SEC Championship: Alabama 53, Florida 16. What Does It All Mean?
Alabama flexed its muscle and took over the game in all phases to take yet another SEC championship. What does it all mean?
Alabama needs to face a quarterback
With only some offense to Austin Appleby, Nick Fitzgerald, Danny Etling, Trevor Knight, Joshua Dobbs and all the other quarterbacks on the Crimson Tide schedule so far other than Chad Kelly – who helped lead Ole Miss to a dogfight of a performance in a 48-43 loss – the Alabama defense needs to face a dangerous quarterback.
Depending on the opponents, it’ll be fun to see what the D can do – and what the quarterback can do – when the Crimson Tide has to face a J.T. Barrett, or a Deshaun Watson, or a Jake Browning on teams with a defense, too.
Alabama showed just how amazing a team it is
In all phases. The Crimson Tide defense came up with a pick six, the special teams blocked a punt for a score, and the offense got scores from a host of stars. Six different Bama players scores in a methodical all-around effort that showed just how dominant this team really is.
So Florida got off to a great start. So it looked like a fight about 20 minutes in. So the Gator D came up charged up. Alabama just kept grinding and grinding and grinding, and eventually the running game took over, and the defense talent stuffed everything the Gators tried to do. The big problem was …
Florida couldn’t run the ball
No one can run on the Crimson Tide, but Florida couldn’t win if the game was in the hands of QB Austin Appleby – and it didn’t. The Gators ran 30 times for a net zero yards with no run of more than seven yards. Florida had to get physical right away, it had to control the clock, and it had to keep its defense rested, but instead, the game got out of hand. Appleby threw for 261 yards and two scores, but his three picks – including the game-turning pick six – killed the early momentum. It’s not his fault, but he’s just not the type of quarterback who can rise up and beat an Alabama when nothing else is working.
The SEC has turned into Nick Saban’s world to play with, and as he always says, and as he always emphasizes, winning this thing matters. It would seem like it might lose a little luster considering the Crimson Tide plays for national championships, but it’s more than just a step. This is his seventh trip to the title game in nine years, and his seventh SEC championship – with two at LSU, too. In today’s day and age, win the SEC, get into the playoff. Saban continues to be fantastic at doing both.
Not that he was in the Heisman chase anyway
Halfway through the season it seemed like Jalen Hurts might have been in the hunt for the Heisman after a few brilliant performances. That sort of petered out, and not because he wasn’t great. Alabama is such a complete and total team, he hasn’t had to carry things on his own as he continues to work within the system and the offense to do everything right. It was a quiet game – 11-of-20 for 138 yards and a score with just one rushing yard – but he didn’t turn the ball over. He didn’t need to be flashy, and he didn’t do anything on the big stage to fire up Heisman voters, but whatever. He did his job.