If you are an Alabama football fan who is a firm believer in stats or trends, you will be happy to know Alabama is 9-0 in the regular season since 2010 after coming off a loss.
The opponent following three of those Crimson Tide losses was Mississippi State. Saturday makes it four.
How about this? In those nine wins Alabama outscored opponents 271-16, including a 92-24 margin over Mississippi State.
It’s safe to say Alabama responds pretty well following a loss.
Nine regular-season losses in just over a decade is nothing to complain about. Unless it’s Alabama. The standard has been set. Anything less that perfection is unacceptable. It’s a tough standard, but one Alabama coaches, players and staff have accepted as the norm.
Alabama didn’t live up to that standard last week against Texas A&M and the result was a 41-28 loss, which ended a 19-game win streak and a 100-game streak of wins against non-ranked opponents.
“The key is for everyone in our organization to respond the right way to the things we need to fix,” Nick Saban said earlier this week.
If you want to know where Alabama is mentally following the stunning loss in College Station, look no further than Will Anderson Jr.
The sophomore linebacker was asked earlier this week about what was said in the locker room in College Station afterward.
Anderson, who leads the team with 11 tackles for a loss, didn’t speak, but stared hard into the Zoom camera and shook his head for a solid 10 seconds. The Crimson Tide defensive leader was clearly frustrated and needed prodding from the media relations team to answer.
“It’s what I’ve said to you guys, football has to be the most important thing,” Anderson finally said. “When you come to Alabama that’s the standard. Football is the most important thing and that’s what I expressed to the team. That’s the way it’s going to be, and it’s going to be that.”
It was a lapse in defense in the final five minutes that was among the plethora of miscues Alabama had last week.
The Crimson Tide held the Aggies in check most of the second half, allowing just 17 yards. But with Alabama leading by a touchdown and needing a defensive stop, the defense failed, and the Aggies needed just two minutes and six plays to drive 65 yards for the game-tying score.
Alabama broke down defensively again on the last drive of the game. Texas A&M went 54 yards downfield to set up Seth Small for the game-winning field goal.
The defense shouldn’t take the full brunt of the blame. There was plenty of that to go around.
There was the 96-yard Aggie kickoff return for a touchdown following Alabama’s blocked punt for a score. That wiped out Alabama’s momentum.
There was the drive that ended on the 1-yard line following a Bryce Young interception in the end zone.
Then there was another drive where Alabama settled for a field goal after failing to score from first-and-goal from the TAMU 3-yard line. Alabama passed on all three downs.
There was more, of course, but the point is clear – the Alabama standard was not met last Saturday. And there is much to fix if the Crimson Tide wants to get back into the national title discussion.
Alabama can do that; it's done it several times. After losing The Game of The Century to LSU in 2011, Alabama won the rematch in the national title game.
After an unexpected loss to Johnny Manziel’s Aggies in 2012 the Crimson Tide fought back and won the championship over Notre Dame.
In 2015, Derrick Henry and Alabama were stunned at home by Ole Miss, regrouped and marched toward another championship by defeating Clemson.
As recently as 2017 Alabama lost to Auburn late in the season and still got into the playoff as a No. 4 seed, which gave us second-and-26 against Georgia and the Crimson Tide’s 17th national title.
“I don’t think it’s anything other teams are doing, we are getting in our own way right now,” Anderson said. “We have to bounce back, pay attention to little details and realize this is the most important thing right now.”