It’s probably going to happen one Saturday between now and Dec. 3. It almost happened last Saturday in Oxford, Miss.
The other quarterback is going to lead a last-minute drive. The other kicker is going to make a game-winning field goal. The other team is going to make a play you don’t see every day, and Alabama is going to lose a football game.
Through three games, the Crimson Tide has looked good enough at times in all three phases to suggest it’ll run the table for the first time since 2009. At other times against USC, Western Kentucky and Ole Miss, Alabama has looked vulnerable enough to conclude it’ll continue one of the more remarkable stats of the Nick Saban era.
This program has gone 11-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC in each of the last five regular seasons. It took all kinds of hard work, smart planning and good fortune to get there, but Alabama has been the most predictable of machines in the most unpredictable of sports.
If history repeats, who will have the privilege of taking down the Tide, and maybe a goalpost or two, this year? Who will join LSU 2011, Texas A&M 2012, Auburn 2013, Ole Miss 2014 and Ole Miss 2015 on a distinguished short list?
Sorry, Tennessee, but the trend indicates it’ll be an SEC West team, and the way this season has started, all signs point to one of the two teams meeting Saturday night in Jerry World as the most likely culprit.
Arkansas and Texas A&M may be playing for the SEC West B Flight Championship, and each of them will enjoy an advantage or two when they run into Jonathan Allen and his crew.
Alabama has to jet to Fayetteville in two weeks. The last time the Tide made that difficult trip, it barely escaped a rainy, sloppy 14-13 affair. But that was Alabama’s second straight road game that season, and the team hadn’t fully recovered after losing the previous week at Ole Miss.
At the moment, Alabama’s in the midst of what might as well be two straight open weeks with scrimmages against Kent State and Kentucky. So the conditions won’t be perfect Oct. 8 for what would be the biggest victory of Bret Bielema’s tenure in Hogville.
Texas A&M may be the more viable threat. Kevin Sumlin, John Chavis and Trevor Knight have gotten the better of Alabama before, and while they have to visit Tuscaloosa for their Oct. 22 matchup, the timing couldn’t be better.
The Aggies will be coming off an actual open week. The Crimson Tide will be playing its eighth game in eight weeks immediately after challenging trips to Arkansas and Tennessee.
A lot can and will happen between now and then, but the stars could be aligning for Sumlin’s second win in Tuscaloosa and Knight’s second victory over Alabama. That could be the day Texas A&M clinches … the SEC West runner-up trophy.
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