Posted by Chip Patterson
Less than a week ago, nearly the entire nation was wondering if anyone would be able to topple the seemingly unstoppable Alabama Crimson Tide. The fantasy ended in a 35-21 loss to South Carolina in Columbia on Saturday, and the charmed life of the Alabama football team has quickly come to a halt. Whether it be head coach Nick Saban's foul tongue or wide receiver Julio Jones' broken hand, the news out of Tuscaloosa has not great since falling from the top of the mountain. Jones wasn't the only offensive starter hurt against the Gamecocks, right tackle D.J. Fluker sustained a groin injury in the game and has already been ruled out for this week's matchup with Ole Miss.
“D.J. Fluker has got a pretty severe groin injury that will probably keep him out at least a week,” Saban told reporters on Monday, “maybe longer, depending on how he responds to treatment ... McCulllough was the guy that went in the game. He’s the guy that has been sort of our swing, third tackle. He’ll move up as a starter.”
The Crimson Tide should find their rhythm again against the Rebels this weekend, regardless of the different health concerns. Continued struggles would hint the beginnings of a complete unraveling, and this team is simply too good for that. However, the Tide will need to find a way to overcome these struggles quickly if they plan on defending the SEC Championship on December 4 in Atlanta. Luckily, they do still hold their own SEC West fate in their hands. Alabama still has division leaders LSU and Auburn left on the schedule, and if the Tide can win out the worst case scenario would be a three-way tie for first place in the West. With the first tiebreaker being head-to-head competition, Alabama would get the nod to compete for the SEC Championship. While the loss to South Carolina may have put a national championship out of reach, they can still find a way to win the conference. They just can't afford any slip ups along the way.