Meetings of the Minds: Alabama’s weakness?

Alabama is putting together a truly dominant year. To describe any part of the Crimson Tide as a “weakness” is really more a matter of degree.

That said, if ‘Bama has a flaw, what would it be?

First off, I agree that to describe any “weakness” with Alabama is to nitpick at this point.

Frankly, watching this team, that has been my biggest takeaway: I don’t think they have one.

Statistically, the defense is right on par with last year’s historically great one. A.J. McCarron has developed into the best quarterback that Nick Saban has had at Alabama. There’s more depth at running back than in years past. The Crimson Tide have three or four legitimate go-to wide receivers, too. And, oh, by the way, they also happen to have one of the best offensive lines I’ve ever seen in college football.

At this point, I don’t think the Tide have any tangible weakness, but if there was one that might concern me, it’s the “intangible” one of experience. Say what you want about McCarron, but he’s never played in an environment like he’s going to on Saturday night, and neither have many of the defensive starters. Alabama’s best running back (T.J. Yeldon) and wide receiver (Amari Cooper) haven’t either, meaning that they could, hypothetically, be prone to an unexpected mistake. And as we know, one mistake could turn a game like this.

Otherwise, that’s the best I’ve got.

I’m not sure if Alabama is the “best” college football team I’ve ever seen; time will tell on that. If you are into sports betting, you can bet on them winning the National Championship yet AGAIN next season.

Because they are the team with the fewest flaws.

Their flaw? Ummm… An ultra-paranoid head coach.

Reason I say that is sometimes you can go over the edge, and we all know that championship teams find a way to live on the right side of that edge. If Saban finds a way to go too crazy in his paranoia, it could become a distraction to the players.

Having said that, this could be the best team I’ve seen since perhaps the mid-1980s.

I will throw this one out there:

This team hasn’t been challenged yet.

I realize that Saban is a great coach, and I realize that they have some experienced players on the team – including some guys that have been around for both of the titles that Saban has won in Tuscaloosa.

But this group of 100-plus young men, this depth chart of about 70 guys… They haven’t faced a challenge.

They’ve trailed for a grant total of 15 second this year in the game against Ole Miss. That has been the length, breadth and depth of the difficulties that this team has endured this season on the field.

Earlier this season, the tide went from the fourth quarter of the Michigan game through the fourth quarter of the Florida Atlantic game without allowing a score. Not just a touchdown—a score!

In 32 quarters of play, they’ve pitched shutouts in 21 of those quarters. I’m not saying that’s not impressive… but they haven’t played a great offense.

Their offense has been solid, although they haven’t really faced a challenge either. But I want to see what happens to ‘Bama when someone toes the line and deigns to go punch for punch with this group.

In general, I consider experience pretty overrated. I’ll take talented youngsters over not-so-talented veterans, and ‘Bama has plenty of the former.

With this group, I do wonder how they will respond in the big moments. For all the talk of the Tide’s dominance in the second game between these two teams, ‘Bama came up a little small in LSU’s regular season win.

I’ve been to Tiger Stadium a couple times and can attest to just how intimidating that atmosphere is. What happens when guys like T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper are under the spotlight?

When that’s your biggest flaw, you’ve got a damn good team. But it’s still a concern.