If there’s one thing I’ll say about the Alabama fanbase, it’s full of this insane spectrum of rabid confidence to soul-crushing negativity and depression.
Somehow a 10-point loss at home to Texas (note: a good maybe great team) and a two touchdown WIN on the road during a tropical storm in Florida seems to have shattered at least one of the bloggers at Roll Bama Roll. I’ve talked with Brent for years about Alabama football and never heard him be quite this despondant about the Tide.
So, that either means things might actually not be going great, or... and stay with me - Ole Miss is about to walk into a damn buzz saw in Tuscaloosa of pissed off Bama players looking to reclaim its throne. Either way, take what RBR says with a whopping grain of salt, because it’s in all likelihood its some Lane Kiffin level mind games going on with them.
1.) How likely is it that the USF game was a wake up call for this team and Ole Miss gets steamrolled in Tuscaloosa?
We’ve been waiting for a wake-up call to actually wake this team up since they lost to Texas A&M in 2021. The Tide barely survived games against bad LSU and Auburn teams after that. And then in 2022, a close call vs Texas was something we hoped would be a “wake-up” call, but Alabama barely survived A&M and then lost to Tennessee and then LSU. Our hopes that those two losses would be a wake up call? Nah, it came down to the last drive to beat Ole Miss, and then they gave up like five thousand rushing yards to an Auburn team without a QB.
This year? I’d think a loss to Texas would be something that might wake them up. But no, they darn near blew it against SOUTH FLORIDA.
So, I dunno. Maybe playing that bad against a team that is barely FBS will finally be what does it. But I’ve got 2.5 years of hopes without a wake-up yet, so I’m expecting a close, ugly game this weekend.
2.) What’s the general consensus among fans on who should be playing quarterback at Bama?
I will say this for Nick Saban: I don’t totally know what his motives were for playing Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson last weekend. Maybe he really thought one of them might be the guy. Or maybe he wanted to prove a point to our ornery fan base. Either way, once we all got a nice long look at the two backup contenders for the QB job, we’re pretty much all back on board with Jalen Milroe being the guy.
Look, Milroe has some issues. Big ones. It seems his entire passing game is either a 7-yard out or a deep bomb. Texas knew that and picked off his out route TWICE. But he can at least aim the ball most of the time, which is far more than can be said of Buchner. Milroe also has some issues with not being decisive when transitioning from a pass to a scramble. He’ll start to scramble, then pull up to look to throw... Which can be good! But a lot of the time, he’s much faster than any lineman or linebacker chasing him, and it would go so much better if he’d just take off. Again, this is better than Ty Simpson, who can throw the ball well, but showed himself to be oblivious to rushers and just took 5 bad sacks in one half.
So yeah. Milroe or bust. He’s a roller coaster, that’s for sure. Throws an amazing deep ball and looks like an athletic clone of Lamar Jackson on the run, but the bad plays are really bad.
3.) What do you make of Lane Kiffin’s comments to Oxford media that Kevin Steele is no longer calling the defense instead it is Travaris Robinson?
Just Lane having some fun. He knew exactly what he was doing: it would cause some media members to ask Saban about it, and it would annoy Saban. Don’t take it any further than that. For one, we all know this is Saban’s defense, regardless. And Kevin Steele has been his DC multiple times in the past, so he’s a trusted play caller. And, to be totally frank, the defense has looked sooo much better in 3 games this year than they have since 2017. Texas scored on three deep shot 50/50 balls and I don’t see many college wide receiver groups replicating that, but other than that, the whole defense has been absolutely suffocating. So I don’t see any reason why Steele would have suddenly been demoted in the background.
4.) For Ole Miss fans making the trip, clearly the move is not Dreamland BBQ, so where should they try to eat pre or post game?
Ah, I see you’ve caught on to my yearly campaign to visitors that Dreamland is overrated! To be totally fair, they do have amazing ribs. They just... Don’t have anything else. Ribs and a piece of white bread. Enjoy your meal.
So let’s see, here’s a few of my recommendations: For breakfast food, the Waysider and City Cafe are both legendary locations. City cafe is better and cheaper in my opinion, but Waysider has the cute building and all the Alabama football paintings on the wall. Get there early for both, though, as they pack out quickly for good reason.
If you have to go BBQ, I’d go with Archibalds. For steaks, Nicks in the Sticks is a legendary location and you’ll feel like you’ve gone backwards about 50 years.
For me, my go-to whenever I make my annual pilgrimage back to Tuscaloosa is the Avenue Pub. One of the best hamburger and fries I’ve ever had - but everything they do is great. I may also take some flak for this one, but there’s a couple of Gyro places that are some of my favorites I’ve ever had. Hooligans is a small gyro shop with mint iced tea and some of the best french fries around. And Glorybound on the strip is a classic for creative American takes on Gyros.
FIVE Tuscaloosa is also a great place to eat, though they franchised out, so you may have one in other places.
Finally, if you’re willing to drive outside of the city for some legit deep southern food, I can’t recommend the Brown Bag enough. You’ll feel like you’re driving up to some random house way out in the middle of nowhere, but you won’t find better southern food.
5.) What’s your prediction for Saturday in general?
If benching Jalen Milroe for a game and almost losing to USF actually does act as a wake-up call, this Alabama squad has enough talent to dominate anyone in the country. But again, I’m done holding my breath, and this team is so caught up in their own heads and trying too hard to not be the group that is finally the “end of the dynasty” that they’re just mentally spiraling (in my non-professional psychologist opinion). And so, it’ll be an ugly game. The Alabama offense will sputter for most of the game other than the occasional big play. The defense will hold up their end of things for three quarters before giving up a couple of late scores, and Alabama loses 24-21.