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I rarely agree with Scarbinsky. I beleive him to be a failed Dennis Miller wannabe and sensationalistic blowhard. But I will give him props when he deserves them.
He’s a little more bullish on the prospects of the football team that Alabama will field in ’09 than some of the “experts” are.
Basically, three pundits have proclaimed the Tide a top six team that will be in the mix for the national title again.
In this instance, I thinks he’s got it right.
I’ll go ahead and go on the record now and say that Alabama should begin the season around 15. You don’t immediately contend with 2/5 of an experienced offensive line (including replacements at center and left tackle) or a wide-eyed quarterback.
The possibiltity is there to see addition by subtraction at the signal caller position but the line will take a few games to get it together either way. You don’t go on a strong campaign without good line play. You just don’t.
The only saving grace could be the schedule. Auburn and Ole Miss will be the toughest road games, not the mention the season opener againast a Virginia Tech team that improved most of the last half of the season. The Tide does get a rebuilding Tennessee, an improved Arkansas, and an always dangerous LSU at home. Exchaning Georgia for South Carolina helps as well.
My belief is that the offense is purring by the end of the season and the defense has become other worldly. This makes me think that as play begins in 2010 that Alabama will be loaded at most every position and a top three pre-season ranking will be warranted.
I don’t think that the parallels are exactly the same but, for the most part, the third year of a new coach, following a great second year, is usually down. LSU just completed the worst season since Saban’s third year. The fourth year is statiscally a good year though. Just look at Saban, Meyer, or Les Miles for further proof.
(ht: Bama Sports Report)
Having completed week seven, we are at the halfway of the 2008 football season. Sad isn’t it. Of course if you’re an Alabama fan, up to this point, you really can ask for nothing more. Here is quick look at where conference teams are, where we thought they would be and what’s coming in the future:
After week seven Alabama stands as the only undefeated team in the conference, a consensus number two in the major polls, and a projection from major media outlets as a player in the BCS championship game.
Wow! Just wow!
After coming off a 7-6 campaign that defined mediocrity and being picked to finish third in the division only the most delusional fans would have predicted this. Yours truly predicted the Tide to have two losses at this point. The rise of Alabama to this point has been nothing short of miraculous.
It starts with an injury list that is virtually empty, superior play from some guys on the roster that no one though were capable of such, and an influx of incredible new talent. Alabama has played a little too up and down for some but has been there when it mattered.
The season opening Clemson win looks less and less impressive as the fighting Bowdens spiral into oblivion and the low scoring affairs with Tulane and Kentucky are not exactly huge accomplishments. The win over Georgia, in Athens, stands as the best accomplishment on their resume. The Arkansas win gained a little more luster after the weekend, even if that’s only within the confines of our great state.
The rest of the season looks manageable but scary. Alabama will begin the second half of the season with a target squarely on its back. For teams like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and now, Auburn, beating Alabama would be a high point for less-than-stellar seasons. LSU might be the only team left that Alabama will be an underdog against and that is a big, might.
Fan-in-me aside: I’ll admit it. I am very excited about this season but it makes me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a rocking chair factory. There isn’t a team Alabama plays that cannot beat them if they are not ready and committed. The Tide can beat everyone on the schedule, but Auburn could have beaten Arkansas. Will I be content with 9-2? Probably not now although it would be a definite improvement. It’s easy to look at the present tenuous situation that all of our rivals are in and say Alabama should role but all three of those teams can be very dangerous to an unprepared team and Alabama has yet to trail. How will they respond when they do? Tennessee worries me and worse than that LSU and Auburn are still, despite the recent troubles, the proud holders of streaks over Alabama that fill up at least one hand. Nothing is proven until those streaks are reversed.
Hold on. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.
To be continued…
Thanks to Gerry Dorsey for this week’s fascinating questions:
1. what team will be the biggest surprise in the sec in ’08?? the biggest disappointment??
I’m sticking with my prediction that Ole Miss is the sleeper in the conference and I will add that I would not be surprised to see the Cocks (hehe – he just said cocks – absolutely never gets old) do well this year. The Vawls are this years train wreck waiting to happen; no defense + new offense = disaster.
2. we appear to know who our qb is going to be for the season barring something crazy, but not all offensive skill positions are so certain. as the season progresses, who do you see stepping up to be this squad’s most productive rb?? and wr??
Terry Grant is due. But I also believe that Saban likes the committee style running back so I look for either Jimmy Johns (my bad, couldn’t resist) Roy Upchurch or Glen Coffee to make their mark this year. As far as receiver look for Nikita Stover to lead all categories, but I believe there will not be a lot of difference between the group as a whole. You should notice a trend here – I believe that if this offense is successful it will be because the ball is spread around and keeps the defense guessing. We’ve been used to one running back with all the carries and one WR leading all others by a large margin. I don’t think you’re going to see that this season and if you don’t the most important stat, W, will be greater that it has been lately.
3. obviously “the saban” is lord and savior, and created the heavens and the earth, but if you were forced to trade saban for another active coach, who would it be and why??
Similar to Gerry’s answer for the trade-a-player question a few weeks ago, I’m standing pat. There is no one else I want. I think that Saban is the perfect coach at the perfect time for Alabama. To give a little bit of an answer I’ll say that I like the way that Mark Richt is running things at Georgia and I think that Tubberville is doing about as well at Auburn as any coach can, and he is to be commended for that but I quite happy with who we have and neither one of those guys would come to Alabama now anyway. Our next coach will be coordinator somewhere with a lot of success or a mid major coach with the same characteristic. But I hope that in at least 5-7 years, minimum.
4. some people view bama fans as insane. while “insane” is an awfully strong word, many bama fans have a disturbing obsession with their team. what is the most significant/unique/valuable/weird piece of bama paraphernalia you have and why??
As soon as I wake up on a game day before I do anything else I place my crimson flag with the white scripted A in its place on the front of our house. Only football games, whether home or away; so this happens twelve or thirteen times a year, but it is the most crucial thing I do that day and I am obsessive about it. If I am at the site of the away game I call my wife and make sure she has it up (she hasn’t traveled much since the children arrived- that’s changing this year and I’m not sure what I’m going to do – well, there goes any hope for productive work today.) Also when out of towns guests are stating with us, they are awakened by “Yea, Alabama” very loud. Hungover or not. In ’99, after I put the flag up I would go get Hardee’s biscuits and got to my dad’s and we’d read the paper, eat, drink coffee and discuss the game. We won the SEC that year. I guess I’ve got to start that again. OK, I’m very OCD about game days. Game days are the best.
[My new name for the roundup/link type posts]
I spent all weekend in front of the television and only saw him make one shot. Alabama’s Michael Thompson did indeed make the cut at the U.S. Open and took it a step farther by finishing 72 holes at 8-over tied for 29th and the low amateur. Congratulations Michael and best of luck to you as you start your pro career.
This is not as good as it sounds. Alabama senior signal caller Ross’ Brother (John Parker) Wilson has been named to the Johnny Unitas Award watch list. According to the folks that give out the award it “takes athletic performance into consideration as well as off-the-field values of good character, citizenship, scholastic achievement and strong leadership.”
Which sounds nice in theory until you look at the other senior quarterbacks up for the award and find the name: Rhett Bomar, who in my opinion sets the bar for “off-the-field values”. In addition to the absolute best bangs in the conference, Ross’ Brother also is the owner of a DUI citation, which he received as a redshirt freshman (I think). I haven’t gone into details of the other watch list members but I’m thinking that the status of the award has taken a hit.
To clarify, I’m certain that both Bomar and Wilson have learned from their transgressions and are walking the straight and narrow and should be congratulated for that but if you’re going to give an award that claims to hold character in high regard then I think the candidates should have led unsullied lives up to this point. Besides, we already have a system to reward those who have screwed up and (cough, cough) straightened themselves out. It’s called elected office.
Also to clarify, in the event that Ross’ Brother leads the Tide to many victories or a few vivtories over certain rivals, I will propose that my wife have another child, just so that I can name it John Parker, be it a male or female. I will also go on endlessly about how I have always loved the guy and knew that he was the man all along; as well as refer to him by his given name.
If he had his way. Doug Gillette continues his interesting look at what would have happened in past seasons if the old bowl system had implemented a “plus one” game to determine the national champion. In this installment he looks at the ’03 season. [Ed. Note: I've shamelessly ripped of Doug enough where I feel the need to provide a link and acknowledge his greatness plus this is a semi-sorta mea culpa for referring to his Georgia Bulldogs as Johnny-come-latelys in my post about the '07 Alabama-Georgia game.]
And finally, Haiku:
The temps are getting higher
Cleared players lower
Saban knows what he’s doing?