Who Can Roll the Tide?Posted: October 17, 2012
The undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide beat Missouri 42-10 Saturday in a romp that actually lowered Bama’s average margin of victory to 33.0 points. Coach Nick Saban holds his team to its own standard of excellence, not that of its opponent, which has created problems for opposing coaches looking for flaws to exploit. Says Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, “They are one of the best teams I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching. They’re a team that doesn’t really have any weaknesses” (page 26).
while it doesn’t look like they can be stopped en route to the national title, Andy Staples makes the case for three teams that could give the Tide a run for its money:
- Florida: If the Gators and Tide meet in the SEC championship game on Dec 1, Florida’s suffocating brand of defense and simple offensive scheme known as “God’s Play” could turn the game into a slugfest reminiscent of LSU’s 9-6 overtime win at Alabama last season.
- Notre Dame: Notre Dame’s defense has proved its toughness this season, having already forced more turnovers (15) than it did all last season (14), and Irish linebacker Manti Te’o and nosetackle Louis Nix might be the best-equipped tandem in the country to handle Alabama run-blockers Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack.
- Oregon: Known for their fast-paced offense, the Ducks can play defense too. They may be susceptible to allowing big plays, but they clamp down when it matters, having held opponents to just nine touchdowns on 26 red-zone attempts this season.
Staples also uses the “‘Bama Matrix” to evaluate other BCS Title contenders based on their remaining schedules and current poll positions: