You should be nervous, Alabama fans. Anything you saw on Saturday night after Tua Tagovailoa left the game with an injury should give you nightmares. Alabama does the same as Tagovailoa, and the Crimson Tide offensive beat Tennessee 35-13 in the second half.
This end result looks pretty impressive, but does not do it justice. If Brian Maurer would not have left the game with an injury and Tennessee had a more capable quarterback than Jarrett Guarantano, the volunteers could have won on Saturday night. And that must be very worrying for anyone who has a legitimate interest in Alabama's success.
Nick Saban said after the game that Tagovailoa had an ankle sprain but was only allowed to miss a week or two. If Saban is right, it means that Alabama's Heisman Trophy contender will miss just one game, Arkansas, before the much-anticipated LSU game against the LSU on November 9 could decide on SEC West. Every fan of Alabama should hope that a second MRT will prove Saban right, because that seems to be the best scenario at the moment.
Alabama could face anyone against the unfortunate Razorbacks and win, but the LSU is another story. The Crimson Tide needs Tagovailoa against the tigers. That should have always been obvious, but the performance of backup quarterback Mac Jones against the volunteers has confirmed this. Alabama do not have a super backup to save Alabama's season like they did in the last two seasons with Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Jones is mortal ̵
Tagovailoa says he will return to LSU, according to teammate Terrell Lewis, and that's good news. Assuming he plays, the big question is how well he will be in this game. Tagovailoa suffered an ankle sprain in the SEC Championship last year and played in the Orange Bowl 28 days later, but never looked 100 percent after the injury. Is a 70 percent healthy Tagovailoa good enough to beat the LSU? It's better than any other option Alabama has, but makes it much harder to win a rock fight. The error rate is lower for the Alabama team this season, and Saturday reminded everyone that Tagovailoa is such a viable Heisman candidate because his game hides other flaws.
Alabama fans can only hope and wait until November 9th. Hope the MRI confirms the initial diagnosis. I hope Tagovailoa is ready to fight against the tigers. Hope he heals even faster than last year.
But most of the time it will be a lot of waiting. Even if everyone says the right things for the next three weeks before this game, no one really knows what to expect until Tagovailoa retakes the field.
And as the great Tom Petty used to sing, waiting is the hardest part.
Pruitt has to be better.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is a decent type, so many coaching community whose opinions I trust. Before leaving for Tennessee, he did a good job as defense coordinator for Alabama and still has admirers in the building.
But the way he appeared and grabbed Jarrett Guarantano's helmet after the Tennessee quarterback had fumbled the ball was totally unacceptable. It should be embarrassing to Pruitt that he could not convey his disappointment with the outcome of the match more appropriately and reasonably. I understand that Pruitt was "angry" that Guaranteeano ended the game call and backtracked, but that's still no excuse for putting his hands on the player's helmet and pulling at it. Although it looked relatively gentle, it is a clear no, and Pruitt should know better.
Pruitt looked cheered all night on the sidelines, upset with penalties and missed opportunities, until the moment he exploded on Guarantano. It must be difficult to know that you can beat the country's number 1, but you can not stop taking good chances. This does not excuse that Pruitt's actions were wrong, and he should acknowledge that. There will undoubtedly be people who defend behavior the way football is, but we are no longer living in the 1960s, and it is reasonable to expect a football program worth more than $ 3 million a year, to expect a better behavior.
Victories while saving jobs?
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and Illinois coach Lovie Smith took 1st and 3rd place last week in this column's Hot Seat Watch. What difference can a week make, right?
Mason and Smith scored two of the biggest wins of the weekend on Saturday, possibly saving their jobs. Smith's Illinois team came in ahead of Wisconsin No. 6 on Saturday as a 30.5-point outsider, but led a spirited performance to eliminate the Badgers. Smith's Illini has shown serious struggles in the last two weeks, and it could be enough to buy him another season if they can keep up.
The Commodores secured a victory over Missouri in the Top 25, in which Mason delivered an ignited interview after the game that seemed to acknowledge that he was in the hot seat. Mason said, "I've told my team, and I want everyone to understand that: Many people want that job, they think, but I'm the man who was built for the job." Whether Mason built for this job In the long term it remains to be seen, especially if a new sports director is at the top, but victories like that over Missouri certainly help his case.
Auburn's running game looks good, but test is waiting
The pressing question is heading for Auburn's The trip to Arkansas was not about winning it – it was supposed – but about how to play without it Boobee Whitlow would look like. Even while the current game was battling against Florida, Whitlow was a massive cog on offense and there was no one on paper to make a perfect substitute.
Saturday seemed to prove this when Gus Malzahn took on a running back-by-committee approach to the Razorbacks (51-10). Senior Kam Martin led the way with 10 runs for 84 yards while the true freshman D.J. Williams had a team height of 11 carry for 48 yards. Harold Joiner added 59 yards and a touchdown and Shaun Shivers also had a touchdown on four Carry. Williams got the majority of his work in the second half, where his downhill running style had moments of effectiveness against a strenuous defense of Arkansas. Martin had a 52-yard run that was almost a touchdown before being shut down.
Auburn reached 298 rushing yards, the second best edition of the season, but the real test will take place next week in Baton Rouge against LSU. The Tigers – Front Seven is not as good as it has been in recent years, but still much more robust than Arkansas. The running game must be effective so that Auburn can keep up with Burrow and the rest of LSU's new high-performance attack. As Malzahn divides the transfers will be crucial, although at least on Saturday it is clear how Auburn can win without Whitlow on the ground.
Most Panicked Fanbase: Michigan
The dream of making it into the College Football Playoffs has died again in Ann Arbor. Michigan started the season in seventh place in the country with legitimate playoff ambitions, but the Wolverines did not even make it to November as a true rival. Jim Harbaugh has lost many big games in the past – 1:10 against top ten opponents in Michigan – and the faithful believers must wonder if he's still the right man to bring the program back to fame.
Most Common: Oregon
There's a lot going on, but Oregon has a way to the College Football Playoff. And if you're the only Pac-12 team that can say that, it's worth celebrating. Mario Cristobal had to play a close game against a high-profile opponent who was on the way to Washington No. 25 in the recent battles against Washington. There are still potential landmines ahead of us – in the USC and Arizona, the victories are not safe – but as long as the ducks take care of the business, they have a chance of being late if teams remain above them turn off.
Meme of the Week:
Luckily, nobody was hurt when Oklahomas Sooner Schooner toppled over on Saturday. That makes us feel better when we love this great mashup of the crash and "gladiator".
Hot Seat Watch:
1) Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion
Wilder is Old Dominion football, but has lost 38-14 The UAB was another sign that it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the longtime He has played 10:21 in the last two and a half seasons and has not made major changes out of season, including a new defensive coordinator. There are still some profitable games on the program – UTSA, Charlotte and Middle Tennessee State are between 7 and 14 this season – and Wilder has to score a few points to create a case to continue as a coach.
2) Chad Morris, Arkansas
Chad Morris continues to employ after this season, the definition of throwing good money on bad and atrophy around the program could easily lead to greater funding losses if no move takes place , This unbelievably funny fake attempt against Auburn could justify the termination in itself. Morris may not be fired after this season, but he should.
3) Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
A home game against the LSU after all the rumors and allusions of the previous week was the perfect play-off or relegation game for Joe Moorhead and his Mississippi State Bulldogs. Moorhead had the chance to reassure the critics, but failed in a defeat of 36: 13, which again indicated an anemic offense that does not look like it would soon be better. It's still unlikely that the MSU Moorhead will drop after only two seasons, but the Rutgers sound does not disappear. If the season goes on like this, the native Pennsylvaniaer might decide to volunteer before being asked.
John Talty is the SEC Insider for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @JTalty.