Alabama’s strength of schedule looks like it may not be needed as the Crimson Tide likely control their own destiny when it comes to the College Football Playoff. There is a lot of parity within the power conferences this season and having just one loss should get you a spot in the final four. However, there are still a handful of undefeated teams ahead of them so it may still play a role in the committee’s mind.
This week the Tide’s non-conference schedule took a hit with a couple of losses while last week’s win in Athens may not have been as impressive as we first thought.
Week 1: vs. Wisconsin – Win at Nebraska 23-21
Joel Stave threw the ball 50 times and a late 46-yard field goal gave the Badgers a comeback-win for their first conference victory of the season.
Next week: vs. Purdue, 11:00 am CST, BTN
Week 2: Middle Tennessee – Loss at Western Kentucky 28-58
The Raiders struggled early and gave up 52 first half points. Brent Stockstill threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns but the defense gave him no help in their second straight loss.
Next week: Florida International, 11:00 am CST
Week 3: Ole Miss – Win vs. New Mexico State 52-3
Chad Kelly got back on track with a 380-yard, three touchdown performance. The rushing game added 265 yards and four different players had a rushing touchdown on the day. The defense bounced back nicely with two interceptions and only allowing 2.6 yards per rush.
Next week: at Memphis, 11:00 am CST, ABC/ESPN2
Week 4: Louisiana Monroe – Loss at Tulsa 24-34
The Warhawks fell into a hole early and Garrett Smith had one of his worst performances of the year. The defense allowed 563 yards and the kicker missed two short field goals leading to Monroe’s fourth loss of the season.
Next week: Appalachian State, 6:00 pm CST, ESPN3
Week 5: at Georgia – Loss at Tennessee 31-38
Georgia was supposed to bounce back from the Washout but they ran into a strong Tennessee offense. Greyson Lambert completed less than 50 percent of his passes and Nick Chubb got hurt on the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage. They couldn’t make up for those things and dropped their second straight SEC game.
Next week: Missouri, 6:30 pm CST, SECN
Next week: BYE
Week 7: at Texas A&M – BYE
The Aggies are well-rested after the bye week and are ready for the big atmosphere. Last season’s 59-0 loss in Tuscaloosa is long gone and players are a year older now. Kyle Allen is the clear starting quarterback and will play the whole game. Plus, they have a pretty special freshman, Christian Kirk, who can change the game on his own.
Next week: Alabama, 2:30 pm CST, CBS
Week 8: Tennessee – Win vs. Georgia 38-31
The Volunteers finally looked as good as everyone thought they’d be. Joshua Dobbs finished the night with 430 total yards of offense with five total touchdowns. That is some Heisman-style numbers. He hit nine different receivers and the defense made the big play at the end to clinch it.
Next week: BYE
Week 10: LSU – Win “at” South Carolina 45-24
Leonard Fournette didn’t run for 200 yards but it wasn’t the end as backup running back Darrius Guice out-gained him. The two combined for 319 yards and two touchdowns while the third-string Darrel Williams ran for two touchdowns of his own. Brandon Harris continues to improve with a 228-yard, two touchdown performance on 18 of 28 passing.
Next week: Florida, 6:00 pm CST, ESPN
Week 11: at Mississippi State – Win vs. Troy, 45-17
Dak Prescott didn’t eclipse 100 yards of total offense but he didn’t need to as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 38-0 halftime lead. Fred Ross had two touchdowns, one on a punt return, while De’Runnya Wilson added a 48 yard touchdown catch of his own.
Next week: Louisiana Tech, 11:00 am CST, SECN
Week 12: Charleston Southern – Win vs. Monmouth 37-7
The Hammond-Holloway duo combined for 150 more rushing yards and three touchdowns in the conference opener. The Buccaneers sit at 23rd in the FCS Coaches Poll.
Next week: at Presbyterian, 2:00 pm CST
Week 13: at Auburn – BYE
The bye week came at the right time for the Tigers but it turns into a short week as they had to Lexington for a tough SEC Thursday night game. Gus Malzahn still doesn’t have things completely figured out on offense as even a wide receiver’s name has been thrown into the quarterback situation. This week is one of the best chances for Auburn to get a conference win and could get things back on track.
Next week: at Kentucky, 6:00 pm CST on Thursday, ESPN
Caleb Turrentine is a contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.