What it takes to beat Bama...

Windsortide

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Everybody and their brother in the media seems to have one of a number of opinions - almost all involving a "mobile" quarterback - about what it takes to beat Bama. Few of them, however, ever seem to actually give anything but a singular, anecdotal example as evidence for their claims. So, let's take a look at what it's taken to beat Bama over the last 9 football seasons...

I'm going with the last nine seasons as that constitutes the 11 losses since the 2011 loss to LSU - which is the veritable exception that proves all rules and is as much of an outlier as one could really envision. Even going back that far, it should be noted that there has been a significant shift in both offensive and defensive tendencies and strategies for Bama from the early part of this stretch to now but there are enough similarities that they warrant inclusion.

So, here's the list:
2019 - LSU
2019 - Auburn
2018 - Clemson
2017 - Auburn
2016 - Clemson
2015 - Ole Miss
2014 - Ole Miss
2014 - Ohio State
2013 - Auburn
2013 - Oklahoma
2012 - Texas A&M

First, let's dispel the notion that the terms "mobile quarterback" and "running quarterback" are synonymous. If they were, then opposing QBs would have been doing significant damage against Bama in most, if not all, of Bama's last 11 losses. However, here are the aggregate rushing stats by QBs against Bama in those losses:

165 attempts for 627 yards (3.8 yards/rush) for 6 TDs.

Only once did opposing QBs break 100 yards rushing or score more than a single, rushing touchdown (2017 Auburn).
Only thrice did opposing QBs average at least 5.0 yards per rush (2019 Auburn, 2017 Auburn, & 2012 Texas A&M).

So, if Bama's kryptonite isn't simply a quarterback with running ability, there must be other factors. What about the most consistently telling stat we have as a correlation to winning or losing - turnovers? I'm glad you asked...

In those 11 losses, Alabama has turned the ball over 18 times to its opponents 7. Yes, those 11 losses resulted in a -11.0 turnover margin.

Only once did Alabama win the turnover battle (2016 Clemson).


But why would all the talking heads talk about quarterbacks so much when talking about what it takes to beat Bama? Again, I'm glad you asked. Because there's something very interesting about what all those opposing quarterbacks have done in Bama's last 11 losses. Here are the aggregate passing stats of Bama's opponents in those 11 games:

246 completions in 379 passes (64.9% completion) for 27 TDs and 2 INTs for an NCAA Passer Rating of 156.49.

To put that passer rating into perspective, only 15 quarterbacks in all of FBS averaged that high a rating for the 2019 season, only 14 in 2018, and only 12 in 2017 - and that includes all the creampuff games where they got to pad their stats.

Only twice did opposing QBs have a passer rating below 140.0 (2019 Auburn & 2014 Ohio State).
[Not coincidentally, Bama lost the turnover battle in both of those games.]
Only twice did opposing QBs throw for less than 240.0 yards (2019 Auburn & 2013 Auburn).
None of the opposing QBs failed to throw at least one TD pass.
Only twice did opposing QBs only throw a single TD pass (2019 Auburn & 2017 Auburn).


And, while we're talking about scoring TDs and since the scoreboard is the most important thing, here's another tidbit about those 11 losses:

Never did an opposing team's quarterbacks score fewer than 2 TDs in the game.
Only three times did an opposing team's quarterbacks score fewer than 3 TDs in the game (2019 Auburn, 2014 Ohio State & 2012 Texas A&M).



TL;DR
----------------------------------------------------------
So, based on Alabama's 11 losses over the last nine seasons, here's what it takes to beat Bama:
(You need at least 4 out of 5.)
- Win the turnover battle.
- Throw for at least two touchdowns in the game.
- Have your QBs account for at least three total touchdowns, running or passing in the game.
- Have your QBs throw for at least 240 yards in the game.
- Have your QBs throw efficiently, earning a passer rating of at least 140.0 for the game.
Great post
 
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theballguy

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The problem we have is that he basically developed that because of Stephen Garcia waking up one morning after worshipping Satan and selling his soul for abilities he never had before or after that day.
It's as though Garcia was born only for that day. And he had a helluva day and has not had nearly as great a day in life after that.
 

selmaborntidefan

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If given the choice between watching that game, any Star Wars movie or a bullet to the head; I think I would say meh, I had a good run.
Apparently - I've put this together from this thread - "Star Wars" is not among the things you enjoy.

I enjoyed it once upon a time but then I reached an important benchmark - I graduated from the sixth grade. (I won't be critical, but I went to "The Force Awakens" on Christmas Eve back several years ago and the force couldn't even keep me awake. I dozed off and woke up saying, "To hell with this boring movie," and I've not watched anything "Star Wars" since then.

They should have stopped at "Return of the Jedi" and gone their merry way.
 

TIDE-HSV

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I'll repeat what I said above a little differently. We have changed so much both on offense and defense, I just don't think there's a of usefulness in going back t0 2013 to see what it took to beat Bama back then. I can guarantee our opponents are looking at what we did last year or, possibly, the year before. It doesn't draw the same amount of attention, but Saban's changed his defenses as much as he has his offense...
 

uafan4life

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Apparently - I've put this together from this thread - "Star Wars" is not among the things you enjoy.

I enjoyed it once upon a time but then I reached an important benchmark - I graduated from the sixth grade. (I won't be critical, but I went to "The Force Awakens" on Christmas Eve back several years ago and the force couldn't even keep me awake. I dozed off and woke up saying, "To hell with this boring movie," and I've not watched anything "Star Wars" since then.

They should have stopped at "Return of the Jedi" and gone their merry way.
Not to derail my own thread but The Mandalorian might be the best Star Wars production, yet...
 

selmaborntidefan

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I'll repeat what I said above a little differently. We have changed so much both on offense and defense, I just don't think there's a of usefulness in going back t0 2013 to see what it took to beat Bama back then. I can guarantee our opponents are looking at what we did last year or, possibly, the year before. It doesn't draw the same amount of attention, but Saban's changed his defenses as much as he has his offense...
This is precisely the problem with the folks who basically only watch our BIG games that they happen to be assigned to cover.

We haven't run the vanilla Gene Stallings-style offense (with the Homer Smith added passing game) since Derrick Henry left. And we've had defenses that ranged between incredibly powerful and "not up to our standards" since then, too. To be fair, part of the higher points surrendered has to do with the other schools all going out an recruiting passers as opposed to game managers.
 
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uafan4life

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I'll repeat what I said above a little differently. We have changed so much both on offense and defense, I just don't think there's a of usefulness in going back t0 2013 to see what it took to beat Bama back then. I can guarantee our opponents are looking at what we did last year or, possibly, the year before. It doesn't draw the same amount of attention, but Saban's changed his defenses as much as he has his offense...
The point, actually, isn't that there is some, necessary, technical aspect to the teams that have beaten Bama - much the opposite, in fact.

Teams that have beaten Bama over the past 9+ seasons, by and large, would have beaten anybody they played that day given the same amount of help (turnovers, penalties, etc.) from that team as Bama gave.

Trying to say that any particular type of player or offense or whatever gives you a better chance at beating Bama is nothing but a red herring.

If you want to beat Bama, you have to run the ball well and throw the ball well (usually doing one exceptionally well), score touchdowns, and win the turnover battle.

Of course, every team that does all that in any game against any opponent usually wins the game...
 

TIDE-HSV

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The point, actually, isn't that there is some, necessary, technical aspect to the teams that have beaten Bama - much the opposite, in fact.

Teams that have beaten Bama over the past 9+ seasons, by and large, would have beaten anybody they played that day given the same amount of help (turnovers, penalties, etc.) from that team as Bama gave.

Trying to say that any particular type of player or offense or whatever gives you a better chance at beating Bama is nothing but a red herring.

If you want to beat Bama, you have to run the ball well and throw the ball well (usually doing one exceptionally well), score touchdowns, and win the turnover battle.

Of course, every team that does all that in any game against any opponent usually wins the game...
All true. Mobile QBs who can also throw generally beat most of the teams they play. The same recent period when we had appalling injury luck, which has improved with new S&C. We were playing guys who wouldn't play now. In fact, some of them are on the team and not playing much now...
 

CoachJeff

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To simplify it - if you're less talented (AU a few times, SC in 2010, Ole Miss 2014/15) you need flukey stuff to happen.

If you're about as talented you need Bama to have injuries, shoot themselves in the foot, or a combination of the two. See: AU 2010,OSU 2014, LSU 2019,
 

92tide

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Apparently - I've put this together from this thread - "Star Wars" is not among the things you enjoy.

I enjoyed it once upon a time but then I reached an important benchmark - I graduated from the sixth grade. (I won't be critical, but I went to "The Force Awakens" on Christmas Eve back several years ago and the force couldn't even keep me awake. I dozed off and woke up saying, "To hell with this boring movie," and I've not watched anything "Star Wars" since then.

They should have stopped at "Return of the Jedi" and gone their merry way.
i thought they jumped the shark with those god-forsaken ewoks
 
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jashleyren2

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[\QUOTE]

Beating Alabama is largely:
a) play your best game
b) hope Alabama plays their worst game
c) do whatever you can to ensure b
[/QUOTE]

I'd throw one more out - sheer luck. Seems to me that aside from the 2014 Ohio State game, luck has more to do with beating Bama than almost anything. Most team's best is not enough. Even when we make mistakes, we have enough guys and plays to overcome them.

But luck, at just the right time, if even just once, is basically the only way to beat the Tide.
 

81usaf92

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Better than having to explain to my 4 and 7 year olds last week what
means. At least "beat Auburn" covered that up.
Well for years only about 10% knew what they were saying to begin with. Unless you are sitting near the student section it’s really hard to hear the words unless you know what they mean. If anything the “beat Auburn” line brings more attention to it.
 

lowend

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Well for years only about 10% knew what they were saying to begin with. Unless you are sitting near the student section it’s really hard to hear the words unless you know what they mean. If anything the “beat Auburn” line brings more attention to it.
Point taken.