Don't cry for Alabama.
After losing to LSU in its first loss of the season last week, the Crimson Tide rebounded with a 24-7 win over Mississippi State in Starkville on Saturday night. The defense moved on from the LSU loss by holding Mississippi State to 131 yards of total offense, and Trent Richardson led the offense as per usual.
Here are five things we learned from the win over Mississippi State.
Eddie Lacy ran for nearly 100 yards on just 11 carries Saturday night, including a 32 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that wrapped up the win.
He and Trent Richardson combined for 223 yards on the ground, and his ability to step in for Richardson and hardly miss a beat becomes even more significant as the season winds down. Richardson carried the ball 32 times against Mississippi State and has more than 200 carries on the year.
Lacy, a more-than-capable backup, could start for most SEC teams.
After a bruising game against LSU last week, Alabama's defense showed up for the 11th straight week and held the Bulldogs to just 131 total yards in Starkville.
Mississippi State only rushed for 12 yards, averaging 0.4 yards per carry.
Alabama still has not given up more than 14 points to any team all season.
After combining to miss four kicks against LSU, Alabama kickers Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley each missed a field goal in the first half against Mississippi State.
Both kicks were well struck—rather than having any issues with technique, Foster and Shelley may be suffering more than anything from a lack of confidence.
Alabama has to shore up the kicking game if it still holds out hope of winning a championship of one kind or another this year.
It's difficult to imagine Arkansas beating LSU handily in Baton Rouge on the day after Thanksgiving—but not impossible.
That's what Alabama would need to happen to have a shot at winning the SEC West and playing for the conference championship.
Arkansas's offensive engine seems to have added a few cylinders in recent weeks, and if they could upset LSU in dramatic-enough fashion that the they jump LSU in the BCS rankings, Alabama would win the three-way tiebreaker (which would actually become a two-way tiebreaker if both Alabama and Arkansas finish the season ranked ahead of LSU in the BCS; Alabama would then win the two-way tiebreaker with Arkansas since the Tide won that head-to-head matchup earlier this year) and represent the West in Atlanta.
Even if the Crimson Tide don't make it to Atlanta, they could make it to New Orleans.
Alabama had already held onto a No. 3 BCS ranking after its loss last week. With Stanford and Boise State losing in Week 11, Alabama's chance of getting a rematch and redemption against LSU looks better than ever.
An undefeated Oklahoma State team might be the only one that could keep the Tide out of the national championship. Oklahoma plays at Stillwater at the end of the season, a game the Sooners definitely have the talent to win.
For now, Alabama just needs to focus on winning its last two contests, including the Iron Bowl in Auburn to end the year.