Alabama tasted defeat for just the second time in two years in Week 11. Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M came into Tuscaloosa and delivered a significant blow to the Tide's chances of defending their national championship.
The game on Saturday against Western Carolina was a planned break for the team, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Prior to losing to Texas A&M, the Tide were taken to the brink against LSU. They needed an easy win—even if it did come over the equivalent of a community college. The Tide smoked Western Carolina 49-0 to prevent an unlikely two-game skid.
AJ McCarron came out and briefly worked a perfect passing performance. Granted, he threw only six passes, but he did not throw an incompletion nonetheless. The running game was predictably unstoppable against subpar competition.
Six different Tide players combined for 40 rushing attempts and 300 yards.
Sometimes, there is nothing that aids a recovery from a loss like a lopsided win. In a perfect Tide world, this game would have been a break to ready the Tide for the stretch run in a perfect season. As things turned out, it served as a way to lick their wounds.
Next week, the Tide's competition will escalate—a little.
The Auburn Tigers will be destroyed by the wrath of an angry Tide team. The Tigers are in disarray, and judging by the state of their current team, this game should be renamed the Tin Bowl.
In reality, the Tigers don't have a much better shot to beat Alabama than Western Carolina had on Saturday. That's a bold and sad statement, but it's true.
After two easy wins, the Tide should be prepared mentally for the SEC championship game. If they get some help from Kansas State and Oregon's opponents, they could get one more shot to defend their title.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games