Since losing to Ole Miss in September, Alabama has won four straight games – all in convincing fashion. Average margin of victory? A robust 23.3 points.
This hasn’t been a case of feasting on bad competition, either. The Tide beat then-top-10 teams Georgia and Texas A&M, both on the road.
By a combined 45 points.
“They seem to be thriving against the teams that are build in their mode,” CBS College Football Today host Adam Zucker said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The scrambling quarterbacks, the dual-threat up-tempo guys, a lot of those offenses have really hit the wall this year anyway. And Alabama, it wasn’t the Ole Miss offense that got them. It was the five turnovers setting Ole Miss up so deep in their territory and the fluke play. So it seems like Alabama and Stanford are the teams playing the best football right now. Utah is solid, but Utah hit a little speed bump the last couple weeks, I feel like. The teams with one loss are the ones with probably the best game going right now.”
Alabama (6-1) hosts Tennessee (3-3) this Saturday, while No. 5 LSU (6-0) hosts Western Kentucky (6-1). The Tide and Tigers both have a bye before squaring off in Death Valley on Nov. 7.
“Alabama/LSU should be massive, as always,” Zucker said. “I think whoever wins that game, we’re going to be surfing home with for the rest of the season based on the slate in November. But right now, man, it feels like Alabama with the secondary to back up their front seven, I feel like Alabama is in good shape.”
Looking elsewhere in the top 10, J.T. Barrett will start for No. 1 Ohio State (7-0) this Saturday against Rutgers (3-3). Cardale Jones was named the starter on opening night against Virginia Tech, but Barrett has looked a little better at times in spot- and mop-up duty. In some instances, he’s looked a lot better.
How well – or not well – has Urban Meyer handled his quarterback situation?
“I feel like he was doing his best to look out for those guys, especially Cardale because of what they did for him,” Zucker said. “He let it play out longer than most coaches would – longer than most teams could let it play out – because they did keep winning. I think (back to) the Northern Illinois win where Darron Lee gets that pick-six to really win the game and get their breath back and all the Buckeyes fans. But neither of them were playing outstanding football. J.T. Barrett definitely had an edge this past week and maybe just a slight one the week before in his relief duty that would occur on every drive. I don’t think Urban really had a clear cut decision until then.”
The Buckeyes, who have won 20 straight games, face Rutgers, Minnesota (4-3) and Illinois (4-2) before taking on No. 7 Michigan State (7-0) and No. 15 Michigan (5-2) in the final two weeks of the regular season.