History Made: Alabama first team to go 10-0 in SEC play

In a season for the history books, The Crimson Tide just hit another huge milestone.

Alabama capped off its perfect regular season by sweeping through LSU and Arkansas the past two weeks. Both games were dominated on both sides of the football. Alabama took care of both teams early, beating LSU 55-17 and Arkansas 52-3.


Coach Nick Saban expressed his pride for the team after both victories, but was emphatic after the win against Arkansas. 

“Really proud of our team for the way they played today,” Saban said at a Satuday press conference. “This was a tough situation for us, and I think one of the motivating factors was to win 10 SEC games in the regular season, which had never been done before. It’s kind of historic for them. And that was one of the motivating factors for us.” 

For now this will be the only time in SEC history that teams will play 10 conference games in a season, but it is possible for the conference to change. The PAC-12 became the first conference to play 10 conference games a few years ago, and Saban has been an advocate for that same competition. 

Saban gives a lot of credit to the defense for Alabama’s late season success. The defense gave up nearly 40 points per game in the first three games, but managed to jell as a team and only allow 11 points per game in the last seven. 

“I do think the team has made a lot of improvement throughout the year on defense,” Saban said. “We had four out of five new starters in the secondary, made a lot of errors early in the season. I think the players have gotten a lot more confident in what’s expected of them.” 


The Crimson Tide has three different players who are currently competing for the Heisman trophy. Junior quarterback Mac Jones, senior running back Najee Harris and senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith made their respective Heisman cases much more difficult to diverge from the past two games. 

Against LSU, Jones threw for 385 yard and four touchdowns including 7 passes for 20 plus yards. Two of the biggest plays of the night were passes from Jones to Smith. They connected twice on 60 yard plus touchdown passes. Smith finished with 261 yards and three touchdowns on the night and had arguably one of the best catches of the season in the endzone during the second quarter. 

Smith shrugged off the catch like it was no big deal. He said in the press conference after the LSU game that he never practiced anything like that and that it almost came to him naturally. 

“To me, one-handed catches are not something that you practice, they just happen,” Smith said. “When you try to attempt a one-hand catch on purpose, it never works out right so it’s just something that happened. It just happens.”

He went on to say that his success comes from trusting the system that Nick Saban and Alabama established. But Smith said later that he did not pay much attention to his potential individual award; his mind was on winning a championship.

“If I’m in the Heisman race I’m in it,” Smith said. “Not too much really focused on it, but I’m honestly here just to win a championship. That’s the reason I came back.”


Although the team dominated both opponents, its goal is to strive for championship level play. After the LSU game, Smith said the team still had plenty of room for improvement. 

“There was some stuff that I felt that I left out there — we left out there — that I wish I could have [done] different, but I mean, we won so that’s all that really matters,” Smith said.

Against Arkansas, the defense and special teams showed their pure talent and dominance against a lackluster opponent. The defense forced four fumbles and recovered three and managed to intercept a pass late in the game. The play of the game however, was when Smith returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown. The score opened up the game and Alabama went on to score 42 unanswered points. 

After the game senior defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis has been one of the keys to Alabama’s defense against the run and pass. Yesterday, Mathis assisted on one of the five sacks and was pleased with how the team played as a whole.

“We just prepared all week,” Mathis said. “We knew, whatever coach [Pete Golding] calls on the sideline, we just have to go out there and dominate the call. I think we did a very good job this morning.”

Next, the team moves on to play Florida in the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 19. Saban and players like Smith wanted to play this season in hopes of competing for championships, specifically the National Championship. The College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock announced in August that the college football playoff would go on as scheduled despite the many changes to the season. 

Alabama is currently ranked No. 1 in the playoff rankings. Saban said to win the potential next three games, the offense, defense and special teams must play effectively. 

“It’s gonna take a great team effort in every part of our team to be able to win the SEC Championship,” Saban said. “The offense is gonna have to play well, we’re gonna have to do a really good job on special teams and obviously play even better on defense.”