Alabama’s good half, bad half routine was the subject of a column by John Adams of the Knoxville News. He summarizes the Tide’s problem thusly:
In its last three games, Alabama has played a first half worthy of Bear Bryant and a second half worthy of Mike Shula. In those three first halves, Alabama has outscored opponents 69-3. In the second half, the combined count is an alarming 61-13 in favor of the opponents.
Adams looks at Saban’s comments on distraction being part of the problemâ€”where players let outside factors break their concentration. There is also a little wishful thinking for Vol fansâ€”a slight glimmer of hope in his column for them.
That raises the question: Could the second-half fades be a precursor to a wobbly finish to the regular season? If so, the second-ranked Tide might be primed for an upset Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.
No one needs an upset more than Tennessee, whose marquee victory in a 3-4 season has been last Saturday’s 34-3 win against 2-5 Mississippi State. An upset of Alabama wouldn’t erase all the losses but it would leave an historical mark.
Tennessee could easily defeat Alabama. But the price looks like they would be forced to keep Phil Fulmer another year. It is almost a win-win for Alabama fans because Fulmer isn’t anywhere near the top of the coaching ranksâ€”and his continuation in Knoxville can only be viewed as a good thing for everyone else in the conference.
But what fan thinks longterm? Everyone wants a win Saturday. And Alabama must end its erratic play to deliver fans what they want.