5 Thoughts: Alabama 42, Missouri 13

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Fiu Thoughts 
– Alabama just made it extremely easy on the playoff committee. All thoughts of the SEC not being in the inaugural playoff went bye-bye with the Tide win, and now it’s Oregon and Alabama in the top two in some form. Ducks in Pasadena, Crimson Tide in New Orleans. Easy peasy. Even better, the SEC champion isn’t limping into the post-season – this was the “eye test” everyone has been talking about, coming out sharp and taking care of business from the start. 

– Blake Sims picked a perfect time to come up with the game of his life. 23-of-27 for 262 yards and two touchdowns with no picks. On the other side, you knew Maty Mauk was going to completed 16-of-34 passes, but it was a question or whether or not he threw for 172 yards or 272. He threw for 272, but it didn’t matter because the Mizzou D didn’t have an answer for Sims. 

– Two. That’s how many sacks Missouri was able to generate, along with a mere five tackles for loss. The Alabama offensive line didn’t dominate, but it was a fantastic gameplan that worked to near-perfection. Lane Kiffin made sure Sims got the ball out of his hands in a hurry to offset the Tiger pass rush. 

– Alabama’s defense might not be the killer of past national championship years, but when the offense is this balanced – 262 passing yards and 242 on the ground – forget about anyone else showing up in the playoff. This was as efficient and effective a performance as the Crimson Tide coaching staff could’ve asked for. 

– Missouri got blown out, but it was stronger than 42-13. It made it a game late in the third quarter, and it kept fighting, but it just didn’t have the firepower and it didn’t control the clock. As good as the Mizzou D might be, without Shane Ray – who got booted after a launching penalty – and with the Alabama offense holding onto the ball for close to 37 minutes, there was no answer for Derrick Henry and the power running game late. 

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– Please improve in a hurry, SEC East. Today’s game between Alabama and Mizzou was a snoozer, save for a brief threat of competitiveness in the third quarter. No disrespect to the Tigers, but I genuinely miss the days when a traditional SEC power, like Florida or Georgia, appears in one of these championship games. 

– If Blake Sims has taught us anything this year, it’s that nothing should be seen as a certainty in the offseason. Sims was pegged as a sure-fire backup in 2014, even before Jacob Coker had officially transferred from Florida State. Now, he’s the MVP of the SEC Championship Game following an improbable finale in Tuscaloosa. 

– If Derrick Henry was the feature back for just about any ranked team, he’d be headed to New York City in a few days as a Heisman finalist. He complements T.J. Yeldon extremely well, but he’s too talented to be complementing anyone. 

– Bad news, Tiger fans. Your quarterback has two years of eligibility left. Maty Mauk is just too inconsistent as a passer to feel confident about the future of the offense. He’s like Bo Wallace, with less size and arm talent. Maybe Eddie Printz can turn the corner this offseason and bring more stability to the Missouri backfield. 

– It would have made absolutely no difference to the outcome of this blowout, but Mizzou DE Shane Ray should not have been ejected for his first-half hit on QB Blake Sims. Personal foul, okay. But targeting? The hit appeared to be more violent than cheap or dirty. 

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– With the combination of Alabama’s win and Oregon’s showing last night, there’s no doubt that two of the four spots in the College Football Playoff are now wrapped up. Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State must now try to keep pace with what TCU did earlier in the day. Things are going to get really interesting.

– Is Missouri really the best that the SEC East has to offer? It’s hard to believe that a team that lost to Big Ten doormat Indiana at home was ever going to have a puncher’s chance against the West division’s best. The East clearly has some catching up to do.

-It’s never going to happen, but shouldn’t Alabama receiver Amari Cooper get more consideration for the Heisman? There are going to be NFL scouts drooling at the prospect of adding him as a threat on the outside.

-Alabama has to be the odds-on favorite now to win the whole thing. It made its way through a rough and tumble division with just one loss, and the team seems to be peaking at the right time. There were doubts about quarterback Blake Sims abilities to take put this team over the top, but his growth has been remarkable. He’s now more than just a game manager, but a threat that might make land the Tide in Dallas.

-It’s been a lot like the odd-couple, but the experiment of new offensive-coordinator Lane Kiffin and head coach Nick Saban working together has seemed to work for the most part. Sure the big egos have clashed at times on the sideline, but you can’t argue with the results. Winning can hide or suppress a lot of potential warts.