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May 27, 2020    
October 06, 2016

The Meat of the Schedule

The Tide enters October 5-0 after dispatching Kentucky in workman like fashion Saturday night. The game proved Alabama was better than Kentucky, but little else. There was no drama and the outcome was never in doubt. Does the Tide have work to do before running the October gauntlet? A little, but much progress has been made.

Beating USC and Ole Miss demonstrated that the Tide can take on good teams and win. Beating Western, Kentucky, Kent State and Kentucky showed that Alabama can take care of business when necessary. The next three games: Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas A&M will determine whether Alabama deserves a slot in the playoff. All three of these teams are ranked and they should provide solid tests for the Crimson Tide.

† These next three games will either help solidify the Tideís number one ranking or spoil the season. There are some legitimate questions regarding Alabamaís offense and the use of playmakers. Can Jalen Hurts become a more polished passer? Can he consistently hit receivers other than Calvin Ridley? For that matter can other receivers create separation and allow Hurts to consistently complete passes to them? Will Damien Harris be healthy enough to play fulltime this week?

† The 2016 edition of the Alabama Crimson Tide is a pretty good team. Itís a very young team that has been steadily improving. With all the freshmen in the lineup there are going to be some hiccups. Thus far these have been mitigated and the record remains spotless, though I think Tide fans expect more; they always expect more. Those out there, who are not fans of the Tide, want to see them stumble. After all Alabama has not gone through a season undefeated since 2009, will this year be different? Donít expect a lot of help from the outside if Bama falters. The world is really tired of the Tide.

† The last time Alabama went to Fayetteville it rained and the Tide came out on the high end of a 14-13 contest that was ugly. Frankly, even though Alabama is a 14-point favorite Iíd be happy with a similar win. Though this year I donít think there will be the same let down that was experienced in 2014. Instead of a post Ole Miss hangover the Crimson Tide comes off a solid performance against a good, but over matched Kentucky team.

† The last time in Fayetteville, Bama was beat up for its poor showing, while Saban extoled the virtues of overcoming adversity. This year Arkansas is a first rate, ranked opponent that will provide a good road test for the Tide. Arkansas can throw the ball as well as run and has a good defense. The game against Texas A&M got away from them and they are simply not a team built to play from behind.

† If Alabama can go into Fayetteville and take care of a good Arkansas team it will go a long way in the continued development of the confidence of this young team led by a true freshman. Jalen Hurts has faced adversity and has not been rattled. Arkansas will provide another tough road game with a quality opponent. Look for a physical game with the winner prevailing in the trenches.

† My guess Alabama 28 Arkansas 14.



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