This time last week, this would have been a far more complicated article. Flash forward to the present, and Alabama is in the driver's seat to return to the national championship game.
With Kansas State and Oregon losing last week, Alabama was catapulted into the coveted second spot in the BCS rankings, and if they win out, they will not be denied a spot in the BCS title game.
So, here are the keys to Alabama avoiding a second loss before the end of the season.
Don't Look Past the Iron Bowl
Normally, this would not be in the realm of possibility for Alabama. This rivalry game against Auburn is as big as they come. However, Auburn is awful this season.
The Tigers are just 3-8 on the season and 0-7 in the SEC. They've spent many of those losses looking terrible.
However, this team did manage to play LSU tough in a 12-10 loss, and you know Auburn will be ready to hit Alabama with everything it has in this game.
For Auburn, this game is the only thing that could salvage an otherwise entirely forgettable season. For Alabama, this game is just a step towards a much bigger goal. That always presents upset possibilities.
Still, if Alabama plays anywhere near its potential, it will cruise to an easy win, which will lead to the SEC title game against Georgia.
Make Life Miserable for Aaron Murray
Georgia's offense is turning in a great season. It is the 21st most prolific scoring offense in the nation. In only two games this year has Georgia been held under 29 points. That came in a 35-7 loss to South Carolina and a 17-9 win over Florida.
Opposing defenses found success in those games by forcing Murray into uncharacteristic mistakes. For the season, Murray has thrown 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
In those two aforementioned games, Murray combined to throw for four interceptions and just one touchdown.
Alabama must force the Bulldogs into many passing downs and put heavy pressure on Murray.
The Crimson Tide's defense is well equipped to do just that. They have 14 picks on the season and 28 sacks (according to cfbstats.com).
Get the Running Game Going Against Georgia
Alabama has been rushing the ball well this season. It is averaging 5.4 yards per carry on its way to totaling 2,303 rushing yards.
In the Crimson Tide's lone loss, to Texas A&M, they rushed for a decent 122 yards, but they did so at just 3.9 yards per carry.
Now, A.J. McCarron is having a wonderful season, but he still needs the running game to help take the pressure off of him, and this will be no easy task against Georgia.
The Bulldogs have a solid rush defense, as they have allowed just 3.7 yards per rush.
Alabama must commit to the run early in this one and stick to it. This will make things easier on the passing game and help them control time of possession.
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