The Alabama Crimson Tide, for all intents and purposes, have beaten cupcakes in three of their first five games, taking down Western Kentucky, Kent State and Kentucky (sorry Wildcats) by a combined score of 120-16.
The next four weeks will be slightly harder.
Alabama plays at No. 16 Arkansas (4-1) on Oct. 8, at No. 9 Tennessee (5-0) on Oct. 15, against No. 8 Texas A&M (5-0) on Oct. 22 and at LSU (3-2) on Nov. 5.
The Tide, however, won’t be overwhelmed – and they aren’t looking ahead.
“It’s always important to take these games one by one, but we feel that Coach Saban does a good job preparing us for what’s to come,” Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “So we’re just taking it one day at a time, especially when you’re playing an SEC-West opponent. It’s always going to be a physical, competitive game, so it’s just something you got to be ready for.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Alabama should get a spirited effort from the Razorbacks. Quarterback Austin Allen has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,232 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions, while Rawleigh Williams III has rushed 101 times for 559 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
“They pride themselves on running the ball between the tackles,” Allen said. “That’s definitely a point of emphasis we’ve been practicing throughout this whole week. We’re excited for the opportunity and the challenge come Saturday.”
The Tide last played in Fayetteville in October 2014, narrowly escaping with a 14-13 win. Alabama has won its last nine games on the road or at a neutral site.
“We just try to get in a routine and a habit,” Allen said of playing away from Tuscaloosa. “Coach Saban does a good job of making everything the same, of making everything as routine and as comfortable as possible so we can just go out there and just focus on playing football.”
Jalen Hurts has been quite a weapon for the Tide this season. The freshman has thrown for 989 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. He’s also rushed for 276 yards and three scores.
The defense, meanwhile, has been dominant – at least for the most part. Aside from its 48-43 barnburner against Ole Miss, Alabama has allowed just 5.5 points per game in its four other wins.
Some people believe this is the best defense that Nick Saban has had at Alabama.
“We try not to worry about what other people say so much as what we can affect,” Allen said. “What we can affect is (how we prepare) week in and week out. So we’re going to go out there and just try to work hard and get better every day. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Kickoff on Saturday is at 7 p.m. ET.