Is Alabama flirting with disaster?
Jason McIntyre, a FOX Sports analyst and writer for USA Today’s “The Big Lead,” believes that Nick Saban is dealing with his worst team since 2010.
The Crimson Tide finished 10-3 that year and lost a trio of SEC games. This year’s team is 10-0, and barring some kind of disaster on Saturday against Mercer, it will be 11-0 headed into what undoubtedly will be a highly-anticipated Iron Bowl against Auburn, which should be seated comfortably in the Top 10, as well.
However, McIntyre is concerned for the Tide, particularly because of its “soft” schedule.
“The injuries are significant. The schedule so far has been very soft. Alabama isn’t nearly as strong at stopping the run this year. There are legitimate problems,” McIntyre wrote for “The Big Lead” on Sunday.
“I’d go so far as to call this Nick Saban’s worst team since 2010,” he continued. “The SEC was much stronger back then than it is now … Alabama’s run defense sticks out most as a trouble spot that will be exploited by Auburn and Georgia … and then perhaps Ohio State or Oklahoma in the playoff.”
Whether you agree with McIntyre or not, he’s certainly right about the injury part.
The Crimson Tide has been banged up this season, particularly at the linebacker position. Will that end up keeping Alabama out of contention for a national title?
“The Tide finished No. 1 nationally in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 against the run, each year allowing fewer than 76 yards per game,” McIntyre wrote. “This year they’re 2nd at 75 yards per game, but that was mostly rung up against inferior competition. They’ve gotten worse lately as the linebacker injuries mounted. LSU gashed them for 151. Mississippi State ran wild for 172, and became the first team to rush for three TDs in the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa.”