The Crimson Tide spent October gorging on cupcakes and other offerings off college football's pastry cart. In Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee, they faced four teams which could have put their best players together and still not won.
Alabama will have much more on which to chew after this bye week, and how it stomachs the next four or five offerings will determine if it gets a chance to defend its back-to-back titles in January's BCS championship game.
Sandwiching expected walkovers against Mississippi State and Chattanooga are tough tests against LSU Nov. 9 and the Iron Bowl at surprisingly good Auburn Nov. 30. And if the Tide gets through all that unscathed, they will have the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 7, likely against Missouri.
"It's going to be important for us to be able to focus on this bye week to try and improve and to try and get more players to play winning football," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Considering that the Tide have won their last six games by a combined 246-26, that sounds perfectly ridiculous. Except that there have been a few pockets of mediocrity mixed in with all the dominance, which is enough to set off Saban.
Process is as important as results, especially when you're winning by five touchdowns per game. While fans and media pundits fawn over the scores, Saban looks at a team which averages more penalty yards per game than its opponents and frets.
So with the run-up to the regular season's last month approaching, it's time to tighten things down, get the machine running at maximum efficiency and see if the Tide make it three straight BCS titles.
"You get defined by what you do every week," Saban said. "We've got some big challenges and some stiff competition against some very good teams coming up here. This bye week comes at a really good time for us."
--LB C.J. Mosley is one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, annually given to the nation's top linebacker. Mosley paces the Tide in tackles with 59, including 5.5 for loss, and also boasts four QB hurries along with three pass breakups. Mosley plays well in space, an attribute which will serve him well in the NFL next year.
--SS Landon Collins has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, doled out to the nation's top defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Committee. Collins, who returned an interception 89 yards for a TD on Oct. 26 against Tennessee, is second on the team in tackles with 34 and has a team-high five pass breakups.
--WR Kevin Norwood enjoyed a career-high 112 receiving yards in the win over Tennessee, averaging 18.7 yards on his six catches. The reliable senior pass-catcher also hauled in a TD, his third of the year. Norwood leads the team in receiving yardage with 348 and his 23 catches are second behind Christion Jones.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "All we do is work and work and keep grinding until we know we can shut anybody down like we did today." -- Strong safety Landon Collins on the defense's performance in the win over Tennessee.