Alabama

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) walks off the field after defeating Mississippi State University at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday November 10, 2018.

Perhaps Alabama isn't any different from the rest of us and is simply waiting for another interesting game.

The Crimson Tide played its worst game of the season Saturday in a 24-0 victory over Mississippi State, which is ranked 16th in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The effort looked lackluster.

It's hard to imagine that facing the No. 16 team in the country isn't enough to bring out some extra zing from a team, but that kind of says it all about this Crimson Tide team.

It also says something about Alabama that even in its worst performance, it still handled the No. 16 team in the country by 24 points. The Crimson Tide has sliced through teams so efficiently this year that anything less than a full-throttle beating looks like a worrisome dropoff.

Maybe Tommy Tuberville is right, and Alabama really is taking the fun out of the regular season because they win with such predictable regularity.

Still, is it a concern that the Crimson Tide didn't roll as thoroughly as it usually has this season?

Not really, even though that 24-point win probably should've been 17. Mississippi State State got jobbed out of a touchdown right before halftime on a phantom block-in-the-back penalty.

Since Alabama began its championship run under Nick Saban, it often has followed a thrilling game against LSU with a ho-hum job against Mississippi State. Even Saban said after Saturday's win that Alabama suffered an "emotional hangover" after the LSU game.

No regular-season game across the country received as much hype as last week's Alabama-LSU showdown. It drew the highest TV ratings of any college game this season.

The players weren't immune to the extra energy — now or in the past. Last week's game at Baton Rouge brought some extra zing from the Crimson Tide players, and they played like it.

That energy was gone, and Alabama played with its typical post-LSU blahs. Even so, Alabama looked efficient in the first half, even if the Tide didn't produce the huge gainers that it usually does.

Bama still won comfortably, and for now, that's all that matters.

Is it a concern that all-everything quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is struggling to stay healthy? He hurt his right knee earlier in the season, and during the win, he got hit on his right thigh, which injured his quad muscle.

There's time to heal — not just for Tagovailoa, but for backup Jalen Hurts, who hurt his ankle three weeks ago. Next week is a game against the Citadel, and if Alabama really needed to win that one with Mac Jones behind center, it could.

Wouldn't trust Jones to win an SEC game. In what little time he has gotten on the field, it doesn't appear as if he has practiced with the primary offense that much. He seems like a fine athlete, but he looks rusty and not in sync with the rest of the offense.

Maybe this week would be a good chance to let him practice with the first offense a little more?

Is it a concern that the Tide offensive line had such problems protecting its quarterback?

Alabama gave up four sacks Saturday, which certainly must bother Saban. Entering the game, the Tide had allowed only six, and that figure ranked fourth in the nation. The team that's first is Army with two, but Army almost never passes.

Mississippi State is exceptionally good up front, and the Alabama line isn't the first one to have some issues against the Bulldogs.

Still, Alabama is supposed to be the No. 1 team in the country, and it should've done a better job of protecting Tua Tagovailoa.

The big games will come soon enough. There's Auburn at home in two weeks, then Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. If Alabama wins both of those — and it's hard to imagine it won't — the College Football Playoff is next.

Those games will bring more than enough zing to energize the Crimson Tide.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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