Alabama football fans have spent the majority of the 2022 season watching a subpar product. The defense has been solid but nothing special, struggling to get stops in Alabama’s biggest games. The offense has been even worse, looking somewhat disconnected in even its best performances this season.
The numbers show that the Crimson Tide is still an elite college football team, but this is hardly the case. Alabama ranks fifth nationally in scoring at 40.0 points per game and 11th in scoring defense at 17.2 points per game. These stats are hardly representative of the team the Tide has been all year. This is largely because the figures are skewed by a quartet of cupcake games against overmatched opponents.
Alabama beat Utah State 55-0 in the season opener, UL Monroe 63-7 in week three, Vanderbilt 55-3 in week four, and Austin Peay 34-0 last week. In these four games, Bama outscored its opponents by a combined score of 207-10. The Crimson Tide averaged 51.8 points while surrendering just 2.5 points per contest for an average margin of nearly 50 points per game.
Alabama Football has looked mortal against Power 5 competition
In stark contrast, Alabama outscored its opponents just 233-179 in the remaining seven games. It has averaged just 33.3 points per game and allowed 25.6 points per game in these games, which make up nearly two-thirds of the regular season schedule. This margin of roughly a touchdown shows how competitively opposing teams have played Alabama this year.
Despite the slim margin, the Crimson Tide has managed to go 5-2 in these games. The two glaring losses will dominate the narrative, but Alabama has done a pretty good job of closing out tight contests. Additionally, five of the seven opponents were ranked at the time of the game, and a sixth (Texas) is now currently ranked.
Nick Saban’s team has played five games that were decided by a single possession, and each came down to the final minute of the game. Such closely-contested games have been rarities for much of the Saban era, but they have become the norm in the past two seasons.
Alabama football fans are inherently aware that the 2022 team has played far below the program standard. Still, it can be shocking to omit outlier games against inferior competition and see just how mediocre Bama has been.
The 2021 Iron Bowl was one of those dreaded nail-biters; a four-overtime classic in Jordan-Hare that was decided on the last play of the game. It would be on-brand for this 2022 Alabama team to roll out a similar performance in Bryant-Denny. Ideally, the Crimson Tide will buck the trend this week and end its regular season with a lopsided Iron Bowl win.