No. 1 Idle, But SEC Has Good Lineup
Alabama has until Saturday, Oct. 13, when the Crimson Tide is back in action. Bama returns to the field with the first of two SEC road games, going to Missouri to take on the latest Tigers to join the conference fold. Kickoff a week from Saturday for Tide vs. Tigers Part I is 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.
Alabama is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in SEC games and ranked first in the nation. Missouri is 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the conference. Missouri hosts Vanderbilt (1-3 overall, 0-2 SEC) at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday with television coverage by FoxSports.
Among the most notable games in college football this week are two SEC games. Fifth-ranked Georgia (5-0, 3-0) will be at sixth-ranked South Carolina (5-0, 3-0) and fourth-rated LSU (5-0, 1-0) plays at number 10 Florida (4-0, 3-0) this weekend. The Georgia-South Carolina game is at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN and LSU at Florida is at 2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS.
Other SEC games this week include the two bottom feeders of the SEC West, Arkansas (1-4, 0-2) at Auburn (1-3, 0-2) at 11 a.m. CDT on ESPN2; surprising Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0) at woeful Kentucky (1-4, 0-2) at 11:20 a.m. CDT on the SEC Network, and Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) at Ole Miss (3-2, 0-1) at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPNU.
In addition to Alabama, Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) is also idle this weekend. Bama will go to Knoxville on Oct. 20.
This is probably a good weekend for Alabama to have an open date. The Tide lost its second running back of the year last week in a 33-14 win over Ole Miss. For the second year in a row, Dee Hart has suffered a season-ending knee injury. Earlier this year Bama lost running back Jalston Fowler to a knee injury. Bama has only three scholarshipped tailbacks – junior Eddie Lacy and true freshmen T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake.
Tide Coach Nick Saban said it was possible that Brent Calloway, who has worked at tailback and outside linebacker and is now at H-back, could go back to tailback.
Alabama also lost wide receiver DeAndrew White to a season-ending knee injury in the Mississippi game. White had been splitting time with freshman Amari Cooper. Cooper had the best game of his brief Alabama career against Ole Miss with eight pass receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Here are some notes on Alabama to ponder during the open week:
Alabama has the best record of any SEC team over the past five seasons (2008-current) at 53-6, a winning percentage of 89.8 per cent. LSU is runner-up at 46-12 (79.3 per cent), followed by Florida at 45-13 (77.6 per cent).
Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron has a 17-1 record as starter. Among starting quarterbacks in the SEC, newcomer Zach Mettenberger at LSU has a better percentage at 5-0 (as does Florida's Jeff Driskel at 3-0) and Georgia's Aaron Murray has more wins with 21 (but also a lot more losses with 11). South Carolina's Connor Shaw is worthy of mention at 12-1.
Alabama ranks first in the nation in scoring defense (allowing 7 points per game), second in the nation in total defense (191.6 yards per game), second in turnover margin (plus 2.4 per game), third in pass efficiency defense, seventh in pass efficiency, third in pass defense (125.8 yards per game), fourth in rushing defense (65.8 ypg), and fourth in kickoff returns (31.5 yards per return).
McCarron ranks seventh individually in passing efficiency.
Alabama's defense has turned in two shutouts this year (52-0 over Arkansas and 35-0 over Western Kentucky) and since 1992 leads the SEC with 20 goose eggs. LSU is second with 16 and Tennessee third with 15.
Also since 1992, Florida has been the SEC's best team on the road with a 68-23 record (74.7 per cent). Alabama and Tennessee are tied for second at 51-30 (63 per cent).
Alabama opponents have had 15 turnovers this season and the Tide has scored 84 points, or 41.8 per cent of Bama's 201 points, off those turnovers. Both the number of points and percentage of points scored off turnovers is best in the conference. Alabama has lost three turnovers, but opponents have not capitalized on them for a point.
How would you like to have made this bet before the season? After five games, the leading kickoff man in the SEC insofar as putting the ball into the end zone for a touchback is Alabama's Cade Foster, who has kicked 21 of 26 into the end zone, 80.8 per cent.
Foster has also made the most field goals over 40 yards among SEC field goal kickers. He's 4-6. He also has a 52-yard field goal to his credit, which ties with Georgia's Marshall Morgan for longest.
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