Alabama Football: Taking stock of the Tide and the SEC

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football and four other teams are the SEC’s only undefeated teams. After week four of college football, the FBS has just 21 undefeated teams. After week five, the number will drop to 18 or less.

With a third of the regular season complete, let’s consider what lies ahead for the Alabama Crimson Tide and other potential championship contenders.

It is still a bit early to seriously debate national championship contenders. Alabama is one, but more than a few of the 21 unbeaten teams are not.

Nationally, many one-loss teams are still in championship hunts, though for more than a few, it is apparent more losses lie ahead. Put the Auburn Tigers at the top of that list, and surprisingly, add the Oklahoma Sooners. The Kansas Jayhawks are a fun story, and they could beat Auburn, but not many other SEC teams.

Arguments over the relative strengths of Power Five conferences are not material yet. What matters most to Alabama football fans is how the Crimson Tide will fare on the SEC road.

Last season, Alabama had serious trouble in three of its four SEC away games, including the loss to Texas A&M. The Tide’s week two performance in Austin, against a now, 2-2 Texas team continued the troubling trend.

Four of the Crimson Tide’s next six games are SEC road games. A broad stroke, but not an incorrect assessment is, even for the SEC’s best teams, winning on the road is hard.

A month ago, I continued my off-season enthusiasm for an undefeated Alabama football, regular season. My contention was based on ten reasons why the Crimson Tide will win. Four games into the season, Alabama has not looked unbeatable, but almost all of the ten reasons remain valid. Only one of the ten predicted Crimson Tide strengths; Alabama’s rushing attack causes much concern.

Alabama Football and Downfield Passing

That concern might disappear with continued success of the downfield passing evident against Vanderbilt. After Saturday night, Crimson Tide opponents have to consider dropping six or more defenders into coverage, leaving themselves vulnerable to the Tide running game.

Regularly connecting on 30-plus yard passing plays must be achieved for the Crimson Tide offense to be explosive. Alabama went from three on the season to five against Vandy. Bryce Young and Jermaine Burton had a 48-yard connection. A Young pass to Ja’Corey Brooks was good for 34 yards. Jahmyr Gibbs had a 26-yard reception and Treashon Holden had one for 24 yards. There could have been more, had Bryce Young not left the game after two second-half possessions.

The 2022 Alabama Crimson Tide’s resume is not overly impressive. That situation will change soon.

Note: Alabama vs. Vanderbilt game stats from

Alabama Offensive Report Card - Vandy Game. dark. Next

According to FanDuel, Alabama is an early 14.5-point favorite against an Arkansas team that will be primed to bounce back after an odd loss to Texas A&M. Nick Saban would correctly label that rat poison.