When it comes to Alabama Football, Nick Saban is rarely wrong. After last night’s game, he was relieved more than alarmed. He put a positive spin on a performance by the Alabama Crimson Tide that was not championship-worthy. Perhaps he was not alarmed because he had been correct to expect LSU to play its best game. That and because none of the Crimson Tide’s weaknesses is any surprise to Nick Saban.
One word that sums up the 2021 college football season is struggle. It has applied to many teams during the season. On Saturday, Ohio State, Cincinnati struggled to wins. Michigan State, Wake Forest and Baylor lost. Alabama Football did worse than struggle against LSU. The Tide survived by knocking down a last-second Hail Mary from a now five-loss team.
Ed Orgeron was almost celebratory in defeat, claiming LSU was the better team. As usual, Orgeron was wrong but take nothing away from the LSU players who fought throughout and came close to a stunning upset.
What did the game tell us about the Crimson Tide? Frankly, it revealed nothing that was not already known. The Crimson Tide has serious weaknesses and is not close to matching last season’s National Championship quality.
Last week, Nick Saba talked about the Crimson Tide’s capability gap.
I don’t think it’s something that you can just say, the gap is [large] for the whole team. It’s like this [fluctuating] because of inconsistencies. … We need to fix those inconsistencies if we want to be the kind of team that we want to be.
Week 11 in a season is late for fixing inconsistencies. That does not mean, it is too late. Over the next three to four weeks the Crimson Tide can improve. Though it is hard to imagine the team needed another wake-up call, it got a loud one Saturday night.
Does Alabama Football have championship talent?
What is nagging the minds of Alabama football fans is whether the team has the player resources needed to be a real contender. The loss of offensive talent from last season has not been and will not be magically solved.
Pete Golding and Bill O’Brien are regularly blamed for the Tide’s weaknesses. To the extent either has failed, last night was not one of those failures for Golding.
The Alabama Football defense decided the outcome of the game. On LSU’s final three drives of the game, the Tide defense produced four third-down stops and two fourth-down stops. Nick Saban paid them tribute.
There was no way we were gonna let them score at the end.
The other side of last night’s story is an offense that had to be saved by Bryce Young. Young not only passed for over 300 yards, take away the sacks and he was the Tide’s leading rusher. Even with Young’s gritty play, In the Tide’s final five possessions of the game, it went three-and-out four times. The Alabama offense did not perform like a unit that could score much on Georgia, and could possibly struggle running on Auburn.
That’s where the Tide is going into week 11. Alabama Football must improve for a chance to reach its goals of another championship season.