Reports surfaced Tuesday afternoon University of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had a torn meniscus, setting social media ablaze for a few moments, before the rumor was put to rest.
Crimson Tide fans breathed a sigh of relief.
However the sense of relief was temporary because while McCarron’s health is an integral piece in Alabama’s championship puzzle the Tide are just in the midst of being swept up by the most challenging portion of their schedule. While the Tennessee Volunteers are a team that Alabama fans may overlook, head coach Nick Saban certainly isn’t.
“Games like this are more about the rivalry and less about people’s record” Saban said. “This game means a lot to a lot of people. Certainly it means a lot to me and to us”
The rivalry, “The 3rd Saturday of October” will draw many of the story lines because understandably, it is a game that both fan bases wants to win year in and year out. Not to mention, Saban is correct in pointing out that records really do not matter in a game like this. However this game is important for another reason.
Yes, Alabama currently sits 6-0 on the season and atop the BCS rankings, but the next four games is not doing them any favors. After this week Alabama will have to face three consecutive games against teams ranked in the top 25: Mississippi State, LSU, and Texas A&M. Even for the Crimson Tide, a team recognized as the best in the country, that is as tough a schedule as any.
Although dominant at time, Alabama has had their moments. Whether it be the struggles on deep passes or struggling to come out of intermission (or rain delays) with the same intensity they begin games. While the perception nationally is that this team is perfect, they, like many, have their fair share of areas to improve.
Saturday is just the next opportunity to make those improvements; improvements they must make.