Leading up to the week, I'll be showing YouTube highlights of Alabama football this season. For those who haven't had a chance to see highlights of the Tide, this should give you an idea of what Utah will be facing Friday.
We'll start with 'Bama's last game, the 2008 SEC Championship.
Here is a video highlighting Florida:
Florida vs. Alabama 2008 SEC Championship Game Highlights (via flgatorfan24)
And a more balanced look at the game:
2008 SEC Championship Recap (via YouThinkWhat)
For those who missed the game, the Tide looked poised for a victory, as they entered the fourth quarter leading 20-17. However, they gave up two touchdowns to the Gators and lost any chance of winning the SEC Championship and earning a spot in the national championship.
The stats show how close the game really was, suggesting that with a few breaks here and there, the Utes would be preparing for Florida in the Sugar Bowl and not the Tide.
Third Down Efficiency
Fourth Down Efficiency
TOTAL NET YARDS
Average Gain Per Play
NET YARDS RUSHING
Average Per Rush
NET YARDS PASSING
Yards Per Pass Play
Yards Lost to Sacks
Whatever you draw from these results, Alabama's running game is going to be fierce and offer the Utes a challenge they haven't seen this season. While all the focus from Utah's side tends to lean toward the Crimson Tide's stout defense, the size advantage Alabama will have at the line and their ability to dominate on the ground is my biggest worry.
Utah gives up 105 rushing yards per game, while Alabama averages nearly 200. If the Utes can hold them anywhere near their 105 average, they will be in prime position to win this game. If Alabama is anywhere near their average, it could be a long night.