The Alabama Crimson Tide has been a college football juggernaut for the past decade. Nick Saban is widely regarded as the greatest head coach of his generation, simultaneously a powerhouse recruiter and a schematic master.
It has been roughly eight years since Alabama last fell outside the AP Top 10 — 128 weeks, dating back to 2015. That was the second-longest streak in NCAA history. Key word: was.
Alabama is ranked No. 13 in the most recent AP poll, falling three spots from No. 10 after a rather pitiful 17-3 road victory over South Florida. The Crimson Tide are 2-1 on the season with a critical loss to Texas, a soon-to-be SEC peer.
Alabama football falls outside AP top 10 for first time in 258 weeks
The Crimson Tide's narrow victory on Saturday featured a change at quarterback. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner took over the reins following Jalen Milroe's mistake-ridden performance against Texas.
It didn't work.
Buchner completed 5-of-14 passes for 34 yards before Ty Simpson took over and completed 5-of-9 passes for 73 yards. Neither option looked particularly compelling, which could result in Alabama reverting back to Milroe, who did not look great in the Crimson Tide's lone battle with top-end competition.
Alabama has no clear solution to the QB problem right now. Milroe offers dual-threat ability with his legs and he could be the best option on the basis of athleticism, but he still pales in comparison to most high-end SEC QBs. No matter how solid the Crimson Tide's defense is, there's no path to college football glory without a reliable offense. It's hard to see the offense reaching the necessary level with its current personnel.
On the other hand, it's only Week 3. There's no denying the natural talent on Alabama's roster, as Saban remains a recruiting magnet. The SEC is virtually guaranteed a spot in the college football playoffs. If the Crimson Tide win out, there's still a path to the championship. That outcome feels far-fetched right now, but this is Nick Saban and Alabama we're talking about. It's not wise to count them out.
It will be interesting to see how resilient Saban's group is. Alabama has been the bully on the block for so long; now, the Tide will have to muster the strength to overcome extremely long odds. SEC play is right around the corner, with No. 15 Ole Miss coming to town next Saturday. A win, and the Tide are back in business. A loss, and we can write Alabama out of postseason contention for good.