Alabama Coach Nick Saban Is Focused On Tough Schedule

"COACH'S CORNER"
With Two-Time AFC Coach of the Year RON MEYER

ALABAMA COACH NICK SABAN IS FOCUSED ON TOUGH SCHEDULE

If you were watching this past Saturday's Alabama/Florida game, you saw something in the second half that should influence your handicapping from this point forward in games involving the Crimson Tide.

Head Coach Nick Saban knows that his team has a very tough schedule this year. They had just played Arkansas. They have South Carolina on deck this Saturday in another big TV game. After that is Ole Miss and a trip to Tennessee without a week off. Later in the season, LSU and Auburn are lying in wait.

With a 24-6 halftime lead, Alabama could have continued firing on all cylinders to try and run up the score on hated Florida. Saban knew that would be a waste of energy. Look at the play calling in the second half:

FIRST SERIES
Run, short pass, short pass, incomplete pass, PUNT

(Note that Alabama's defense would score a touchdown on an interception return before the offense got the ball again, making the score 31-6)

SECOND SERIES
Run, run, short pass, PUNT

THIRD SERIES
Run, run, run, incomplete pass, run, PUNT

FOURTH SERIES
Run, run, run, run, run, run run, BALL GAME

What a fast second half!

You don't pile up impressive stats that way (which is why computer and stat guys often underrate Saban coach teams). But, you get the game over with while your team is on top. You don't risk injuries to your star players with wild and crazy plays. Put a win in the scorebook, and get ready for the next game.

That's 14 runs and 5 passes within a gameplan that was designed to run the clock. Simple hard nosed football that will help keep the Crimson Tide fresh for South Carolina this week. Saban has the big picture in mind, so I expect him to use a similar style when he has the luxury to do so. Of course, he had to rally late to beat Arkansas, and may find himself trailing in the fourth quarter again given the difficulty of his schedule...and the difficulty of playing a bunch of tough games in a row for college kids.

With this in mind:

  • Be careful laying big points with Alabama. This is just isn't a season where they have the luxury of putting on a show for the fans. If they want to win a national championship, they have to conserve their energy for a string of fired up opponents.
  • I can see laying single digit spreads, which is what Alabama covered the other night vs. Florida. That's particularly true if the Tide defense is matched up against a below average quarterback. It's easy to cover this size spread if the opponent is only going to score 3 points!
  • Only play Overs if the opponent has a versatile quarterback and a soft defense. Alabama doesn't want to get into any shootouts. It will be up to the opponent to create a high scoring scenario. That could happen. But, Alabama wants to get games over with not win Fantasy Leagues for guys in fraternities.
  • Monitor the fatigue level of Alabama as they get deeper into the season. It's rare for a great team to have this tough a schedule these days. So, we don't have many recent samples to look at for a comparison. I can tell you from my coaching experience at SMU that your best players do wear down during the course of the season (especially when they play in the South). You could see from the play-calling this past Saturday that Saban is already thinking about that.

I'm looking forward to watching Alabama try and run the table against this brutal schedule. Should they do so...which means winning the SEC championship in a 13th game, then topping somebody like Ohio State or Boise State in the 14th, I'd have to rank the performance as one of the greatest full seasons in college history. You may start getting tired of seeing Alabama in the TV listings every week. They've earned the right to be there with a very high level of play.

Of course, nobody gets tired of winning money with their Las Vegas bets! I hope you're having a successful season so far. If not, give COACH RON MEYER a call and get things turned around. I'm able to find the worst lines on the board every week because I see the game from a coach's perspective. Oddsmakers have their Power Ratings (which have been very soft this year), and they monitor the money coming in. THAT'S what they're focused on. I'm looking at the teams, their coaches, and the challenges they face. BIG DIFFERENCE!

You can purchase game day releases here at the website with your credit card a few hours before kickoff. We have a busy slate this week before Saturday even gets here:

WEDNESDAY: Alabama-Birmingham at Central Florida
THURSDAY: Nebraska at Kansas State
FRIDAY: Connecticut at Rutgers and Oklahoma State at Louisiana Lafayette

Then, Saturday's schedule is packed once again, including the Alabama/South Carolina matchup that could turn out to be the game of the day.

Seasonal packages are available online as well. If you have any questions about my service, call the office at 1-877-540-8787

Alabama won a National Championship last year because they've got the right man on the job. They just might be able to repeat this year though they'd better not take South Carolina for granted! If you want to maximize your win potential, it's time for YOU to put A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!

 

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