TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama will look to put the past behind them as they take on the USF Bulls on Saturday in Tampa.

This will be only the second time these two teams have met, with Alabama winning the previous matchup 40-17 in 2003. The times were different, but the Crimson Tide will look to have a similar result against the Bulls come Saturday.

Alabama comes into this game with more questions than ever, especially at the quarterback position. Jalen Milroe was ok against Texas, completing just over 50 percent of his throws, but two timely interceptions did not help his case to be the starter going forward.

The news that quarterback Tyler Buchner got practice with the first team offense only fueled rumors that Alabama will be looking for a change at the position. With Buchner transferring from Notre Dame and following offense coordinator Tommy Rees, the familiarity with the system might help Buchner get the job.

While Milroe and the offense did run out of gas against Texas, the defense was not helping either. Ten penalties, with most coming on the defensive side of the ball, really hurt Alabama’s chances, especially late in the game. Texas was able to run out the clock due to an offsides call on the defense, and multiple Texas drives continued because of a critical penalty.

Both Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele are already feeling some pressure from the fanbase, and a big game against USF will not do much in way of relieving that. The focus on the game Saturday will be how the team looks off the stat sheet. While Alabama is favored to win comfortably, the team will need to clean up some things, especially penalties, if they want any hope of getting back to that Alabama “Standard”. Penalties, drops, and missed throws will need to be kept at a minimum if the Crimson Tide want to roll in this one.

USF is led by quarterback Byrum Brown, who has the unique skillset of being able to run and pass effectively. In their week one loss to Western Kentucky, Brown ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns. While in their week two win against Florida A&M, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for two as well. Alabama will need to keep his feet in the pocket and try to force him to make good throws to beat them.

With Ole Miss coming up after this game, it will be important that Alabama does their job against USF and try to get some of their mojo back by the time the Rebels come into town. The game kicks off at 2:30 on ABC.


Joe Schatz is a senior writer for WVUA-FM Sports. He also co-hosts The Low Tide on 90.7 FM Sunday nights from 7-8 p.m. CT.