From Johnny Football to Jacob the Follower.
Just two weeks after setting an NCAA record by completing 96 percent of his passes against South Carolina, Lambert struggled with his accuracy and completed just seven of 17 passes for 70 yards in the first half, which led to the decision to insert Brice Ramsey into the lineup with 35 seconds on the clock in the second quarter.
“The dam broke and unfortunately we just didn’t have enough counterpunches to get back in it”, Richt said.
But this is now the foundation of winning games in the SEC. Saban made sure to remind everyone there’s “a process”, and that might have been a slip, because of course we all know it’s “The Process”. He has been so successful, has won so much in this meatgrinder conference, that everyone is copying what he’s doing. That night, the Crimson Tide raced to a 31-0 halftime lead and beat Georgia 41-30 in the “blackout” game that announced Nick Saban’s squad as a national championship contender.
Florida, the new hot team in the East Division, hired a former Saban assistant (Jim MCElwain) after the first Saban assistant (Will Muschamp) failed.
Had Lambert and Mitchell connected, that gets the crowd going in all that rain and Georgia sets the tone of using the pass to set up the run. Suddenly the program faced questions on both sides of the ball as other SEC West schools nipped at its heels.
“I was glad for the kid”, Richt said. As long as your quarterback doesn’t make mistakes, any team can win any game. Only Coker didn’t – or couldn’t – and sat behind the guy who could (Blake Sims).
Indeed, the Tide scored touchdowns on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Did you throw the ball where you were supposed to? The pleasant surprise of the day was freshman receiver Calvin Ridley. He looked at the questioner like he had three heads. “The coach compared his players” lethargic attitude to the vibe he got before they played Ole Miss.
Iowa (+7) over WISCONSIN; Alabama (+2) over GEORGIA; Oregon (-7½) over COLORADO; Washington State (+18) over CALIFORNIA; Unlv (+6½) over UNR.
Alabama closed as a consensus one-point underdog to Georgia on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas, ending the Crimson Tide’s record 72-game streak of being favored.
“We didn’t execute”, Lambert said. Making up for a September loss to Ole Miss won’t be easy, but for now it’s safe to say the Tide are back in the middle of the SEC and playoff hunt.
Stuff like that happens, Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones said.
There is plenty of time clear a few things up.
It’s like he’s willing this team to believe in themselves, to make everything bigger and better than they’ve showed one week into October.
“I know they’ve been criticized a lot, but I thought we played an outstanding game today”, Saban said about his players. Even though they have a favorable schedule the rest of the way and still have a reasonable shot at playing in the SEC championship game, it’s hard to imagine a team that lost so badly on its home field getting any serious consideration in the national picture.