Monday, February 27, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Alabama Crimson Tide

The SEC had a down year compared to other years, as Alabama was the lone team to win 10 games or more in 2016. That is an unusual turn of events for the self proclaimed best conference in college football. The East was still down, as Florida and Tennessee continued to struggle despite having high expectations. Georgia is still trying to find themselves under Kirby Smart. LSU made a mess of the Les Miles situation. Ole Miss was clouded over by off-field issues. Here is a look back at the 2016 SEC season, on a team by team basis.

Alabama Crimson Tide
14-1 (8-0)

2016 Schedule
Beat USC 52-6
Beat Western Kentucky 38-10
Beat Ole Miss 48-43
Beat Kent State 48-0
Beat Kentucky 34-6
Beat Arkansas 49-30
Beat Tennessee 49-10
Beat Texas A&M 33-14
Beat LSU 10-0
Beat Mississippi State 51-3
Beat Chattanooga 31-3
Beat Auburn 30-12
Beat Florida 54-16 (SEC Title Game)
Beat Washington 24-7 (Peach Bowl)
Lost to Clemson 35-31 (National Championship)

MVP Offense: QB Jalen Hurts
Hurts had a very impressive, even if uneven at times, freshman campaign in 2016. He passed for 2780 yards and 23 scores against just 9 INTs, and he added 954 yards rushing with another 13 scores. He completed 62.8% of his passes, and averaged 25.5 passes per game. He averaged 4.99 yards per carry, and ran for an average of 63.6 yards per game. He passed for 347 yards and 4 scores for a season high against Mississippi State.
MVP Defense: LB Reuben Foster, DL Jonathon Allen, LB Tim Williams, LB Ryan Anderson, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
As usual, Alabama was loaded on defense, with several star players bolstering the ranks. Foster was the first leader. He led the team with 115 tackles, and added 13 TFLs, five sacks, and finshed with eight QB hurries.
Allen was a force of nature up front once again, as he finished with 69 tackles, 16 TFLs, a team leading 10.5 sacks, and a crushing 15 QB hurries.
Williams was another bone crusher in the LB corps, as he finished with 31 tackles, and ended up with 16 of those being for loss. He added nine sacks, and added 12 QB hurries to go with two PBUs and two forced fumbles.
Anderson, again, a LB, finished with 61 tackles, and led the team with 19 TFLs, and added nine sacks, and added 10 QB hurries, three PBUs, and four forced fumbles.
Fitzpatrick was the anchor of the secondary, where he finshed with 66 tackles, and added 5 TFLs, and added 7 PBUs. He picked off six passes, and returned two of those for scores.
Others of Note
Damien Harris rushed for 1037 yards and two scores. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry.
Bo Scarbrough ran for 812 yards, and scored 11 times. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry.
Alabama scored 33 rushing scores, and gave up only five.
Alabama averaged 245 yards rushing per game, and allowed just 63.93 yards per game.
Alabama collected 118 TFLs as a team, but the offense allowed 108. They allowed just 63 in 2014.
Alabama collected 54 sacks, while allowing just 24.
Alabama collected 80 team sacks.
The Tide was penalized 4.7 times per game at home, but 6.6 times per game on the road.
JK Scott averaged over 47 yards per game.
Best Win: USC 52-6, Florida 54-16, Washington 24-7
The Tide had some very credible wins in 2016. USC was down when Alabama got them in the opener, but the Trojans were still quite talented, and the Tide destroyed them systematically.
The SEC East was weak, but Alabama showed how far ahead of the pack they were when they hammered Florida into the ground in the SEC title game.
Washington was skidding a bit late in the season in some ways, but Alabama slowed down their offense and boxed them in on special teams in order to grind the Huskies down to the nub in the Peach Bowl.
Worst Loss: Clemson 35-31
The Tide was in control heading into the 4th quarter and should have been able to cruise out the win, but they imploded defensively, and blew a sizable lead, and the Tide blew their shot at winning a second consecutive national title.
2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 Florida State  @ Atlanta, 9/9 Fresno State, 9/16 Colorado State, 11/18 Mercer
The Florida State game, in Atlanta, could be a preview of a national semifinal at the end of the season. It is a coin flip game with two of the best sophomore QBs in the nation in Hurts and DeAndre Francois. Alabama should very much cruise through the rest of the non con schedule. Worst case is a 3-1 record out of conference.

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