Nobody appreciates Alabama’s success more than me. This extended roll the Crimson Tide have been on is impressive on so many levels. Winning four of the last seven national championships in this day and age, when so many superb football players supposedly are available to so many teams, it’s uncanny what they’ve been able to do.
In Nick Saban, I believe.
That said, somebody needs to derail this train. That’s not a knock on Bama. It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, what its constituency expects it to do. But the rest of the league needs to step up and slow this roll.
I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Certainly not this weekend in Oxford, Miss., where all eyes in the South will be trained on Bama-Ole Miss for the third straight year.
The Rebels’ back-to-back wins over the Tide have been exciting and fun to witness. That said, I’d predict sleet in Oxford on Saturday before I’d call a third consecutive upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama.
I felt differently a couple of weeks ago, before the second of half of the Rebels’ opener against Florida State, at least. For 30 minutes of that game, I thought maybe this Ole Miss bunch will be the ones to get it going this year. Quarterback Chad Kelly was amazing. That Land Shark defense actually looked better without Robert Nkemdiche. Then the second half happened and I remembered Hugh Freeze was coaching.
Meanwhile, I keep thinking I see vulnerabilities in Tuscaloosa. I see freshmen playing quarterback. I see first-year starters at tailback. I see an offensive line where one guy is playing the position he played last year and they’re moving everybody all over the place.
Defensively, I see turnover. I see the Tide’s loyal coordinator, Kirby Smart, now at Georgia. I see Mel Tucker over there with him, and Glenn Schumann, for what’s that worth. I see a new defensive line coach. I see four second-round draftees now playing in the NFL, and five starters gone overall.
If there was ever a time that Alabama was ripe for the taking, this is it. Isn’t it?
But then I look at the West Division and I simply don’t see a challenger. Ole Miss has all kinds of issues, beyond a running game and defense. I don’t know what to make of LSU anymore. Auburn’s in transition (again), Arkansas is bipolar, Texas A&M is unpredictable, I’m not sure what happened to Mississippi State.
I don’t know, maybe this is the year that Tennessee can find some glory that third Saturday of October and break the nine-game losing streak. But even if the Vols do, chances are they’ll get a rematch in the Georgia Dome in December.
It’s nothing against the Tide, mind you. More power to them. It’s just that the Alabama-and-the-everybody-else refrain gets a little old and tired. Well, outside that fine state anyway.