Sep 282008

Good news, rest of the country:  we’ve likely deep-sixed those stupid black jerseys for you forever.

You’re welcome.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to believe.  I said it last night, and I meant it:  ‘Bama is back.  In Nick Saban’s second season, the Crimson Tide is one of the top two teams in the SEC and a legitimate national title contender.  There is no reasonable data that suggests otherwise.

The fan in me says that the natural order of the universe has been restored.  The cynic in me says that the wheels could still come off.

Could they?  Oh, sure, they always could.  But is it likely?  Hmmm.

Drunk on 5-0 and with perhaps a #3 or #4 ranking coming this afternoon, it’s easy to forget that this team is still not particularly deep.  Alabama has been fortunate with (lack of) injuries, so we don’t really have a feel for how the team will react to the loss of a star player.  Alabama declined far more than it should have in 2005 after Tyrone Prothro’s career-ending injury.

However, Alabama has something today that it did not have then:  a truly excellent coaching staff.  Much has been made of Saban’s personnel strategy, and indeed, he seems to be doing a great job building depth with what he has.

Moreover, there are two solid indicators of said excellence this season that, in my view, are not getting enough attention:

  • Alabama is one of the least penalized teams in the country.  The Tide has been flagged 18 times for 127 yards—all year.  Georgia managed about two-thirds of that just last night.
  • Alabama is averaging a single turnover per game.

Through five games, this team does not beat itself.  That trait always comes from the top.

Perhaps most importantly, while last night was a dominant performance in a hostile environment against a very good team, Alabama still slopped around enough to give Saban plenty to harp on in practice this week.  Though the outcome was never in question—the 11-point margin of victory was the closest Georgia came to coming back—the Bulldogs got plenty of trash points in the second half.  We’re still too vulnerable to corner and down-and-out routes, and kick coverage remains mediocre.

Kentucky, still undefeated themselves, is next.  The only game is the next one.  This squad looked to be in danger of forgetting that in their second game against Tulane.  There hasn’t been the tiniest indication that they’ve forgotten it since.

“It’s morning in Alabama.” – Greg Bacon

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 Posted by at 12:26 pm

  6 Responses to “Alabama 41, Georgia 30, and beyond”

  1. I haven’t seen a team better than Bama this year (and that’s coming from an AU grad). Not that there aren’t some out there, but I haven’t seen them play the same competition and look as good as Bama. Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Penn State, etc. all good, but who have they played. Bama’s weakness appears to be the secondary. Georgia passed at will in the 4th quarter almost.

  2. Can Saban keep ’em out of jail?

    *** ducking and running ***

    You are just lucky not to have to face Vandy.

  3. Scott: It’s something, isn’t it? I was hoping for this by 2010 or 2011. To be in position to make a plausible run at the thing in 2008 is a treat indeed, and it’s that ahead-of-schedule characteristic that will greatly mitigate my disappointment if we don’t get there. (“Plausible” run is important–we were technically in the mix in 2005, but I knew on some level that we didn’t have the stuff to do it, so I never got super-excited about it.)

    Half of the BCS title picture is potentially very clear. Neither LSU nor Alabama fans should concern themselves with weird scenarios. If they’re both perfect going in to play each other and the winner wins out, they’re in. To fans of each program: If you drop one, and there’s a logjam of one-loss teams, and you don’t get in, don’t cry about it. You didn’t take care of business.

    ‘seester: Ah, yes. “Vandy’s tough!”

    For Vanderbilt to finish above .500 is like a top-tier team winning 11 games. This looks like a year that they just might do it, but so did 2005 (5-6, after starting 4-0).

    I like Bobby Johnson, and I like the idea of my league’s perennial doormat going bowling for the first time since 1982. But I’ll believe it when I see it. Vanderbilt’s six-game losing streak in ’05 included SEC East heavyweights, but it started with Middle Tennessee.

  4. I just want to say “Congrats.” You guys are really, really good. Bama’s back. I was happy that you beat the crap out of the Georgia crackers. Meanest fans in sports, hands down. There’s not many stadiums out there where you have to put a helmet on your kids so the objects thrown at them won’t hurt. Classy.

    Well, I have to say a little something more…

    For God’s sake! Fire that piece of shit Bowden! What’s it gonna take? His only talent is ruining the chances of lucrative professional careers for some of the best athletes in the country! More importantly, he is making me dread my absolute favorite time of the year! I painted my effing toenails orange this year, and for what!?!? Fire him! Fire him! Fire him!

  5. Thank you, Cheryl. I think it could be a special year. I also think this weekend’s game will tell us something about how well Alabama can ignore the spotlight, ’cause God knows it’s on ’em. And I know it’s “just” Kentucky, but so far they appear to have a damned fine defense on the ground.

    I’m absolutely with you on getting rid of Tommy Bowden. I think you may get your wish this year.

  6. Don’t hold back Cheryl, tell us how you really feel! 🙂

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