Alabama vs. Vanderbilt: The Crimson Tide's Biggest Obstacle Is Itself

Damon YoungCorrespondent IIOctober 8, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 01:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for yardage during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Yes Alabama will line up against another team on Saturday.

Yes, they will be in Black and Gold. Yes it will be Vanderbilt, but with all due respect to the Commodores, Alabama's greatest opponent over the next month will be the battle within.

Is there anyone out there besides Nick Saban who hasn't already jumped to November 5th on their calender?

The 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide seems to be getting the message.

The feel from this team is that they have something to prove. The hunger and drive that was missing a season ago was alive and well last weekend in Florida.

It manifested itself in what appears to be a vicious killer instinct.

This Alabama team isn't interested in beating you—they want to put their foot on your throat and finish you.

That word: finish.

It's what Alabama failed to do so many times in 2010. Whether it was the failure to respond in Columbia versus South Carolina, the inability to punch back against LSU, or the monumental collapse in the Iron Bowl this teams wants none of that.

Is it the drive of a Dont'a Hightower to prove to everyone that he is in fact back to the pre-knee injury Hightower?

Perhaps it's the push of the offensive line to set up shop between the tackles and crumble opposing defenses with Trent Richardson's running. The toughness it takes to bruise it up in the trenches was lacking at crucial times last season.

Richardson too wants to prove that he can be the man.

There are so many variables when it comes to a college football season, but through five games it looks as if Nick Saban has this team locked in.

Actually, it appears as if this team has itself locked in.

No wins are given to you in the SEC and Vanderbilt is 3-1. You have to go out there and win on the field, and every team is going to give Alabama their best.

With all that said, the Crimson Tide will likely be favored in every game they play the rest of the way, including the home match against LSU.

Will Alabama continue to stay dialed in? My suspicion is yes.