Well, after looking less than stellar for the past two weeks, Alabama took offense to that talk and did something about it.
For the second straight year, Alabama played their most complete game of the season to date against the Vols, and came away with a convincing victory once again.
This is Alabama's first two-game win streak over Tennessee since 1991-92.
So what else did we learn?
This Is a Team to the Fullest Extent
This team is not made up of individuals, and that is the biggest difference between this season and last.
Everyone on this team has the same mindset and the same goals: one game at a time and do what it takes to win.
It was around this time last season that the individuals started to emerge, and there are no signs of that happening again this season.
November Is Right around the Corner
With Saturday being Nov. 1, I'm going to go ahead and start this talk before anyone else does: November has not been Alabama's month.
The Tide have not won a game in November since 2005, and they didn't even score a touchdown in that last November win, a 16-0 win over Mississippi State.
For those who don't want to do the math, let me break it down for you: The Tide have lost nine straight November games. It breaks down to three losses to LSU, three to Auburn, two to Mississippi State, and one to Louisiana-Monroe.
However, there is something different about this team. It partly has something to do with the previously discussed team, but also something in the locker room.
Each player in Tuscaloosa has a poster in their locker. It has shots of two scoreboards from last year—both losses, both in November.
Alabama has learned not to take any team lightly, and that will surely hold true, but nonetheless...
Let's Go ahead and See Those "Alabama Will Be Upset This Week" Articles
You know what I'm talking about, and don't even try to play dumb.
They were popular for Ole Miss after they had beaten Florida on the road. They were popular last week for Tennessee with Fulmer trying to save his job. They will be popular this week because:
1. Penn State has become a media darling now that they have gotten past Ohio State.
2. Alabama's loss last season to LAMO.
Alabama has all of a sudden become the team that the country wants to fail, and it seems to have happened overnight on a national scale.
Sure, Alabama doesn't always win pretty, but there are still numbers to suggest not only how this team has gotten its ranking, but how they still deserve it.
- 1:15: Total amount of time this season Alabama has spent trailing in a game. That's out of 480 minutes.
- 101-6: Alabama has outscored their opponents by this margin in the first quarter through eight games.
- 1: Number of rushing touchdowns allowed by Alabama this season.
Once again, this goes back to Alabama being a team, and it's the usual Alabama team. No Heisman candidate, but they still win.
So once again, Alabama gets a good victory and it got some help from some players you would have thought would normally contribute.
Roy Upchurch has had his fair share of runs this season, but he had the hot hand on Saturday night.
Josh Chapman stepped up in the absence of Mt. Cody to deliver a solid game from the nose tackle position.
Dont'a Hightower managed to lead the team in tackles against the Vols.
Of course, that is one game, but what about the season?
So, this week's topic is: Who is your pick for surprise player of the year for Alabama so far?
In other words, who on this Crimson Tide squad has done the most to impress you this year after you expected them to contribute less than they have, or maybe not even at all?
On a team that has risen out of obscurity this season, there are plenty of choices, and really this whole team has been a surprise.
So, as always, you can leave your comments below or write an article about your surprise player of the year so far.
That's all for this week, guys.
Thanks, and Roll Tide,
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