that throw the ball well. Alabama’s air game is playing at a solid level thanks to Milroe’s building confidence and the competence of his skill targets in the deep field.

And in the meantime, Kentucky’s attempt to build momentum by running the ball will grow progressively more difficult as the Tide’s first-level tacklers give Davis less room to work with.

Alabama wins 34-20

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe is hitting his stride as the Crimson Tide enter the home stretch playing like College Football Playoff contenders. Kroger Field hasn’t provided an elite advantage for Kentucky as the Wildcats dropped key SEC East games against Missouri and Tennessee at home last month. Look for an increasingly confident Alabama squad to punch the gas in the second half and pull away from a Kentucky team that seems destined to struggle moving the ball against the Crimson Tide’s excellent run defense. Pick: Alabama -10.5

Alabama 34, Kentucky 13: This game might be on the road, but Alabama has a significant advantage over the Wildcats. So long as the Crimson Tide doesn’t get complacent and have a letdown, this game shouldn’t be that close.

It’s certainly possible that an early kick combined with an upset-minded Kentucky team and crowd could spell a slow start. But an Alabama team with everything to play for will rise to the occasion. With proper defensive execution, Kentucky should have difficulties running the ball, which will put the game in the hands of Leary, who has completed only 53.4 percent of his passes in SEC play. A physical and potentially close start eventually turns Alabama’s way for a convincing win. The Tide will clinch a share of the SEC West in Lexington.

Alabama 31, Kentucky 13

Alabama held Ole Miss and Texas A&M to under 75 rushing yards, and more to everyone else. But there’s one problem with that - the other side.

Kentucky is 6-0 when allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards, 0-3 when it doesn’t. Texas A&M held Bama to 23 yards, but got ripped apart by the Tide deep shots. No one else has been close to keeping down the Bama O.

Kentucky will play its game and keep Alabama from going off for a half, and then it’ll take one big play to open things up. The Tide D won’t be dominant, but it’ll force field goals instead of touchdowns.

Alabama 34, Kentucky 19

Predictions: TeamRankings has Alabama coming away with a 28-17 win, with picking a similar outcome, with a 31-18 victory for the Crimson Tide. A win over Alabama would be the best win of the Stoops era, but they just have those elite playmakers that Kentucky doesn’t have many of. For that reason, along with their stout defense, I predict Alabama to win 30-14.

That last one is from fellow SB Nation site A Sea Of Blue.

It’s always a bit unnerving when everyone is picking Alabama. Add in the fact that this is a road game with an 11am kick, and there is plenty of cause for concern. The last time Alabama played football for breakfast, the result was a 24-21 win over Arkansas at home. Kentucky is a better football team than Arkansas.

The good news is that Alabama’s offense put together its first complete game in weeks last Saturday. If they are able to build on that, this one could be a laugher. Both Georgia and Tennessee were able to snuff out the Kentucky run game, and Devin Leary isn’t scaring anyone through the air.

My confidence is growing in this Alabama squad, but there is still a feeling that two different Alabama teams could show up. I’m going to let hope carry the day and call it 37-16 Alabama.

Of course that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.


What will be the result of Alabama at Kentucky?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Kentucky fans are blue like the grass, Tide by 12+
    (448 votes)
  • 31%
    Alabama survives the breakfast slog, Tide by 1-11
    (214 votes)
  • 3%
    Kentucky pulls the upset (FLAGGED)
    (21 votes)
683 votes total Vote Now

Saban is doing his best to ensure that this game doesn’t become a trap.

“This is a good team,” Saban said during his Thursday night “Hey Coach” radio show. ”I know the pervasive attitude around here is just show up and win the game. It don’t happen that way, especially against these guys.”

“I think when you have two emotional games, back to back, it kind of sets up a little mental trap for you,” Saban said during his Thursday night “Hey Coach” radio show. “It’s pretty much human nature and it’s pretty pervasive that when you have things like that happen, that people have a little psychological letdown. It’s almost like watching a scary movie. You’re all excited, you’re all excited, and then at the end the bad guy gets killed, and everybody is kind of relieved, you know?

Nick seems pleased with Milroe’s growth.

“Well, I think that what we’re trying to do with Jalen, where he’s really improved is having a singular focus on the next play. And I consistently talk about, you know, focus on the next play. The next play might be the one that makes the difference in the game. So don’t worry what happened on the last play.”

While Milroe was known as a dangerous dual-threat QB, he actually hadn’t ran the ball well in the weeks prior to the LSU matchup. In those three previous games combined vs. Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M, including sack yardage, Milroe finished with -47 yards on the ground. Then, vs. LSU, he rebounded for 155 net rushing yards and four touchdowns en route to a win that just about locks up the SEC West.

Last, Nick told Pat McAfee that he had to get Miss Terry’s head right.

“I had to straighten her out this week with relief syndrome, too,” he explained. “I wake up on Sunday morning, and she looks up at me and says, ‘Man, it’s going to be hard playing at Auburn.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about? Are you kidding me? We play Kentucky this week. Then, we have Chattanooga the next week. We’ll worry about that when we get to that.

“I said, ‘What do you think about that? I said you have relief syndrome like everybody else. It’s pervasive. The fans have it. Everybody has it. We can’t have it. We got to get focused on what’s in front of us right now.”

He’s going to be in trouble for that interview.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.