It’s the bye week for the University of Alabama football team, but that doesn’t mean anyone in Tuscaloosa is slowing down.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide (8-0) will head into November knowing that they’re three wins away from playing for a fourth-straight SEC championship, and a strong finish can help lock up another berth in the College Football Playoff.
“The focus is on improvement,” Nick Saban said.
“The teams that we have coming up on our schedule are certainly some of the best teams that we’ve played and probably the best teams in our division this particular year. So I think we need to be at our best when we come out of this week and get ready for next week.”
Nevertheless, SEC Country’s Marq Burnett and Christopher Walsh are hitting the pause button briefly to look at the big picture for Alabama in the latest edition of Sound Off, presented by Zaxby’s. The Tide have outscored opponents 344-78, and 238-38 in conference play thus far.
The great debate: Who have been the biggest surprises, and who’s poised for a breakthrough?
Some timestamps to guide you:
- Christopher and Marq open with their takeaways from Alabama’s lopsided 45-7 victory against Tennessee last Saturday, which both thought was telling about the different directions of the programs. Christopher comments on what we still don’t know about the Crimson Tide despite their record (1:15).
- Who was Alabama’s player of the game against the Volunteers? Both agree that it was probably a defensive player, but they differ on who should get the nod. A player who is coming on strong caught Marq’s eye (1:55). Christopher praises the performance of a couple of front-seven players (2:45) before crediting one who has been steady all season (3:15). Marq chimes in with some other reasons on why that player has been so impressive (3:50).
- Who’s been the biggest surprise of the Crimson Tide so far? Marq takes the defense and gives an update on his preseason comment about who would be the most important person in the secondary (4:40). Christopher gives an answer about the offense and names players who many thought would have bigger numbers at this point of the season (6:00).
- Which players are poised for a breakthrough stretch run? Marq picks a veteran who is near the end of his collegiate career but could make a big difference (7:00). Christopher looks more to the younger players and has a difficult time picking just one (8:25).
- Which remaining regular-season opponent will be Alabama’s toughest challenge out of LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn? Marq says it depends (9:40) in part on what happens between now and when the teams play. Christopher goes with the safer pick “even though it’s probably the wrong answer” (10:45).
- Bonus question: Is there a team out there that would potentially give Alabama the most trouble beyond the regular season? Marq gives a quick rundown of the other top contenders for the national championship (12:00) and Christopher gives one in particular that he thinks would be a fun matchup (13:30).