Had Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke been under center for Alabama against Texas on September 9, the Crimson Tide wouldn’t have lost its first home game since 2019, against Joe Burrow and LSU, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, who wrote that the Hurricanes’ 48-33 win over Texas A&M, and Van Dyke’s big stat line against the Aggies, is all the proof needed to support that statement.
“It’s safe to assume Alabama scoured the transfer portal for a QB but failed to land a bigger fish,” Dodd wrote. “Stick Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke in crimson and Bama likely wins Saturday night. Van Dyke’s five touchdown passes Saturday were the most against Texas A&M in at least 20 years.”
Van Dyke was 21-of-30 for 374 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
It’s unclear whether Van Dyke would’ve overcome Alabama’s difficulties keeping up with a big and physical Texas defensive trench had he chosen to transfer to Tuscaloosa in the offseason — a very real possibility, according to CaneSports’ Gary Ferman. But Jalen Milroe’s two interceptions and 14-of-27 passing day in the 34-24 loss amplified the Crimson Tide’s quarterback woes.
“Alabama was exposed against Texas mostly because Saban had inexplicably failed to adequately stock the quarterback room,” Dodd wrote. “There is no replacement remotely close to [former QB Bryce] Young. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner was brought in to add depth (at worst) or perhaps take over the job (at best).
“Freshman Dylan Lonergan was rated as a top-10 quarterback by 247Sports in Class of 2023. But if Buchner is the Next Best Thing on the bench, that brings further scrutiny,” Dodd wrote. “Buchner has thrown all of four touchdown passes since the middle of 2021. Milroe won the job, but it’s clear he has an uphill climb to win the hearts of fans.”
Alabama ‘Must’ Win SEC to Make College Football Playoff
After losing to the Longhorns in Tuscaloosa, Alabama must run the table to get one of the four College Football Playoff spots, according to Roll Bama Roll’s Josh Chatham.
“Alabama very likely needs to win the SEC to make the College Football Playoff,” Chatham wrote on September 11. “It would be wise to root for Texas to run the table, which is highly possible given their schedule. If that happens, then Alabama’s loss to them essentially won’t count when the committee is ranking teams. I’d think that even a two-loss SEC Champ Alabama would make the playoff in that scenario. Alabama might even have an outside shot if they make it to Atlanta and take a second loss there, but we are obviously getting way ahead of ourselves.”
With matchups against LSU and Tennessee at home this season, the schedule figures to be manageable. That is unless Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze continues to prove to be a thorn in Saban’s side during the 2023 Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Jalen Milroe Had to Be ‘the Guy’ for Alabama Against Texas
After Texas took an 11-point lead a little over a minute into the fourth quarter, Milroe had to be “the guy” for Alabama and lead the comeback charge over any of his backups; this, at least, according to On3’s Griffin McVeigh.
“At that point, the time for a quarterback change had come and gone,” McVeigh said about Saban’s not pulling Milroe out of the game. “If Alabama was going to come back in any fashion, Milroe would have to be the guy. Ultimately, the Alabama offense fell short and Texas escaped Tuscaloosa with a program-changing win.
“Milroe wound up completing 14 of his 27 passes, going for 255 yards. His two passing touchdowns were canceled out by two interceptions, allowing Texas to put 10 points up on the board — the difference in the ball game.”
Milroe wasn’t “the guy” against Alabama, and if he doesn’t prove to be against Ole Miss on September 23, he may not get future chances in Tuscaloosa.