Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama rose a bit in the coaches’ poll after the narrow win over Arkansas.
Each team is assigned a numerical value attached to its ranking and both the Longhorns and Tide earned 1,078 votes. The electorate includes coaches around the country, including Nick Saban and Auburn’s Hugh Freeze. At least one voter placed Alabama as high as third.
In the Associated Press Top 25 poll, Alabama remained at 11. It was jumped by North Carolina, who beat then-No. 25 Miami in a 41-31 shootout.
Week 7 featured a handful of other ranked teams losing while the Crimson Tide won its fifth straight game. Alabama (6-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) outlasted Arkansas for a 24-21 victory.
For a half the Tide looked pretty dominant. Turns out that football games have two halves.
It’s ill-timed penalties. It’s a blown coverage in the fourth quarter that led to Arkansas pulling within three points.
It’s Terrion Arnold not completing a tackle on Jefferson in the backfield that would have moved the scoring drive back a few plays earlier. Offensively, it’s Seth McLaughlin and Milroe having a bad snap, and Alabama once again incurring a pre-snap penalty.
Even when Alabama was kneeling the game away, it was a false start penalty that stopped the clock.
Alabama was clearly the better team across the board on Saturday. However, the Tide didn’t play like it for much of the second half.
Saban directly addressed his outburst after the game to reporters. “I’ll tell you like I told the team,” he said. “It’s great to win, it’s great to be where we are in the SEC relative to how we progressed. But there’s a difference between beating the other team and winning the game.
“And, you know, we played pretty well in the game up to 24-6, which was about halfway through the third quarter. And then we didn’t finish. We got penalties ... Not executing, not hitting on all cylinders letting the other team get back in the game ... Hopefully we can learn how to beat the other team. Not just win the game. But beat the other team.”
Saban also issued a mea culpa for the lackluster performance.
“We didn’t have the intensity we needed in the second half, that’s on me, that’s my responsibility.”
If you are still expecting this team to at some point put the hammer down on a quality opponent like previous iterations of Alabama football have, rather than simply rooting and hoping for such an occurrence, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. This Alabama team could absolutely win a national title, and they could also drop a couple more games. At this point just enjoy the ride.
Blake Toppmeyer doesn’t believe that Joe Milton can get it done on Saturday.
Nonetheless, I doubt his Vols will come out on the winning side against Alabama unless their quarterback undergoes a metamorphosis.
I wouldn’t know what to expect from Tennessee freshman Nico Iamaleava, but I’ve come to expect mediocrity from veteran quarterback Joe Milton. And mediocre quarterback performances rarely beat Alabama. Milton’s stat line in three SEC games this season: 59.1% completion rate, 626 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions.
That won’t be good enough in Tuscaloosa. The previous eight teams to beat Alabama, dating to 2018, averaged 41.3 points in those wins. Tennessee’s 52-49 win last season contributed to that.
Beat the rush, hate Tennessee early.
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins whipped Bryce Young’s Carolina Panthers yesterday, as expected. Young is having a rough go of it as a rookie, and his fellow alums offered a little love.
Tua and Waddle hooked up on a TD in the game.
Last, in awful news, Damien Harris was taken to the hospital last night after a scary neck injury.
Harris suffered a neck injury after being hit by Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke and he was loaded on a backboard before being taken off the field by an ambulance. Harris was able to flash a thumbs up before leaving the field and the Bills announced that he had movement in his arms and legs shortly after the injury.
After the game, Bills head coach Sean McDermott delivered a positive update on Harris’ condition.
“It’s my understanding he has full movement,” McDermott said, via John Wawrow of the Associated Press. “Fortunate that he is seemingly heading in a good direction, with the reports we are getting. So I am very thankful to God for that.”
I won’t link the video here, but it wasn’t a hit that you’d have thought would have led to anything. Head and neck stuff is so unpredictable. Get well soon, Damien.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.