Tide Druid has taken over the Roundtable and this week marks my triumphant return. Without further delay:

1) Due to that colossal victory over a Top 10 team in Clemson, Alabama has shot up in the polls (13th in AP and 17th in Coaches). What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? (Too High? Too Low? Just Right?) Expound on this if you can.

That is probably about right. It’s nice to see Alabama in the polls – usually the higher the better –  just as it’s nice to see them, jinx aside, on the cover of one of the nation’s preeminent sports publications. It signifies that the team is being noticed for something positive, their play on the field, versus their indiscretions with local law enforcement. However, and I hate to get into coach speak here but other than this week it means very little. Alabama has to continue to perform on the field at a high level. If they do that, then the things that the fans really desire, respect, prestige, championships, will come. No one ever says, “yeah, well Alabama was number 13 in Week One of ’08”.

I’ll go a little further. I truly believe that an early season poll is only slightly better than a pre-season poll. Will Alabama continue to perform well and justify a high rank? How will Clemson’s season play out and what will be the perception of the win in three weeks, six weeks, etc? Pre and early season polls are alright as long as they are very, very fluid. They are based little on facts and mostly on perceptions (and yes, some late-season polls are based largely on perception). I despise seeing those perceptions bias a ranking. Ohio State might only lose two games this season – against USC and the SEC team they meet in a bowl game – does that mean they are worthy to be ranked in the top five all year, higher than teams that would surely beat them? Even if they lose in a blow-out at USC they will only drop 10 places. That still puts them in the top 15 for the whole season. I’m becoming more and more in favor of performance based polls like Matt’s (and not just because he had Alabama at #1 this week – they won’t be after the weekend).

In conclusion, I’m satisfied with where Alabama was ranked, but I’m not going to risk injury patting myself on the back. I’m trying to stay grounded and focused on a season’s worth of results, or more so hoping that’s what the team is doing.

2) We’re all a little shocked at how much Alabama dominated that game on Saturday. What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most?

The play of the defensive line was very pleasing followed closely by the offensive line. I felt good about the receivers and while they still haven’t really been tested I wasn’t too concerned about them as a group. My main cause for optimism this season, based on Saturday’s results, if the effort of both lines. If they stay healthy and continue that effort all season this could be a tremendously better season. One that at minimum will position Alabama to be considered with the current big names of the conference in the coming seasons.

3) Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

It was such a good team effort I’m naming units: The lines on both side. This was such a total team victory I’m not going to risk leaving anyone off.