Alabama Football: Highlighting Toughest Matchups for Crimson Tide in SEC Play

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks downfield for an open player 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 Alabama Crimson Tide's schedule is shaping up to be a path that ends at the SEC Championship. No road, though, is without speed bumps.

They get to avoid a competitive top-end of the SEC East, with no games against Florida, Georgia or South Carolina. A fortunate draw that Nick Saban's team will make sure his team doesn't forget.

After LSU needed four quarters to dispatch a middling Auburn team, their clash with Alabama on November 3rd may not be the two best teams in the country after all. Even with that game on the road, 'Bama seems poised to be the victor through the lens of the eye test.

All in all, Alabama may only need to worry about beating themselves. They do play the games, though; let's map out the Crimson Tide's toughest matchups en route to Atlanta.


The Crimson Tide will almost definitely be undefeated heading into Knoxville, where they will be surrounded by one of Neyland Stadium's most hostile crowds in years.

This Tennessee team lacks the defensive bodies to hold off Alabama's running game for 60 minutes, but they could score with the Crimson Tide by virtue of their NFL-ready receivers on the offensive end. Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson both stand over 6'3" and are a load to handle for any secondary.

Tyler Bray will look to make big passing plays down the field to keep the Vols in range for the massive upset. Sounds like plenty of opportunities for Robert Lester and Dee Milliner to do what they do best: takeaways.


Just because they didn't look dominant last weekend, does not mean the LSU Tigers will go away quietly in Tiger Stadium.

The Crimson Tide's SEC rival will be looking for revenge come November 3rd and the Tide will have to weather the storm of the home crowd to do it. LSU certainly didn't lose in their home building last year.

The Tigers boast a formidable combination that led them to a victory over 'Bama last season: running game and defense. Sound familiar? This clash will be smash mouth football at its finest.

If Tigers' QB Zach Mettenberger can make more plays than AJ McCarron, though, then college football viewers will have a real game on their hands.

Mississippi State

Look who's hanging around the SEC West. The Bulldogs are no slouch and barring a setback against Tennessee, they could be 7-0 heading into Tuscaloosa.

For all the talk about an undefeated clash between Alabama-LSU yet again, with the Tigers heading to Gainesville on October 6th, doesn't a Bulldogs-Crimson Tide matchup seem like a more realistic undefeated matchup?

Regardless of record, Dan Mullen's team will play the Crimson Tide with a full playbook. Their quarterback Tyler Russell leads the offense, throwing eight touchdowns and only one interception thus far. The defense oboists a formidable secondary that could give McCarron fits, led by future pro Jonathan Banks.

It may be a stretch not knowing how the Bulldogs defensive line will hold up against the Alabama rushing attack, but Miss. St. will have this game circled as their Super Bowl. That has to count for something.