Alabama’s 43-37 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night created more questions than answers for a team that is still desperately in search of an identity.
But a loss is a loss. And in college football, every ‘L’ counts.
If the national picture shapes up the way it usually does, the Crimson Tide will need to win every game left on its schedule to reach the College Playoffs.
Alabama rebounded after a loss to Ole Miss last season, winning eight straight to earn one of four spots. But if there’s one thing we learned on Saturday, it’s that:
1. This team does not have the quarterback it needs
Cooper Bateman got his first career start on Saturday. He looked good initially, going 8-of-9 to begin the game. But the sophomore slowly slipped into making poor reads and poor throws, eventually getting pulled with the Tide trailing, 17-3.
Enter Jake Coker. The senior provided more highlight reel plays than his first two starts combined, but he also tossed two costly interceptions, and could not quite make the big plays when ‘Bama needed him to. Plain and simple: Neither Bateman nor Coker will singlehandedly win big games for the Tide.
They’re more likely to hurt the team in big moments than help it.
2. The defense still needs work
The Tide ‘D’ fell victim to the year’s wackiest play, as well as some terrible field position. But they also missed countless tackles, especially in space. Simple mistakes led to big gains for the Rebels, and the secondary will continue to be a big concern for Saban moving forward.
When the team desperately needed a stop down 36-24 in the fourth quarter, Ole Miss wideout Laquon Treadwell easily snagged an underthrown ball away from star Alabama corner Cyrus Jones and eased into the end zone for the final points the Rebels would need.
Despite all this…
3. They’re still a confident bunch
Post-game interviews and social media quips made it clear: Alabama thinks it will win out. It thinks it will earn a spot in the national title race for the second straight season. And until this team loses its second game, one would be wise not to count them out.
Alabama CB Cyrus Jones on loss to Ole Miss: "I felt like we just gave them the game. They didn't come in here and beat us."
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 20, 2015
— Brandon Moore (@BrandonMooreUA) September 20, 2015
Bama always bounce back ?
— Fruit PUNCH (@marlon_humphrey) September 20, 2015
No where but up from here….
— Alphonse Taylor (@SHANKK50) September 20, 2015