Surprise, surprise. Texas A&M looked like another pre-season SEC contender that would just shrivel away with the likes of LSU and Auburn, but here we are. In the two weeks after an embarrassing loss to Alabama football, the Aggies have upset the Gators and shut down the toothless Mississippi State Bulldogs. I thought the Aggies were the biggest contender to Alabama football in the West, but after they were thoroughly dismantled by the Tide I quickly considered them just more fodder. They are probably the biggest contenders to Alabama football in the West although it will take two losses by Alabama to get them to the SEC title game since Alabama owns the tie-breaker.
They will likely be favored in every game left on their schedule and could easily go 9-1. That would be an excellent season for Jimbo Fisher and would likely land them a very good bowl game. I would predict a bowl game, but I’m as clueless as everyone as to how the bowl season will be played this year. First, they get a BYE week this coming week before the Hogs come to town on Halloween. This might end up being a closer game than most people think and a Razorback upset wouldn’t surprise me. Especially given how mediocre the A&M offense has been thus far. In a season filled with exciting teams and final scores resembling basketball games, Texas A&M has to be the most ho-hum under the radar 3-1 team in college football.
They had their chances. The Bulldogs led Alabama football 24-20 going into halftime and were receiving the kick to start the second half. The opportunity was there to take a two-possession lead over No. 2 Alabama, but the opportunity was squandered and UGA was held scoreless in the second half on the back of two crucial INTs and a missed FG.
Kirby Smart is going to end up petitioning the SEC to make a rule that when the Bulldogs play Alabama, the game ends at halftime. In the past three Georgia-Alabama games, Georgia has outscored Alabama football 58-34 in the first halves of those games. However, in the second half and OT of those three games, the Dawgs were outscored 68-17.
Kirby just cannot get the Saban monkey off his back. In the past, it has been a combination of poor second-half play-calling and not remaining aggressive with the lead. This year it was just poor execution and mistakes by a young QB. They get a much-needed BYE and then travel to Lexington to face the stifling defense of the Kentucky Wildcats. The next week will be the rivalry game with Florida and may very well decide the SEC East champion.
Make no mistake, the Kentucky game is by no means a gimme win for the Bulldogs. It will be an old school SEC defensive struggle. That type of game is no fun to play before going to play the most important game of the year against your rival the next week. This is all to say, hold on to your hats folks the SEC East race is just heating up.
Shhhh…. Do you hear that? If you stop and listen real close, you can hear Mac Jones throwing another 50+ yard TD pass to one of Alabama’s monsters at WR. The Alabama football offense is officially unstoppable. I’m completely serious when I say this, Mac Jones is better in this offense than Tua Tagovailoa. Don’t misread. I don’t think Mac is a better QB, but he is playing better in this offense than Tua did. Don’t believe me? How about this stat? Last week Mac Jones became the first Alabama football QB to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games. This week he extended the streak and became the first Alabama football QB to throw for 400+ yards in three straight games. And he did it against one of the best defenses in the nation.
Don’t forget about Najee Harris who broke the century mark, averaging over five yards-per-carry, and added another TD to his already SEC-leading rush TD total making it 11 on the year. Don’t forget about Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith who both had over 160 receiving yards. Oh, and also don’t forget about the third WR for Alabama football this year John Metchie who added another 40+ yard TD catch to his resume. This offense is incredible. My fellow Bama Hammer contributor, Lauri Springer, said it best after the game when she brought up the possibility of Alabama football having more than one representative at the Heisman ceremony this year.
It isn’t too crazy of an idea. The only question is which ones would it be? Mac Jones is probably a lock if he keeps playing like this. Najee would be the natural second choice and would be a good one as he leads the nation in Rush TDs and is top-10 in yards-per-carry and rush yards per game. Waddle is also a good choice as he currently sits at 4th in the country in Rec. Yards per game, T-6th in Rec. TDs, and is 3rd in the nation in yards-per-reception (John Metchie is No. 1 by the way). *All player stats and rankings came from Fox Sports*
The point is this, who is going to beat Alabama? Alabama visits Knoxville next week, but the UT offense has been sputtering as of late. Mississippi State is next and nobody is expecting much from them. As crazy as it may sound, the toughest game left on the Alabama football schedule might be Kentucky or Arkansas. Would you have believed that if I told you four weeks ago?
Alabama effectively holds a two-game lead over the SEC West by virtue of holding the tie-breaker with Texas A&M. So the defense of Alabama could theoretically cost them a game and they could still make it to Atlanta for the SEC title game. There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and Alabama football in the College Football Playoff. They should get back there in 2020.
As a side note that will be of particular interest to Alabama football fans, Will Reichard is currently perfect on FG and PAT attempts this season. Yes, you read that right. Alabama football has not missed a single PAT or FG this season. (You can blame me if he misses one this week) That includes drilling a 52 yarder right before halftime in the Georgia game. It was the first made 50+ yard FG by an Alabama kicker since Adam Griffith in 2015. Not since Leigh Tiffin in the early days of Saban’s tenure has Alabama had a decently reliable kicker that can consistently hit from 50+. They have one now in Reichard.
Strap in Alabama football fans this season is just getting started. Here’s hoping that Alabama football remains on a collision course with Clemson. It is time to settle some old scores and break this 2-2 series tie in the Playoffs. We will have to wait and see what adding the BIG-10 and PAC-12 do for the Playoffs when the BIG-10 kicks off this week. It will still be a couple of more weeks before the PAC-12 kicks off. Teams to watch for in the BIG-10 are Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Teams to watch for in the PAC-12 are Oregon, Arizona St., and USC.