Alabama is at the same point it was last year at this time—undefeated with the Florida Gators standing between the Crimson Tide and a BCS Championship bid. The Tide fell 31-20 to Florida last year after leading 20-17 after three quarters. To get over the hump and win this year, Alabama has four big questions to answer.
1. Can the Tide Put Pressure on Tebow?
Alabama tried to last year with the blitz, but Tebow led two scoring drives down the field in the fourth quarter to win. Florida had trouble early with protecting Tebow, but has improved as the season has gone on with a revamped lineup.
Nick Saban knows how accurate Tebow is when given time. I fully expect Alabama to bring pressure just as much as last year with its improved defensive line this year.
If the Tide can get pressure from its front four alone, that would be huge in stopping the Florida passing game.
2. Can Greg McElroy Repeat His Performance from Last Week?
I fully expect Charlie Strong to try and make McElroy beat the Gator defense through the air, especially after seeing what Auburn did last week in slowing down the Alabama running game.
For the game, McElroy was 21-of-31 for 218 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. But on the most important drive of his career, he was 7-for-8, including the game winning score.
If he can use that performance as a spring board this weekend, Alabama will be very hard to stop.
3. Can Javier Arenas Be Special on Special Teams?
Arenas has one punt return for a touchdown this season, and is averaging over 16 yards per return. On kickoffs, he is getting nearly 30 yards per return.
The Gators have only had four punts returned on them all season with a grand total of 13 yards netted. Florida is very good at covering kicks, as well allowing just 20 yards per return with zero touchdowns.
4. Can Alabama Stop the Dive Play?
Florida's spread option offense starts with the dive play up the middle by either the running back or Tebow. The Gators ran this play with great success against LSU, who has a defense nearly as talented as Alabama's.
If the dive opens up, it forces Alabama's linebackers to stay home, and not able to cover the edges, or go into pass coverage as much. And that means a long day for the Tide front seven.
Florida: 4 Questions For The SEC Championship