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Alabama 29, Florida 15: Only a matter of time before reality took over

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama 29, Florida 15

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Basics Alabama Florida Nat'l Avg
Total Plays 84 45
Close Rate (non-garbage time) 93.0%
Avg Starting FP 36.3 18.7 29.8
Possessions 15 13
Scoring Opportunities*
8 2
Points Per Opportunity 3.38 3.50 4.73
Leverage Rate** 74.1% 43.6% 68.2%
Close S&P*** 0.587 0.458 0.586
* A scoring opportunity occurs when an offense gets a first down inside the opponent's 40 (or scores from outside the 40).
** Leverage Rate = Standard Downs / (Standard Downs + Passing Downs)
*** When using IsoPPP, the S&P formula is (0.8*Success Rate) + (0.2*IsoPPP)
EqPts (what's this?) Alabama Florida
Total 42.2 15.2
Rushing 23.8 3.1
Passing 18.4 12.1
Success Rate (what's this?) Alabama Florida Nat'l Avg
All (close) 44.4% 10.3% 41.6%
Rushing (close) 44.4% 7.1% 42.6%
Passing (close) 44.4% 12.0% 40.6%
Standard Downs 51.7% 11.8% 46.9%
Passing Downs 23.8% 9.1% 30.4%
IsoPPP (what's this?) Alabama Florida Nat'l Avg
All (close) 1.16 1.88 1.26
Rushing (close) 0.97 3.22 1.07
Passing (close) 1.53 1.44 1.48
Standard Downs 1.16 1.34 1.11
Passing Downs 1.14 2.42 1.77
Line Stats Alabama Florida Nat'l Avg
Line Yards/Carry (what's this?) 3.32 2.21 2.88
Std. Downs Sack Rt. 0.0% 12.5% 4.9%
Pass. Downs Sack Rt. 16.7% 23.5% 7.5%
Turnovers Alabama Florida
Turnovers 1 1
Turnover Points (what's this?) 4.3 3.1
Turnover Margin +0
Exp. TO Margin Florida +0.73
TO Luck (Margin vs. Exp. Margin) Alabama +0.73
TO Points Margin Florida +1.3 points
Situational Alabama Florida
Q1 S&P 0.419 0.754
Q2 S&P 0.615 0.075
Q3 S&P 0.673 0.000
Q4 S&P 0.555 0.656
1st Down S&P 0.550 0.555
2nd Down S&P 0.599 0.619
3rd Down S&P 0.557 0.555
Projected Scoring Margin: Alabama by 25.7
Actual Scoring Margin: Alabama by 14

It took some creativity to keep Florida within 14 points in this game. Based on scoring opportunities created, it should have been about 38-9. But Alabama missed a short field goal and lost a fumble at the UF 28, and Antonio Callaway's long punt return score allowed Florida to actually lead late in the first half.

And then reality took over. This is the best Alabama defense since 2011, and Florida's offense fell into a crater a month ago. A 10% success rate is only going to keep you in the game for so long.

This game showed both why a) Alabama should be a comfortable favorite against Michigan State in the semifinals, and b) Michigan State could still have a chance. The Tide offense is maybe Nick Saban's worst since 2007, and while Derrick Henry is a lovely engine, it takes Alabama a while to distance itself from an opponent, especially one with a defense that limits big-play opportunities. Michigan State will need only a couple of breaks to stick around into the fourth quarter.

At the same time ... you can't run the ball on Alabama. You just can't. And you can barely throw. Unless you get a return score or two, or you end up +5 in the turnover battle like Ole Miss did, it's going to be very difficult to remain ahead of Alabama after 60 minutes.