If your game plan to beat Alabama is "just score a lot," then odds are you probably want to go back to the drawing board, hit the recruiting trail and work on your strength and conditioning because that game plan won't work. The Crimson Tide may well lose a game in 2012, but it is unlikely that one of the point happy, defense light offensive focused teams will be the one to do it.
Obviously in this equation we have to mention Alabama's defense. They get stops. They are a team built to combine both speed and power in shutting down offenses. They get after the quarterback, play on the opposition's side of the line of scrimmage and they have phenomenal players on all three levels of defense.
Teams will get some plays on the Tide, especially if they gameplan well early. Perhaps a team can rip off a big run, complete a big pass. The point here is not to say that Alabama would step on the field and mash out teams because their defense is so good.
Rather, the point here is that while a team's offense might be able to win a few rounds against the Tide, the real knockout shot would come from the Crimson Tide's offense.
In other words, scoring a few touchdowns and field goals is nice, but if you can't stop the other team from scoring then you are in trouble. And for a team whose game plan is "try to win by lighting up the scoreboard" they will have a tough time stopping the Tide's attack.
That nine-yard Eddie Lacy run? That's Bama's "scheme." The Crimson Tide's offense is a unit that's going to bust their opponent in the mouth, control the tempo of the game and abuse the opposition.
If getting in the mud, playing a little rough and stopping the power-O is not your thing, then you're going to have a long day against Alabama. Interestingly enough, that describes so many teams who pride themselves on their high flying offensive attacks.
Simply put, if you don't have a complete team then you're going to have a tough time beating Alabama. They beat you up, wear you down and around the third quarter most teams just break against the Tide.
In the last four-plus seasons it's taken some special efforts to hand the Tide their six total losses—a combination of run-threat at quarterback and forcing the Alabama defense to defend the field vertically. As we saw in the Iron Bowl.
And yes, defensive effort.
Florida brought a top-notch defense in 2008. Utah's defense harassed Alabama and disrupted their line. South Carolina got a massive defensive effort from their stingy defense in 2010. LSU's 2010 defense was among the nation's best. Auburn got Nick Fairley and the rest Auburn's defense to rise to the occasion in the second half in 2010. LSU in 2011 speaks for itself as far as solid defenses, plus some special teams help, goes.
Right now it looks like Alabama is the best team in the nation. If you're one of those "just score a lot of points" teams, take note on the formula for beating the Tide, because that's your strategy ain't i
Interestingly enough, and they'll be tested as the year goes on, Oregon's defense looked stout in their first legitimate contest. Yes, they took a big loss with John Boyett's injury, but as a whole the Ducks are playing well under Nick Aliotti, and monitoring their progress should be interesting. As noted, they kicked off their conference season playing sound defense.
Alabama can be beaten, you just have to bring your whole team and be ready for a fist fight to do it.