Hugh Freeze has successfully been at the top and the bottom of the success curve in recent history.

Freeze has beaten Alabama two of the last three years, and this bowl season, he’s sitting on his couch watching the games just like everyone else, as his talented Rebels’ squad didn’t win enough games to go bowling.

Regardless, if there’s one coach in the country — let alone in the SEC — who knows how to beat Nick Saban and Alabama, it’s Freeze. (For arguments sake, Urban Meyer would also fall into this category, and Meyer may be looking at another duel with Saban depending on how the College Football Playoff plays out.) Freeze’s Rebels beat Alabama in 2014 and 2015, and his team blew a wild 24-3 lead this year against the Tide.

Freeze’s offense has proven teams can actually move the ball and score points on Alabama’s defense, especially this season, putting up a 43-spot on the scoreboard despite losing.


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Yahoo!’s Pat Forde recently interviewed Freeze on “How to beat Alabama,” and Freeze laid out three keys to beating college football’s juggernaut.

First, Freeze says, teams have to have ‘that guy’ at quarterback. Freeze did it with both Bo Wallace and Chad Kelly at quarterback.

“Even to have a chance, you have to have a good quarterback,” Freeze told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t believe you can beat them without that guy. If you don’t have that guy, you might oughta just not show up.”

Clemson and Ohio State would more so fall into this category with dual-threat quarterbacks, although Washington’s Jake Browning has looked very good at times.

Second, teams have to stay balanced, the coach says.

“If they ever get you one-dimensional, you’re in trouble,” Freeze said.

Alabama certainly suffocates teams that are one-dimensional, but that is also dictated by how well teams’ defenses play against Alabama and slowing down QB Jalen Hurts and the Tide’s offense. If the Crimson Tide jump out to a big lead, that’s what gets offenses off schedule and one-dimensional.

And third, Freeze says, teams have to make explosive plays.

“You will not beat them unless you find a way to make explosive plays,” Freeze said. “You’ve got to be willing to take some shots, even if some of them don’t work and you go three-and-out.”

Sustaining long drives against the Tide’s defense is going to happen throughout the game. Yes, teams may have long drives from time to time, but striking on big plays is a must.

While Freeze adds the professional coaching expertise, I’d like to add a couple more.

Teams have to hope Alabama’s offense starts slow — like it did against Florida — and has an off-day. If Alabama’s firing on all cylinders, no team is beating them. It’s a harsh reality.

Secondly, Alabama has to help beat itself. It doesn’t have to beat itself completely, but winning the turnover battle is basically a must to beat Nick Saban.

In Ole Miss’ 2014 23-17 victory, the Rebels were +1 in the turnover battle. In 2015’s 43-37 victory, the Rebels were an astounding +5 in the turnover battle, as Alabama turned it over five times compared to Ole Miss’ zero.

Yes, Alabama can be beaten, but all three of Washington, Clemson and Ohio State — even with how talented they are, have to hope Alabama doesn’t bring its A-game.

Be sure and check out Forde’s interview with Freeze about Alabama.