There is an old joke that asks what’s the difference between Northern and Southern Fairly tails. Northern fairly tales all start out with, “once upon a time” and Southern fairly tales start out, “y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit.”
Y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit, but Alabama started the season by beating a top ten team and is a front-runner to win the division and challenge for the SEC title come December.
It was so easy to believe and it made such good sense; Alabama has more talent on the field – never mind their youth and it’s companion, inexperience – than they have had in the past several seasons. This is Saban’s second season you don’t have to delve deep into the archives to find dramatic turnarounds in year two. The Tide was flying under the radar a little bit and almost all the pundits had them pegged as at least a year away.
Then they throttled the pre-season darling to run through the ACC and Sports Illustrated is plastering them up on the cover and sports writers and television personalities all over the country are falling all over themselves to see who can use the most superlatives in their descriptions of the Crimson Tide. The cherry on top of this sweet treat was that Little Brother’s new-fangled Spread Eagle offense had a horrible debut that had the Auburn faithful lamenting their 34-o win over a team that beat Alabama late last season.
Oh how things change in a week.
Alabama did come away with a win Saturday night. That should remain the focus. And if you look only at the score then it is a decisive win. But that really does not seem to be the whole story. Like anyone who was at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night, I didn’t feel that the offense played very well. The comment I keep seeing over and over is that the the bunch led by Ross’ Brother looked just like they did last season. To me, that’s a scary proposition.
There are many things I could say to justify the play but when there is no justification they just become excuses and I’ve grown a little weary of that game. The O-line was without its starters and therefore lacked cohesion and while this is certainly true, you’d like to see backups that are redshirt sophomores perform a little better. The game plan was very reminiscent of last year’s and while that could have been a ploy to keep the offense vanilla and therefore off of future defensive coordinators film reels you would think that our players could execute them even better. John Parker still floated a few passes that could have led to big plays and therefore a completely different game and while you could say that he played better and didn’t necessarily hurt his teams chances the fact remains those passes were incompletions instead of touchdowns. And while the defense played really well considering they were out there for so long, how long will it be before they grow tired of bailing out the offense.
I’ve just said those things too many times over the past few seasons. I was kinda hoping this year could be different. And it still very well could. If I am anything I am hopeful. After all they do have the Clemson win on their resume and they did win a game when they played flat. If this is their worst game and it very well could be – they could play much better and still lose to two or three other teams on the schedule – then we, the fans, have very little to worry about.
I’m going to give some positives and then some negatives (several of the negatives aren’t confined to the game):
- The defense has yet to give up a touchdown and the team overall has given up on 16 points in two games. This defense has the chance to be very good by season’s end.
- Can you say enough good things about Javier Arenas? The guy is awesome and he adds a dimension to the return game that has to have other coaches up late at night. Heres hoping he returns quickly.
- The reinsertion of Smith and Davis to the O-line should make a huge impact especially in the run game.
- Mark Ingram is a super star waiting to happen. Alabama has sorely missed a back like him.
- Tulane got to think about Alabama all summer and study film all week on what the Tide did in Atlanta. Alabama had neither of those things going for it.
- As a guy at my tailgate said, this is probably the best thing that could have happened. They got humbled without losing and should be much more coachable.
- Isn’t it great to be back at the Quad and in Bryant-Denny?
- The game plan appeared to be totally different. I just don’t understand that.
- Julio has got to do better than 1 of 4 before he gets my Heisman nod. What was up with the short-armed attempt across the middle?
- The backs need to do a better job on blitz recognition.
- Will Alabama ever stop playing to the level of their competition?
- While overall depth and talent are better it was obvious that this year’s team, at least to this point, cannot weather many injuries.
- $6 drinks and $7 nachos?!? Come on guys this is ridiculous. I am not a fan of the new concessions.
- Continuing with concessions, no popcorn or m&m’s. That’s absurd.
- The Dreamland nachos are horrible. Same crappy chips, same crappy cheese, a tiny bit of meat with no sauce, served from the same booster club service. So much for making it a better fan experience. I actually watched as they charged a man $4 to fill his paper cup with ice. Somebody screwed this up.
- I like our band but come on, Journey, the worst version of Kashmir ever, the same Green Day song to start the fourth quarter and then the Queen medley. First of all, they aren’t loud enough to get the stadium hyped and then the selections are just not good football fare. They played virtually no piped-in music on the PA and when they did it was Whitesnake. Seriously? Whitesnake? That wouldn’t have been cool to play even if this was 1988. Someone has got to do a better job on this. Let the band play all the catchy song after scores or first downs of big plays but stop trying to use them to excite the crowd. They are not good at it. I hate to say this but Dixieland Delight was better than that and Sweet Home Alabama just sounds so much better than Basket Case. In case you haven’t noticed, no one likes that song. We can do better than this.
- The atmosphere was meh at best.The play didn’t help but I have a bad feeling that until the Auburn game there just isn’t going to be a ton of excitement. I really hope I’m wrong.
- Parking is so screwed that I can’t even start to go into it. Just another example of paying money for someone to screw stuff up.
- Would it be possible to cut the grass on the Quad? I understand the concept of leaving it a little long for weed control, drought tolerance and so forth but that was ridiculous.
- With all the money UA spent on Gameday operations could they buy some fire ant poison?
Alright, I’m done whining and bitching – at least for now – let’s get ready for the Hilltoppers.