With thanks to my friend Tony at Alabama Gameday for hosting.
What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?
I’ve been skeptical long enough, and while I still believe that it is only the end of the season poll that matters, I’ve come around that we are what we are. Alabama deserves the 8th ranking that it holds in the AP Poll and should be the same in the Coach’s Poll – I believe them to be better than both Texas Tech and Wisconsin.
Look, here’s the deal. After this weekends game Alabama is either going to be, depending on the outcome of the game, between 15th and 5th, and that is where they belong. If they win, they are a top five team, no questions asked. If they lose, even by a big margin, their body of work, based on five weeks of games, merits a top-twenty spot.
Look at this way: through four games it is safe to say that Alabama is a good team. They are strong on the offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage, they have a strong running game, better-than-average special teams, and a quarterback who, while not being a Heisman Candidate by any stretch, is going to manage the game and keep his team out of trouble. Barring injury, the ceiling for this team is a second trip to Atlanta and an after New Year’s Day bowl and the floor would be 5-3 in the conference but probably more like 6-2 with a New Year’s day game. All that hinges on major injuries though.
That is a lot of words to say that Alabama is easily a top 15 team and with a win, at home, against the preseason numero uno, would have to be in the top five and into the conversation for the national title- mind you I didn’t say in but in the conversation.
What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?
The obvious answer was the ground game but overall it was the way they won. They won with big plays on both offense and defense that broke the spirit of the opponent. That’s the forth win of the season and there is not a thread of a distinct pattern in any of the victories. Clemson was won with smash-mouth workman like effort. Tulane was put away early with special play form the special teams (see what I did there). Western Kentucky was stifled with killer defense and a very balanced attack. Most recently Arkansas was killed with the big play.
To me the diversity is the sign that this is a good team. In ’05, the last good team Alabama fielded, the defense was stellar and other than a few early looks the offense put up just enough point to win. This team is nothing like that. It could come from anywhere.
Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.
Glen Coffee on Offense – set a new Alabama record with 16.2 yards a carry.
Javier Arenas on Defense – pick six and excellent corner blitz. I’m more and more impressed with this kid.
Alabama has dominated the first quarter, outscoring opponents 64-0 in the first quarter. How do you think this team will handle its first taste of adversity this season?
Much talk will be made of the fact that this team has not faced adversity yet. While I agree to an extent – they have not had to battle when behind on the scoreboard (one of only five teams in the country that can say that by the way) – I would also argue that in three of the games, the opposing team had the opportunity to gain momentum after a turnover or a score and in all three occasions Alabama answered with a sustained drive to score immediately or as in the case of Clemson, after exchanging possessions. This team can answer.
Setting aside Georgia, now that the season is well underway, how do you feel Alabama stacks up against what you’ve seen of their big opponents?
When you talk about prognostications and Alabama’s chances for success the rest of the year naysayers will point to JPW and youth as reason they can’t make a strong run. To that I say that Chris Leak is not playing football today, but wears a ring that he won just two short years ago – you don’t have to have super talent, you just have to lead and keep form giving it away. The youth have now played 1/3 of the season with half of that coming outside the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium. They only get better. Tennessee is ready to tailspin. Auburn’s OC doesn’t have a clue and all of a sudden the OMG!!!11!!! Best Defense of All Time just gave up 400 yards. At Home. As of today, Alabama will be favored in every regular-season game they play but two (this weekend at Georgia and at LSU in November). That is much different than when the season began and very well could be much different next week – that’s why the games are played and that’s why I love this sport.
That could all change but that’s how I see it today.