In the past five seasons, Alabama has lost seven games and won three national championships. The Crimson Tide have shown microscopic flaws, but they are nearly unbeatable.
With that in mind, let’s try to construct a team of five SEC players that could beat Alabama. We’ll give you $15 to spend on a quarterback, three offensive skill players and a defensive player. To build the best team, let’s look at some things those seven losses have in common.
When comparing the passing stats from the combined seven losses, the first thing that jumps out is number of interceptions. In four of the seven games, that number was zero. The only time a team has won throwing multiple interceptions was LSU in 2011.
Another number that pops out is yards per attempt. In five of Alabama’s losses, that number has been above 7 yards per attempt. You don’t beat Alabama by dinking and dunking down the field. You have to take shots and stretch the Alabama defense vertically.
Another quirk is five of the seven quarterbacks have been first-year starters. LSU’s Jordan Jefferson is the only quarterback with two wins against the Crimson Tide going back to 2008. That stat should make you think about picking Chad Kelly or Trevor Knight, who have both already beaten Alabama, as the quarterback of your team.
And now the list:
|Chad Kelly||Ole Miss||$7|
|Trevor Knight||Texas A&M||$4|
|Any other QB||SEC||$1|
This is a trickier position to quantify in terms of success. Ohio State and Auburn both had more than 200 yards rushing. But Ole Miss, which has beaten Alabama in each of the last two seasons, didn’t top 100 yards in either victory.
The more telling stat is number of carries. In the seven losses, every team has had at least 30 carries. Though some teams have had more success than others, it’s more about quantity of carries than quality of yards.
|Stanley “Boom” Williams||Kentucky||$3|
|Any other RB||SEC||$1|
Wide receivers/tight ends
To beat Alabama, it helps to have a go-to receiver. In five of the seven games, an opposing wide receiver has had a game with at least five catches and a touchdown. You also want someone who can catch the deep ball. In all seven games, a team has had at least one player catch a pass longer than 20 yards.
|Christian Kirk||Texas A&M||$6|
|Fred Ross||Mississippi State||$5|
|Josh Reynolds||Texas A&M||$5|
|Evan Engram||Ole Miss||$4|
|Quincy Adeboyejo||Ole Miss||$3|
|Any other WR||SEC||$1|
The key to beating Alabama is forcing turnovers. The 2015 Ole Miss loss was the most extreme example, as the Crimson Tide turned the ball over five times in a 43-37 loss. In the seven losses, the turnover margin has been 20-7 in favor of Alabama’s opponents. Only Auburn in 2013 has beaten Alabama while losing the turnover margin, and that game ended on a missed field goal returned for a touchdown.
To beat Alabama, you also have to get some pressure. Alabama has given up at least 1 sack in each loss, and in four of the seven games, teams had multiple sacks. In Oklahoma’s 45-31 win against Alabama, the Crimson Tide’s only loss that wasn’t a one-possession defeat, the Sooners racked up 7 sacks.
|Myles Garrett||Texas A&M||$6|
|Any other defensive player||SEC||$1|
For Alabama’s five-man team, which is so talented that it exceeds the $15 threshold, the values are Cooper Bateman ($1), Bo Scarbrough ($2), Calvin Ridley ($6), O.J. Howard ($4) and Jonathan Allen ($5). You can leave your team in comments and see how it stacks up.