Monday, October 15, 2012

Crimson Tide prepare for “season-defining” games

Although Alabama head coach Nick Saban would never admit it, and would “bless out” any individual who professed it to his face, the Crimson Tide football season has yet to begin. However, within days…that will change.

While Alabama currently stands at 6-0 overall, and 3-0 in the SEC, the competition will only get tougher, and the stakes will only increase.

The trek to Knoxville this weekend, to face the Tennessee Volunteers, will mark the beginning of a three-game stretch that will potentially define the season for Alabama. While the Vols are currently 3-3 overall, and 0-3 in the SEC, focus and intensity will be paramount in setting the tone for a critical three-week period.

Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley

Following the Tide’s rivalry game at Neyland Stadium, ‘Bama will return home to face Mississippi State. In what could be argued as the toughest game of the regular season, the Bulldogs have not only lived-up to their preseason hype, but exceeded the expectations of many pundits.

An unblemished MSU squad invading Bryant-Denny Stadium could, in retrospect, be measured as the “game of the year” in the SEC, depending on how the regular season concludes.

While the contest against MSU will be critical, and potentially difficult, the game also holds significance due to the contest that follows. Call it a “trap game” or merely consider it as “two tough games in a row”…but MSU could take advantage of an Alabama squad looking ahead to LSU.

Saban and Miles "showdown" - Nov. 3

And in the spirit of looking ahead, the final game of this tough three-game stretch, is indeed…the aforementioned Tigers. If things remain the status quo, the top-ranked Crimson Tide would head to Baton Rouge to tangle with the one-loss, top-five heavyweight. As has been the case in essentially every head-to-head contest since 2008, the fate of the entire season, for both programs, may very well be at stake on Nov. 3.

To say Alabama needs to implement the “one game at a time” mindset is an understatement. Thankfully, Nick Saban is the undisputed “king” of mental discipline. Given the fact that so many positive or negative factors could bleed from one game into the next, Alabama will need to not only have physical health…but mental health.

While so many experts and “football trolls” want to discredit Alabama’s strength of schedule and quality opponents, every question will be answered in due time.

How good is Alabama? The nation will know in 21 days…

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