Alabama Football: During Ole Miss week Tide prepares to be better self

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Forget the season record, the game odds and even the opponent. Alabama football prepares for games by seeking improvement in itself.

No offense to Ole Miss but this week is more about Alabama football making itself better rather than beating an opponent. Ole Miss is not a terrible football team. It just is not a very good one.

Alabama football being a five-plus touchdown favorite is also not significant. Nick Saban rarely scores more than is necessary. Tua Tagovailoa would have more staggeringly impressive numbers if he played as much as most college football starters.

Never is covering a spread the goal for Alabama football. The goal under Nick Saban is always getting better – every practice rep, every play of every game.  Zealously executed, winning is a byproduct of the plan.

Games like this coming Saturday can be personally troublesome for college football’s greatest coach. For decades – really back to childhood – life for Nick Saban has been about a pursuit of perfection.  Always sought … despite being always unattainable.

As a coach, Nick Saban also understands trying and failing is a building block to later achievement. So Saturday and most of October Nick Saban will continue to push forward young players knowing they will make many mistakes. The mistakes will not be condoned and certainly not ignored. They will be trials by fire and teaching tools.

What will happen is a young and relatively inexperienced Crimson Tide will get better. Individual players will improve their skills. Team units will develop more depth.

By the open week in November, a two-deep roster will be solidified. It will be populated with about 50 of the Tide’s best. With one respite against Western Carolina, the refined roster will be challenged to prove its championship credentials. It is far too early to know if that roster will be up to a six game (not counting the FCS game) run at a national championship.

Until the LSU game, Alabama football can only lose by beating itself. Ole Miss is not good enough to beat the Tide. Neither are the Vols or the Razorbacks. Theoretically, given enough Tide self-inflicted wounds and some adverse luck, the Aggies could engineer an upset.

Still, the biggest drama over the next five weeks is how much closer the Crimson Tide can come to performing to its own standard.

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Going into the season, a weaker than usual Alabama football schedule was a concern. Given how strong the back end is looking, it now looks like a blessing.