Alabama football fans are close to believing the Crimson Tide is invincible. Check out what teams might have the necessary components to derail the Tide.
Who can match up with Alabama football? Across the Crimson Nation, there is a growing belief, no team in CFB offers a serious threat. The Bama Hammer staff has considered what teams would be legitimate single-digit underdogs against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Our effort is an attempt to discern how many teams pose a real threat to defeating the Tide.
Admittedly, some of us (at least me) may be shaped by an unjustified arrogance when to comes to Alabama football. I understand the odds of going undefeated through 15 games are small. I know even the best team can beat itself. I confess disdain for certain coaches taints my perception. Now the narrative equivalent of the “yes, but” – I am sure Nick Saban has the best team in college football.
Bama Hammer Contributor, Jonathan Waldrop
I really didn’t believe that in Baton Rouge our beloved Crimson Tide would be able to match Vegas on this one. Fourteen-and-a-half points seemed excessive in Death Valley, but, by George, the Tide doubled it by game’s end.
With UGA on the horizon next month and the possibility of a couple of other elite teams in January, we’re wondering to whom Vegas would give the benefit of the doubt. For that matter, we, here, at Bama Hammer are not sure to whom we’d give the benefit of the doubt. If the measure is ten points or less, then I don’t think UGA’s there.
The offense has been much better since their loss to LSU and the defense knows how to clamp down, but even on a “neutral” field in Atlanta, I’m not sure they’d deserve to be underdogs by less than ten points. If Alabama is able to drop 40 on a really good defense in Mississippi State this weekend, then I don’t see Vegas making Alabama a favorite by anything less than 17 points and that may include Georgia.
That being said, with the offensive firepower of Oklahoma and Michigan’s elite defense, there’s only one team that’s playing to the level of the Tide both sides of the ball. That’s Clemson. With its 77-16 drubbing of Louisville, Dabo’s on a mission. I think they’ll eat up the competition the rest of the way. The Tigers are elite on offense and defense and that’s the kind of team that can compete with Alabama. It’s Alabama and Clemson and everyone else.
Jonathan’s ‘Single-Digit Dogs’ Picks: Clemson
Bama Hammer Contributor, Ronald Moody
Clemson is the only team Alabama could potentially face that should not be a double-digit underdog, this includes Georgia in the SEC Championship.
The Tigers biggest challenge thus far involved heading to College Station, playing in front of a raucous crowd and winning against an upstart SEC foe by two points. The abrupt departure of Kelly Bryant left the door open for hotshot freshman quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Since Lawrence assumed the helm, Clemson has rightfully placed their foot on opponents’ throats. In Clemson’s last four games, they have outscored the opposition 240-36.
The Tigers offense (seventh) and defense (third) reside in the top ten as does Alabama. Strength in the trenches on both sides of the ball is what separates these two teams from every other in college football. In their last meeting, the famed Clemson defensive line did not incur considerable damage against Alabama. Significantly improved from last year, it will be interesting to see how Clemson attacks the Tide’s improved, dominant offensive line.
Ronald’s ‘Single-Digit Dogs’ Picks: Clemson
Bama Hammer Contributor, Kevin Mudd
The teams who fall within 10 point underdogs of Alabama possess two attributes.
First, they must have an explosive offense. It starts with the quarterback. Dual-threat is best, but in any circumstance, the opposing quarterback must be able to consistently throw the ball with accuracy, especially deep. If the opposing team’s offense cannot stretch the field, it allows Alabama’s defense to blitz more and provides greater resistance to a run game.
Second, it must have a complete defense. I believe LSU was the best secondary Alabama will see all year. The problem for LSU is they could not consistently get home with the pass rush. Tua beat a three or four man rush consistently throughout the game. Any opposing team that looks to keep Alabama’s offense in check, must not only have a great secondary but must have a defensive line capable of consistently getting a pass rush.
With these two components, I believe there are four teams capable of keeping a game against Alabama football within 10 points. UGA, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan
Kevin’s ‘Single-Digit Dogs’ Picks: Georgia, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan
Bama Hammer Lead Writer, Ronald Evans
I really hope Kevin is wrong but he is a former player and a former coach, so his viewing glasses may be a little less Crimson-tinted than the rest of us.
I am quite impressed with Clemson and don’t see the Tide as more than a seven-point favorite. Trevor Lawrence is better than Jake Fromm, Ian Book and Shea Patterson. Risking heresy, I think the Tigers’ defensive line is better than any defensive line in CFB.
Reluctantly, I will settle with Alabama football as only a 9.5 point favorite against Georgia. The only reason is Rodrigo Blankenship, who must be worth at least three points against Crimson Tide place-kicking.
As far as the Irish and the Wolverines, I think Michigan might make it a two-touchdown game. Not so close for Notre Dame is my guess.
Ronald’s ‘Single-Digit Dogs’ Picks: Clemson and Georgia
About the remaining two SEC foes not mentioned in this post? The western Bulldogs are better defensively than LSU but are three TD underdogs. Auburn is not a good team which Georgia will smash this weekend.