After last week, there has to be a lot weighing on Nick Saban’s mind these days. Forget about the Texas rumors, it seems Saban has plenty to worry about in Tuscaloosa after another half-hearted performance by No. 1 Alabama (3-0, 1-0) in Week 4.
Sure, the Crimson Tide didn’t allow a touchdown while beating Colorado State 31-6, and it was unlikely Saban would run it up on a former assistant coach, but the Tide’s recurring inconsistency on offense continues to spark questions about the true strength of this team. Despite having a few starters on the sideline, there’s no reason it should have taken Alabama nearly the full 60 minutes to put away the Rams.
The Crimson Tide only managed 16 first downs and lost the time of possession battle against an inferior team. The nation’s No. 1 team was only able to gain 66 rushing yards at home against Colorado State’s 87th-ranked defense. To put that into perspective, two (Tulsa and Cal-Poly) of the Ram’s first three opponents gained more than 200 yards on the ground. The other, Colorado, had more than 100 rushing yards – meaning Alabama had the lowest rushing total of any CSU opponent. For a team that centers its offensive identity on a hard-nosed rushing attack, that’s a reason to be concerned.
Alabama did score another special teams touchdown (blocked punt), but the Crimson Tide won’t be able to rely on nontraditional sources of points against the better teams on the schedule.
What to look for in Week 5: Can Alabama score enough to hold off No. 21 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0)? The Crimson Tide has shown some holes on defense, so it’s likely the Rebels will find the end zone Saturday night. Ole Miss has a balanced, efficient offense that is averaging 240 passing yards, 250 rushing yards and 38 points per game – and the Rebs are nothing like Texas A&M on defense. If Alabama doesn’t find some answers offensively, the Rebels could sneak out of Bryant-Denny Stadium with a big upset victory.