The best is still yet to come

The+best+is+still+yet+to+come

Jason Galloway

Alabama has been pushed to the limit this season, even overmatched at times.

The Crimson Tide’s 41-10 victory over Tennessee was refreshing – its first comfortable road win against a Southeastern Conference opponent – but heading into the regular season’s final four games, the Crimson Tide’s biggest tests are yet to come.

While Arkansas and South Carolina are now hovering around the bottom of the top 25, LSU and Auburn were both undefeated and in the top 6 heading into this past weekend.

LSU, Alabama’s next opponent after its bye week, lost in Auburn on Saturday, but still has a dangerously talented team.

Although LSU has had more than one stroke of luck to get where it is, the Tigers have still won those games. I’m a believer that Les Miles holds that team back, but they still certainly have the talent to defeat Alabama, especially under the lights in Baton Rouge.

Then a surging Mississippi State team comes to Tuscaloosa. I can’t see the Bulldogs beating the Tide in Bryant-Denny, but their only two losses are to LSU and a close loss to Auburn, two teams that Alabama has not played yet and probably the best two teams on the Tide’s schedule.

Mississippi State is no slouch like most years, and the Tide is lucky to have them at home.

Then the toughest game of the season: Auburn. I know most Alabama fans reading this are still under the delusion that Auburn is significantly inferior to Alabama. From an overall talent perspective, maybe that’s still somewhat true. If Cam Newton didn’t steal a laptop two years ago, the Tigers would have at least three losses right now.

But they do have Cam Newton, and he has been the best player in the entire country this season. He has already broken the Southeastern Conference record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season with four games to go, and he is the clear-cut favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

Alabama’s defense has the capacity to stop Newton and the Tigers’ offense, but some of the Tide’s young defensive players are still making inexperienced mistakes and missing tackles that would cost Alabama major yardage against someone like Newton.

Saying that, I do believe Alabama will win the Iron Bowl. Auburn’s only two road games this season have been three-point victories over Mississippi State and Kentucky. The Tide’s defense must continue to mature, though.

I believe Alabama will win the rest of its regular-season games, but I cannot be near as confident in this team as I was in last year’s team, and LSU and Auburn are the best two teams on the Tide’s entire schedule.