But when I looked at the Tide's schedule before the start of this season, I had thought Alabama would lose one of the past three games against Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina. I was most worried about the Hogs at the time, but yesterday the Gamecocks helped Spurrier finally get a "signature win" for his program since he arrived in Columbia. If there ever were a season where South Carolina has a very good shot to play in the SEC Championship, this year is it.
At the most basic level, the Tide just put themselves in too big of a hole early on in the game. When a team is down 3 to 21 against a very good SEC team at home, it's going to be very difficult to come back and win the game.
South Carolina played a heck of a football game with their QB Garcia having a career day. He and the Cocks' main receiver Alshon Jeffrey abused the Tide secondary early and often. There for a while, Garcia had no incompletions in the game, but he ended with a line of 17 of 20 pass completions and three touchdowns. Jeffrey had seven catches for 127 yards.
Combine those stats with the facts that Alabama continually made stupid mistakes (four offsides penalties I believe) and had some poor tackling in the game, it isn't surprising Alabama lost by two touchdowns.
But South Carolina's defense played inspired football too. You can't discount how their D held Ingram and Richardson to less than a hundred yards rushing combined. McElroy had a good game to offset the poor rushing performances, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the Tide D giving up big plays and McElroy getting sacked seven times.
Next Saturday It'll be interesting to see how Alabama plays against a dangerous Ole Miss team, a squad that is quite good offensively but quite poor defensively. And the right Rev. Nutt loves being the underdog.
As McElroy said in a post-game interview, "This is an opportunity for ourselves to take a look at ourselves in the mirror and regroup and re-commit ourselves to what we want to accomplish."
That's about the only good thing you can take out of this loss. That and perhaps that the loss is against an SEC East opponent. With LSU and Auburn still undefeated, there's a lot of schedule left to win the West.
I'd love for the Tide to win the West and get a rematch with South Carolina in Atlanta. But as I said after the Arkansas game, "I have a feeling this season's defense is going to make me a nervous wreck." [Hey, that's me quoting me ~ apologies to Gray of Razzball.]
I stand behind that statement, and I hope the Tide players "re-commit" themselves and become a much stronger team.