Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason review: Alabama
By Chris Low
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Record: (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
Well, here Alabama is again. In three of the past four seasons, the Crimson Tide have arrived at the midway point unbeaten. In two of those seasons, they won national championships. They haven’t been perfect this season, and coach Nick Saban has lamented their inconsistency at times. But it’s still been good enough to land them the No. 1 spot in the first BCS standings. They’ve won all six games by at least 19 points and lead the country in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense and are tied for first in red zone defense. Alabama has allowed just five touchdowns on defense, and two of those have come late in the second half when the outcome had already been decided. So while this defense may not be as star-studded as the one that led the Crimson Tide to a national title a year ago, it’s still wreaking havoc. Going back to last season, Alabama has now gone 12 straight games against SEC foes without giving up more than 14 points. The other thing Alabama hasn’t given up is the football. The Crimson Tide are plus-13 in turnover margin this season and have forced 18 turnovers in their first six games, which is tied for the SEC lead. Saban would still like to see more out of the passing game on offense, but it’s hard to argue with junior quarterback AJ McCarron’s SEC-leading 171.9 pass efficiency rating. Running the ball is still what the Crimson Tide do best. They’re averaging 217.2 yards per game on the ground, and Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon are both averaging 6 yards or more per carry. It’s been a while since Alabama has had anything resembling a close game, but that’s likely to change over the next four weeks with three nationally ranked foes on the docket.
Offensive MVP: QB AJ McCarron. He’s now gone 227 straight pass attempts without an interception. He’s thrown 12 touchdown passes and no picks this season and has been the picture of efficiency for the Crimson Tide. He banged up his right knee last week against Missouri, but was able to finish the game. Saban said McCarron should be ready to go for Saturday’s game at Tennessee.
Defensive MVP: LB C.J. Mosley. This was pretty much a dead heat between Mosley and junior cornerback Dee Milliner. Both have been instrumental in steering the Tide to this point. Mosley is asked to wear several different hats on defense and is one of the most versatile defenders in the league. He covers extremely well and is always in position to make the play. Mosley leads the team with 51 total tackles.