Alabama Crimson Tide Must Learn to Play Hard in Every Game

John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Alabama Crimson Tide remained unbeaten on Saturday night, beating the Kentucky Wildcats 48-7 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington.

And while that result will not surprise anyone, the actual performance by the Crimson Tide was not very impressive. Playing against arguably the worst team in the SEC, the Crimson Tide appeared to be sleepwalking in the first quarter, uncharacteristically turning the ball over, dropping passes and making mistakes that Nick Saban-coached teams normally do not make.

The scary thing for Saban and his staff is that this is not the first time Alabama has played in this manner in 2013. The opening-game win over the Virginia Tech Hokies and the contest against Colorado State a few weeks ago produced the same kind of performances.

To their credit, Alabama has stepped up its game against better teams. The Tide’s best game of the year on offense came in a 49-42 win on the road against the Texas A&M Aggies. And their best game of the year on defense came in a 25-0 win over the Ole Miss Rebels.

Alabama must find a way to improve its performance against the lesser opponents because this Alabama team is not as good as the Tide teams of the past two seasons. Those teams could simply show up and win with no worries. The 2013 team needs to play well in order to avoid being upset, which could very well happen if Alabama were to play this way against a decent SEC team.

The job for Saban is to instill a sense of urgency in his team so that these types of performances stop happening. However, at this point, nothing the head coach has done is working with this particular team.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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