We’ve previously taken a look at what Florida needs to do to beat the Tide.
Here we’ll discuss what Alabama will need to do on the road this Saturday to beat the Gators. This recipe will look very familiar to other games we’ve seen this year…
** Hang in there, AJ McCarron. We’ve said we don’t know about McCarron as a starter. He played well against Kent State. We said we didn’t know how he would play on the road in front of an hostile crowd versus a decent team. He played well against Penn State. We said we didn’t know how he would play against a really good team like Arkansas. He passed that test as well. All of that leads to the next test: a night game in the Swamp against the Gators. McCarron doesn’t have to play great for the Tide to win, but it’ll be hard to win if he plays badly. Playing badly would include throwing the ball to the other team.
** Be able to run the ball. The opponent’s game plan is pretty much the same every week: stop the running game and force McCarron to beat you. It won’t be different this week. If the Bama offensive line plays well, the Tide’s chances of winning go way up.
** Stop Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Gator offensive coordinator Charlie Weis says they will throw the kitchen sink at Bama. That may be true, but Rainey and Demps will probably be carrying that sink. Gator QB John Brantley is playing well, but I don’t think Will Muschamp will put this game in his hands from the get go.
** Put pressure on Brantley. Muschamp wants to keep the game out of Brantley’s hands, but Nick Saban wants the opposite. The Tide defense harassed Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson into a horrible afternoon and they’ll look to do the same to Brantley.
** Hey, a big play wouldn’t hurt. The defense played great last week against the Hogs, but the game really hinged on two big plays: the pick six by DeQuan Menzie and the amazing punt return by Marquis Maze. These two plays totally forced Arkansas out of it’s game plan and made them one dimensional. The pressure on Wilson then intensified. The Tide only got credit for one sack, but Wilson was hit and hit again. Bama will want to create the same plan for Brantley.
These comments aren’t rocket science. Both teams like to run the ball. Both teams want to protect their QBs, albeit for different reasons. This all points to a game hinging on turnovers and which team wins the battle along the line of scrimmage.
I think Bama is a better overall team, although both are loaded with talent. The Tide is a little more experienced and the Saban system has obviously been in place longer than Muschamp’s. Mash all this together and I see a Tide win, 21-13.