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In Alabama’s Defense, Top-Ranked Tide A Total Team Effort

Watching Alabama play football is like watching Elon Musk crank a Tesla from his manufacturing plant. You plug them in, watch them roll (Tide) and listen to the nation revel about something definitely state-of-the-art.

Tiebreaker.com remains on cruise control by honoring the world’s best team.

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Alabama

Every week, the Tide does something that makes your imagination meander.

Could Alabama beat the Oakland Raiders?

This might be the greatest team in program history, which is saying a lot. It manhandled a darn good LSU team last week on the road, shutting the Tigers out 29-0 by simply suffocating their offense.

We talk a lot about Tua Tagovailoa because he’s the quarterback and the rules say that’s where most of the credit should go. But last week, Quinnen Williams, a redshirt sophomore, was even more dominating with 10 tackles, 3 ½ tackles for a loss and 2 ½ sacks. He led the unit that held the Tigers to 196 yards (12 rushing).

With Mississippi State coming Saturday, there is little reason to believe things won’t keep rolling merrily along. Consider that the Tide’s offense has already broken its program record for touchdown receptions with 33 in just nine games. It took the 2014 team 14 games to reach 32.

One last thing: Alabama has already scored 462 points (51.3 average). The 2008 Florida team, which won the national championship, was coached by Urban Meyer and quarterbacked by Tim Tebow, made SEC history by scoring 611 (43.6).

Clemson

Unless you root for Notre Dame or Michigan, you can’t wait for Clemson to play Alabama in the national championship game. We’d add Georgia to that list, but the Bulldogs will get their chance in the SEC title game.

Caution Boston College, the Tigers are an offensive steamroller. They rushed for 492 yards and gained 661 in its 77-16 win over Louisville last week. Clemson had scored as many as 77 points only once since 1915.

There is more: Over its last four games, which the Tigers have won by at least 30 points, they have outscored opponents 240-36. There is more: The 240 points are the most Clemson has ever scored in four straight games, breaking a mark set by the 1900-01 team that racked up 208, including 122 in one game against Guilford. There is more: The 204-point gap is also the largest of any four-game roll in ACC history. And there’s this: Only Clemson is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in total offense (522.6) and defense (263.9).

At this point, we’d be happy to take any questions.

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Notre Dame

The bad news is this weekend’s game at Florida State will not go by the book. That’s because QB Ian Book is out because of a rib injury he suffered last week against Northwestern.

This is a pretty big deal. Book leads the nation in completion percentage (74.5) with 15 TD passes and only four interceptions. Senior Brandon Wimbush, who lost his job to Book prior to the Wake Forest game, will take his place. Wimbush had completed only 55.3 percent with one TD pass and four INTs.

Notre Dame football historians understand November has recently been an unkind month. In 2017, a 2-2 record – losses to Miami and Stanford – ejected the Irish from national championship contention. In 2016, the Irish lost to Navy, Virginia Tech and USC. In 2015, they lost to Stanford in the season finale, also costing them a playoff position.

Georgia

Last week’s game against Kentucky might have been the biggest for the Wildcats since Tim Couch was big man on campus in the late 1990s. But the Bulldogs quieted the crowd from the start and were never really challenged during their 34-17 win.

The victory wrapped up the SEC East and set the stage for the rematch of last season’s title game with Alabama, a loss the Bulldogs likely will never get over. That game will be played Dec. 1 in Atlanta.

Against Kentucky, tailback D’Andre Swift ran for 157 yards on just 16 carries and scored two TDs, including one for 83 yards. That was the largest sample of a ground game that punished the Wildcats for 331 rushing yards.

Now the Bulldogs get to play Auburn, which has allowed barely over 17 points per game. This will be interesting since Georgia leads the SEC in rushing offense (233.8) and the Tigers allow just 133.9.

Michigan

We welcome the Wolverines to our Top 5 poll for the first time this season. You’ll remember how angry the alumni was with coach Jim Harbaugh after they opened the season with a 24-17 loss to the Irish in South Bend?

Well, everybody is pleased as punch now, especially after last week’s 42-7 drubbing of Penn State in Ann Arbor.

Michigan plays Rutgers on Saturday and their fans – and media –  are asking for blood because of the obvious mismatch it represents. They want a Clemson-like demolition of the Big Ten’s worst program to prove how powerful the Wolverines are. Michigan, with the top defense in the nation, is a five-TD favorite.

There is precedent for a horror show. Michigan battered Rutgers 78-0 the last time they visited New Jersey in 2016 and didn’t even have to pay the toll on the George Washington Bridge in the process.

Rutgers QB Artur Sitkowski has four TD passes and 15 INTs in charge of the offense that averages fewer points than anyone in the country. Remember, the Nittany Lions managed just 68 rushing yards and 186 total yards against Michigan’s defense.

Light a candle for the Scarlet Knights.

 

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