Alabama Football: Breaking Down What Has to Go Wrong for Crimson Tide to Lose

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide drinks water in between plays while playing against the Florida Atlantic Owls on September 22, 2012 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Florida Atlantic 40-7.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

The nation's No. 1-ranked college football team, Alabama, has looked unbeatable through four weeks, and has traversed a third of its schedule with absolute ease.

After two shutouts in four games and blowout wins over preseason Top 10 programs Michigan and Arkansas, the question must be asked: What's it going to take for the Crimson Tide to lose this fall?

Barring a natural disaster or a massive team-wide suspension, Alabama looks set to finish perfect and repeat as BCS National Champions this winter. 

Though it's hard to even imagine Nick Saban's squad dropping a single game this season, there are several ways it could happen. 

Here we break down the most likely culprits.


A.J. McCarron Goes Down

If Alabama lost junior quarterback A.J. McCarron for any reason, then its offense would quickly become a liability. Backups Blake Sims and Phillip Ely are too inexperienced to pick up the slack in the passing game. 

McCarron has thrown for 819 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, providing Alabama with a stellar aerial assault that has made them a more offensive-minded unit over recent games.

Though the Tide could lean on their sturdy running game, they would become one-dimensional in no time. Teams would crowd the box and zero in on leading rushers T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy.

Even then the opposition would have to fight past Alabama's second-ranked scoring defense, which is allowing just over 5.3 points per game this season. 


Turnover Bug Hits

The worst thing a phenomenal football team can do to cost itself a game is turn the ball over. Of course, Alabama rarely commits offensive mistakes, but if the Tide loses focus at any time, they too are susceptible to a sloppy game.

Heading into Week 5, Alabama has turned the ball over just twice in four games, compared to the 12 turnovers the Tide have forced over the same amount of time. 

Perhaps, if the conditions are just right on the road sometime this season and there are a few fumbles here and an errant throw there, then the Tide could find themselves behind in the turnover battle and in serious trouble.

The Tide turned the ball over twice in their last loss—a 9-6 overtime defeat at home to LSU. Alabama will travel to LSU on November 3 in what will be its toughest test to date. If McCarron gets nicked up and the Tide turns the ball over in Baton Rouge then maybe, just maybe the Tide will slip up.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more College Football for more predictions, reaction and analysis. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter