Alabama has been on top of the college football landscape for over a decade. However, the recent poll rankings suggest the end of an era is on the horizon.
Alabama. That program has become so synonymous with college football over the last decade or so. Head coach Nick Saban has created one of the most prolific dynasties in college football, and even sports, history. Here is a bit of an idea of the program since 2009.
Win-Loss record since 2009
135-14, 13.5 win average.
Best season: 2009, 14-0, BCS National Title.
Still not impressed? How about this piece of information? Since 2009, Saban and Alabama have won five total national titles. Three BCS Championships followed by two college football playoffs titles.
If by chance the level of convincing is still low, one more stat to fill up the line. The Alabama Crimson Tide have been in the AP top five since 2009. 10 straight years of being a top-five team is quite the feat. In fact, the coaching at Alabama has produced some pretty damn good players.
Notable Alabama Players
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, 2015 NFL Draft pick number 4
Running Back Derrick Henry, 2016 NFL Draft pick number 45
Wide Receiver Julio Jones, 2011 NFL Draft pick number 6
Just to name a few guys out of the Saban school of excellence.
While the accolades and accomplishments could continue for this excellent program, things have surely changed this season it seems. For proof of this decline just take a look at the particularly bad defense this season. Anyone that knowns a Nick Saban team knows that defensively they are usually a sound team. However, this season says otherwise.
For some context on how different this defensive unit has been, take a look at these stats.
2019 Alabama Defense
This defense allows 5.29 yards per play against SEC opponents. That is the worst mark by a Crimson Tide defense in the last six years. A combination of things looks off this time around. The pass defense looks lethargic against big-time opponents and while the run hasn’t humiliated this defense, it is also a reason why this defense has not been able to stop teams from scoring.
However, the run defense alone still ranks only 61st in the nation. Not good for a team with title hopes. Despite the one loss, this team only dropped to number five in the polls. But if the Tide expects to compete, that defense must improve.
The importance of Tua
When discussing the tide’s season, you can’t go without talking about how Tua Tagovailoa‘s injury has impacted the season. Despite an 8-1 record, Tua’s bad ankle has made planning a bit easier for opposing teams, and a nightmare for Saban. Of course, the health of your starter does matter when it has playoff implications. Luckily, Tua’s stats haven’t really been affected.
31 touchdowns and three interceptions for a 70.9 completion percentage.
The problem here is that if Tua can’t get his defense to back him up, there isn’t much he can do better. When the defense is giving up 335 yards per game it can be difficult for a QB to keep his team afloat. Even if he is as good and efficient as Tua is.
Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban is a coach who doesn’t change his scheme often and schemes do not execute, players do. Unless he adjusts his coaching habits to catch up with the game.
Now that Alabama has dropped out of the top four, the panic switch has been turned on. It is basically do or die now. They either win out and hope that the teams above slip up, or hope that another means arises because as it stands, the Crimson Tide will not make the playoff for the first time since the inception of the format in 2014.
Whatever the end result will be, one thing has become clear. The Alabama Crimson Tide could very possibly be heading towards the end of an era.
While the verdict has yet to be proven, there is plenty of reason to believe that the Tide are due for a “rebuild” of some sort. All great things must eventually come to an end. We shall see. Just be prepared. The end must eventually come for all great programs. But there is still plenty of season left for the Tide.
Next up, Mississippi State on November 16th.
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Until next time folks.
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