Roundtable previews Alabama-Florida

The Crimson and White Roundtable previews this week’s Alabama game. You can read what other Alabama blogs are saying at the Roundtable website. You can read my responses below.

1. What is the biggest lesson we learned in the win over Arkansas last Saturday?
The biggest lesson Alabama learned was that it can be challenged, and even when that happens the team can come from behind to win a game against a quality opponent. This only serves to increase confidence. The change in attitude since Nick Saban’s arrival is breathtaking. Did anyone have confidence in Alabama’s fourth quarter play before Saban? The culture has changed. We knew that, but games like this highlight it.

2. What is the biggest concern going into the game with Florida next Saturday?
The biggest concern will be getting off the field on defense. That means forcing and then winning third down. It also means being fundamentally sound. The defensive players weren’t doing their jobs during much of the Arkansas game. The players appeared confused. This cannot happen against Florida since the Gators’ defense is much better than the one Alabama faced last week and that makes coming from behind a much more difficult prospect.

3. Will this contest be a preview of this year’s SECCG? Why or why not?
There is little doubt that Florida and Alabama are the best teams in the SEC. Florida has an easy path into the SEC Championship Game this year thanks to Mark Richt’s implosion, the total collapse of football on Rocky Top and South Carolina being, well, South Carolina. The SEC West is a much tougher division, but Alabama has already defeated the second best team in the division with the win at Arkansas. The scariest team has to be LSU since it possesses a very good defense and an electric playmaker in Patrick Peterson. Of course, it is hard to win the division without a quarterback. Alabama is in good shape to have a rematch in Atlanta.

4. What part of this week’s gameday experience are you most looking forward to?
I want to see how Urban Meyer reacts if Florida loses. Will the stress level skyrocket? Will he be able to focus the team on the remainder of the season? It is clear that Florida has pointed to this game and used it as a motivational tool since the loss in the 2009 SEC Championship Game. But what happens if Florida loses? I’m going to look forward to watching that—provided Alabama can win—it should be revealing about the future of the Florida program.