After losing 23-17 to Ole Miss this past Saturday, Alabama has now lost its last three games to ranked teams.
That’s right. Alabama, which plays in the SEC and is coached by Nick Saban, has lost its last three games to ranked teams.
Let that sink in for a bit.
MoJo Show co-host Brian Jones said before the season that he didn’t think the Tide were as far ahead of the competition as they had been in the past. Still elite, yes. But untouchable, no.
Can the No. 7 Tide (4-1, 1-1) rebound this Saturday at Arkansas (3-2, 0-2)?
“Well, yeah, I think they can rebound,” football analyst Fred Smoot said on The MoJo Show. “But I think (Saban) is getting a true view of the new game of football. When you look at him, he’s always got those A-B-C gap pluggers, those big heavy guys, and right now the game is so fast and so versatile. He really shocked me when he made the switch on offense to be an up-tempo offense and bring Lane Kiffin into the fold. So when you talk about Alabama, you got to ask yourself, are the old ways going out the door right now?”
Maybe – but not this weekend. In fact, there’s probably no SEC-West team Alabama would rather face than Arkansas, which ranks seventh nationally in rushing yards per game (316.6) but just 111th in passing (167.8).
“When you talk about a team like Arkansas, they come to run the ball, baby,” Smoot said. “That’s Alabama-type football – good old running between the A and B gaps. I think that just gives Alabama the edge in this one. You never want to get a hurt dog after he’s lost a game. You don’t want to be that next team – and Arkansas is that next team right now.”
In the Big 12, meanwhile, No. 5 Baylor (5-0, 2-0) hosts No. 9 TCU (4-0, 1-0) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Baylor is yet to beat a ranked team this season, while TCU is coming off a 37-33 win over previously fourth-ranked Oklahoma.
Nevertheless, Baylor is a 10-point favorite.
“I’m getting real tired of everybody out there disrespecting defense,” Smoot said. “If you’re a team right now and you can play defense – I don’t care if it’s college or NFL – defense wins championships and offense sells tickets. I thought Seattle proved that this year. TCU can flat out play defense. We know that.”
The Horned Frogs allow an average of just 13.5 points per game – seventh fewest in the country.
“They got speed at the linebackers, defensive linemen (who can tackle and rush the passer), corners that can cover – and you’re talking about a high-powered offense, a niche offense,” Smoot said. “When you put TCU’s backs against the wall, I think they’re one of those teams that loves to upset teams – so I’m putting Baylor on upset watch.”