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Alabama vs. Georgia Southern: Tide's Title Hopes Reeling After 45-21 Victory

Jimmy McMurreyAnalyst IINovember 19, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 19:  Running back Eddie Lacy #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide drags members of the Georgia Southern Eagles defense, including defensive tackle Brent Russell #66, during the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Alabama hosted Georgia Southern today, and they looked particularly dreadful.  They gave up a season-high amount of yards, struggled against an undersized defense and officially have no argument as to why they should be ahead of Oregon.

That is how the voters will see it, at least.  It's not my personal opinion, but the stark reality of the BCS.  

The renewed title hopes for the Tide put them into a tailspin when they forgot they had to play a game today.  I covered this in-depth in an earlier article, "Oklahoma State's Loss Could be Deadly Distraction for Tide".  It wasn't deadly in the sense of a loss, but it certainly put a serious bruise on 'Bama's reputation in the polls.

The score at halftime was 24-14, with Alabama leading.  One of those touchdowns came on a blocked field goal that Dre Kirpatrick returned for the score.

The score could have been 27-14, but Cade Foster, very characteristically and unsurprisingly, missed another field goal.  It was a 47-yard attempt, but his inability to hit mid to long-range kicks is no longer a shock, but is expected.

The offense put up 45 points by the final whistle, but for the most part struggled.  The fact that Trent Richardson was in the game well into the fourth quarter and carried the ball 32 times--yet again--speaks volumes.  The Tide really needed all three of Trent's touchdowns and his 175 rushing yards to make this a game.

There weren't nearly as many benchwarmers on the field as those that payed the steep pay-per-view price were expecting.  Most starters played until the final whistle.  

The defense gave up a season high 21 points and a whopping 302 rushing yards on 39 carries against a team that utilized the triple option, and the Tide defenders looked lost as the Eagles continued to rack up the first downs.  

Once again, Trent Richardson spent an entire game having to break tackles in the backfield.
Once again, Trent Richardson spent an entire game having to break tackles in the backfield.Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

When the stats are updated come Sunday, the Tide will not be the top rushing defense in the nation, no, not even close.  

They gave up some huge plays to Georgia Southern.  An 82-yard rushing touchdown, a 39-yard touchdown pass and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  Giving up big plays like that against an FCS school is hardly the kind of action that will get them into the national championship.

Alabama may have come away with a win, and it was a rather convincing win against an FCS opponent.  Georgia Southern just might be one of the best teams in the FCS, and they are arguably better than numerous teams not only in the BCS, but on Alabama's and LSU's schedule as well. 

They are one tough football team.  But they are an FCS team.  No matter how good they are, they are an FCS team.  And the voters will see this, and cast their ballots accordingly.

The final score may have been 45-21, but other than the loss to LSU this was the Tide's worst game of the season.  

The dreaming is over, Tide fans.  It's a harsh thing to accept, but unless Arkansas can beat LSU, or Oregon loses to USC, the BCS National Championship game will host Les Miles and the Tigers against what is likely to be Oregon.  

Giving up 21 points to a FCS school in a win pales in comparison to stomping golden boy Andrew Luck in a blowout on his home turf.  

The Oregon Ducks will jump Alabama in the polls if they beat USC, there is no doubt about it.  

For a while, fans thought if Oklahoma State and Stanford lost then Alabama would get into the title game.  Now, yet another team must fall, Oregon.  

Alabama may not have controlled their own destiny, but Georgia Southern had a signature game--despite losing--and have very likely put Alabama back out of the national championship.  

Many more dominoes out of the Tide's hands must fall, and only someone like Les Miles gets that lucky.  

Set a course for the Sugar Bowl, Crimson Tide.  

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