Fresh off a 24-10 win over the division rival Ole Miss Rebels, the Alabama Crimson Tide are 3-1 on the season and ranked No. 12 in the country. Perhaps most importantly, head coach Nick Saban seems to have found his guy under center in long-time backup Jalen Milroe. He may have lost the Texas game, but the Longhorns are a better team. After the USF debacle, Saban got back to his senses.
While making his new regular appearance on The Pat McAfee Show Thursday, Saban told the boys that Milroe is their guy going forward. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner started in place of him in the USF game, one that was defined by bad weather and playing down to a rebuilding Group of Five team on the road. Clearly, Saban saw enough out of that game and the Ole Miss one to reach a conclusion.
Saban said he really likes how Milroe responded to throwing interceptions, first from how poorly he handled the one in the Texas game three weeks ago then to how well he handled the one vs. Ole Miss.
“One of the things that he had to overcome ... is when he threw an interception against Texas, the first one that he threw, that affected him in the game. And when he threw the interception last week against Ole Miss, you know down in the red zone, it didn’t affect him in the game.”
Buchner may be Tommy Rees' guy coming over from Notre Dame, but Milroe gives Alabama the best chance to win. You can tell by the way Saban speaks about Milroe that he is all-in on him right now.
Alabama will make the 90-Mile Drive to take on a Mississippi State team that is trying to find itself.
Nick Saban likes how Jalen Milroe responded after throwing a pick
There is a lot to draw from what Saban said on Pat McAfee. First, he wants the quarterback controversy to be over with and done. Clearly, it has not helped the Crimson Tide out at all this offseason. They have had plenty of time to find Bryce Young's heir apparent, but even that was not enough. Going with Milroe was always the most logical of outcomes. Saban has come to his senses.
The second big takeaway for me is no, it would not shock me if Rees went one-and-done at Alabama. Not saying he tried to force Buchner into action, but who had eyes on this? Nobody in their right mind thought he would have been a better upgrade over Milroe, a guy who has been in the program for years and can make plays with his legs. Alabama's next coordinator might be on your team's staff...
And three, while I do appreciate Saban heaping praise on Milroe, that does not make me feel any more confident about the Crimson Tide's chances of beating LSU, Tennessee and presumably Georgia in the SEC Championship Game to make the College Football Playoff. Alabama is still a good team, but I have apprehension about if they can still be a great one. The good news is they have time.
Saban may have his guy in Milroe going forward, but the move won't make the contenders bat an eye.