You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.
Thanks to Todd over at Roll Bama Roll for hosting this week.
1. What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are
we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?
I’m still feeling good about the position. If the team can keep winning, everything will take care of itself.
2. 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
Alabama tried, and finally did establish a passing game this weekend. Tennessee countered with a pretty fierce rush but McElwain and company countered with roll outs. Also, hats off to John Parker; he took a few early hits but never lost his poise.
I was also presently surprised with Alabama’s defense against the screen pass (minus the touchdown). That is an area of improvement over the struggles from earlier in the season.
For a team that stunk it up on punt returns earlier in the year, the Vols did a great job on neutralizing the threat of an Arenas return. Drunk or not, minus the shank, Britton Colquitt is one helluva punter.
3. Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.
I’ll go with at least three on each side: John Parker, Roy Upchurch , and Julio Jones when we had the ball. Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower, and Javier Arenas when they had the ball. This was truly a team effort on all fronts.
This is probably an excellent segue into the fact that my wife is expecting our third son late this winter and as we already have two other boy children, names are getting harder to choose. At some point during the game, my wife tells me that our newest addition was turning flips inside her and she figured it was a response to her nervousness over the game and the noise and general rowdiness coming from me and the other two boys. Sometime during the fourth quarter, in what has become an almost daily occurrence in our home, she turns to me and says, “what are we going to call this child,” and in as serious a face and voice as I could muster in that moment, without hesitation, I said, “Javier Julio Tyrone.” She thought for a moment and said, without cracking a smile, “Javier Julio Tyrone, child of the covenant, I now baptize you in the name of….” (for those of you who aren’t Presbyterian, or other infant baptizing denominations, that’s what the minister says right after he has asked you the christian name of the child and before he sprinkles water on its head, and is in front of the entire congregation on Sunday morning.)
4. Arkansas State got a BCS scalp at Texas A&M to open their season,
while we’re still living down the humiliation of a loss to their
fellow Sun Belt member La.-Monroe. We’ve worried about a letdown all
season long and, considering a similarly dominating win over UT
preceded the November death spiral last year, are we in danger here?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Alabama is certainly in danger. Arkansas State will not be bothered at all by 92,000 plus. They expect to beat the Tide, or at least compete with them. Alabama will have to play four good quarters of football to win this game.
With that being said, beating A&M might be the worst thing that could have happened to Arkansas State. Alabama will take them seriously. I think the same was true of Ole Miss and their win over Florida, prior to playing Alabama. It is cliche to say that any team can lose to any team even though it’s true. But having a win like that is a hard-core, eye-opening fact, that gets players attention more than just coach-speak. Alabama must take this team seriously, as they have to do with every team on the schedule, but evidence that not playing your best game can cost you should work in the Tide’s favor. They won’t be “sneaking up” on Alabama – at least that’s what I hope.
5. Looking around the SEC, which team is the most undervalued in the
league? Who is the most overvalued?
Undervalued is a little easier and I’m going with Ole Miss for that distinction. They have been in every game they played – one score from winning all of their losses. A not-so-close second is Auburn. Yeah, I know things seem bad down there, but if you turn down Finebaum long enough to see the facts, other than the WVU game, you can say the same thing about themas Ole Miss. There is talent down there, especially on defense. Burns is gaining experience and if they can win the game this weekend, they could be very dangerous down the stretch. They should give Georgia a good game at home and will absolutely play lights out when they visit T-town the weekend after Thanksgiving. Think I’m wrong? Think back to 2004 when they were undefeated and Alabama had defined mediocrity. The Tide gave them everything they wanted, taking a lead into halftime and being a score from tying it up on the last drive. Just because they are 4-4 and Alabama is 8-0 starting November doesn’t mean that the streak is over. I won’t rest easy on that one until Alabama is ahead and the clock reads 0:00.
For overvalued, I’m going with Alabama or Florida. Florida still sports a home loss to the Rebels and despite a couple of impressive wins since, then they still have holes. I just don’t believe that Myer’s spread is a pound-it-out type offense. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly good, but have you noticed it’s feast or famine with the points. They get in rhythm and it’s like turning on a faucet with the handle broken off, you can’t stop it. On the other hand, if they don’t get going to begin with, they don’t seem near as potent. The Gators do have a much-improved defense and a collection of incredible athletes but you don’t want to peak against Kentucky and in light of what Georgia just did in Baton Rouge, the win over LSU doesn’t look near as good.
Alabama has yet to be punched in the mouth early, if you don’t count Tulane, and, despite a few good performances lately, I’m not sure if the pass protection is good enough to make a two-score rally. Let’s face it, if passing is predictable, I’m not sure the tools are there. On the bright side, Alabama is not going to see anything from defensive lines they haven’t already seen, so I think they can run the ball on anybody, but no one has said, “we dare you to pass” by selling out on the run. The effective passing this team has done has been when they wanted to, not because they had to.
What Alabama does have is an earth-mover of a line, a couple of sure-handed receivers, a couple of better-than-average tight ends, a handful of work-horse running backs, and an experienced if not flashy quarterback. No one’s talking about Heisman for any of these guys and they aren’t going to put up sixty points but who else in the conference can claim all the elements Alabama has on that side of the ball.
My Top Five:
Alabama, Texas, Penn State, Georgia, Florida
The Next Seven:
Oklahoma State, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Utah, Florida State, Boise State, Texas Tech
LSU, Ohio State, Georgia Tech
Boise State, Florida State, Texas Tech
Oregon, Cal, Michigan State, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tulsa, Ball State
- All unbeaten teams remained that way this week
- The one-loss BCS teams has dwindled down to five; I had to consider two-loss teams for the first time
- Texas Tech finally made it in, as did Boise State; it was very hard for me to do this
- Once again the last couple of spots in the Next Seven could have gone to several teams but I tried to reward record this week.
- The Top Five was probably the easiest to pick this week more-so than as any before it; Georgia and Florida have both responded well from adversity (LSU might prove to be less and less of a quality win as the season goes on) and USC stood its ground against questionable competition
- The Pac-10, ACC, and Big East are horrid, of course every other conference isn’t looking all that great top-to-bottom, including the Big 12, who had such weak early schedules and are now beating each other in what appear to be quality wins. The Big Ten is still a question and it makes me wonder if there truly is not that much difference between these teams, maybe the unbeaten records of Utah, Tulsa, Boise, and Ball really do deserve a little more credit.
- I’m glad Alabama has a week to catch its breath (I hope) before traveling to Baton Rouge, but it also seems that teams gain ground more ground with big wins than they do taking care of business over lesser teams.
- All this talk of Penn State being a lock is premature, just as talk of Alabama or Texas in the BCS is, but if Texas and Alabama remain undefeated, which would mean winning a championship game over a two-loss Mizzou team, and a one-loss Georgia or Florida team respectively, I don’t see how that looks less impressive than Penn State’s sole quality win over a “mediocre” Ohio State team, Herbstreit be damned. Plus the fact that Penn State will be two-weeks from its last game when the final poll comes out.
- If you think that a three no-loss teamscenario is a nightmare, imagine five or more one-loss teams.
cause we’re from Alabama!
I don’t care what the records, that was a huge win!
Roll Tide Roll!
We’ll see y’all next week!
In the mean time, we just beat Tennessee!!!!
Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Third Saturday in October and the Alabama bloogers are teaming up with the cousin fuckers Tennessee Bloggers and insulting one another working together to do a joint roundtable.
The good folks at Third Saturday in Blogtober, in what would seem to be a random coincidence but actually isn’t, are hosting. Hey, since the Vawls are participating I guess that means we don’t have to do a position-in-the-polls-type question.
Both teams at some point or another have been described as an Evil Empire. If your team is the Death Star, what is it’s planet-destroying weapon?
Rolando McClain. He doesn’t speak Teradactyl and the only philosophy he knows is delivering pain. A close second would be the Cat-like (that’s as in Caterpillar earth moving machinery not feline) offensive line that Alabama possesses.
What is it’s two meter wide exhaust port?
A passing attack – Alabama has given up chunks of yards in the air, over the middle. If UT had a decent quarterback I would be very worried because the run defense could be at a season low without big TC in the middle, and the Tide could be more susceptible to play-action. While it is certainly possible for them to have a break-out game, UT’s offense has defined inconsistent and flacid.
Everyone is looking forward to Eric Berry vs. Julio Jones. What is the next matchup you’ll be keying on in this game?
I’m really worried about the orange o-line getting a good push on the new, Cody-less d-line. That will have my attention early in the match up.
The Tide and Vols will scrap it out under the lights at Neyland. Do you like this arrangement and does the later kickoff time provide an advantage to either team?
This doesn’t sound right to say but, Alabama has played its best football this year on the road at night. This team has shown it gets up for a big game. Despite the inconsistencies in the records this is a big game. Advantage Alabama.
Since the Tide had a bye week and the Vols didn’t bother to play that weekend either (zing!) we’re going to say this is the Third Saturday in October just to justify the name of one of the greatest rivalries in college football. In three thousand words or less, turn over the kettles of white-hot liquid hate upon thine enemy.
I’m worried about this game because I am not worried about this game. Normally I sleep very little and finish the week with very little fingernails. That hasn’t been the case this week. I just don’t think that Tennessee is that good and while I know this is one of those games that you throw everything out of the window. Upsets are possible and I completely understand what it is like to believe that winning one game will make the sun shine a little brighter, the facts are that it rarely works out that way.
This is not the usual game. While I’d like to say that I have laughed maniacally as Tennessee lost the previous four times this year… Ok, I’d be lying if I said anything different; I’ve laughed my Orange Hating Ass off. I don’t feel sorry about it either. I do understand what it’s like to see something I love suffer. I know the pain of watching my team struggle and lose to opponents that it shouldn’t. I know the feeling that just one win over one hated rival would seem to bring only to have it taken away and my already hurting spirit kicked one more time.
The whole time this has gone on I haven’t said a word. It’s like when you see your most hated rival in school given a wedgie by seniors who normally don’t notice your existence. You don’t offer support or laugh, because you could be next. No, you just look down and occasionally glance out of the corner of your eye and hope that your stolen looks don’t add to his embarrassment. I’m not in a position to say what they should do nor am I in a position to point and laugh… well, maybe a little.
Yes, a UT win would be sweet for them and might give a little bit of meaning to this otherwise horrible season. The bad guys (from their perspective) loss would be karma giving back just a little in this cruelest of seasons. Football isn’t like that though. It doesn’t care. The Vols are a bad team and a win by them would be extra devastating because there is no justification for a 7-0 team losing to a 3-4 team. UT lost to UCLA for Pete’s sake.
That’s not saying that it can’t or won’t happen. UT is worthy of respect this year. But make no bones about it Vol fans, you’re in transition. Isn’t any fun is it?
… to borrow one of my favorite commenter names from EDSBS. The Snake is loose. Kenny “Snake” Stabler, the poster boy for “redneck with panache”, was found not-guilty in DUI charges from this past summer.
Today is going to be a good day.
By all accounts this should be a great week, and to a degree it is. Let me rephrase that. This is an awesome week, there is just so much going on that I can’t slow down enough to enjoy it as I typically do.
Alabama is seven games into the season and has not lost yet; Tuscaloosa, as I was telling a friend a day or two ago, is a much better place when Alabama is wining.
This Saturday, Alabama will travel to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee and play the Volunteers. This is the game that embodies everything great about college football to me.
The first anniversary of this blog’s existence passed without fanfare last week. I’ve been faithful to this for one year and I am still entertained by it and excited about the future it might have.
With all that going on I should be beside myself with anticipation and excitement. The truth is there is so much going on in the world of truly important things that I haven’t been able to sleep and eat properly, much less concentrate on things that I enjoy – like football and this blog.
Sometimes you have to make tough decisions that affect not only you but a few others. And then sometimes you ask a few questions that you already know the answers to and react. The latter has what has happened to me over the last week-and-a-half.
I have been a partner in a business venture and after two-and-a-half years it became completely apparent that the goals we had set for ourselves would not be realized. My options came down to financial ruin, at least in the short term, or striking out on my own (with the distinct possibility of financial ruin). I did what anyone in my situation did and struck out on my own. It has been an amazing few days that were broken up by a football game.
As of Monday, I am the sole member of an LLC and have been gathering support and resources ever since. The response from friends, advisers, and clients has been amazing. I’ve got a great attorney, a great accountant, a great insurance agent, a great computer guy, and multiple friends that have been there for me every step of the way.
This has and will dominate my life for the next several weeks. That’s OK, in fact, that is how it needs to be. The downside is I will have very little time for blogging.
So I’ve been here over a year now. Yeah for me! Instead of the post to commemorate that (which I will do later) you can search to archives if you want to relive something.
Also, instead of a new post on how I loathe Tennessee and yet love the game played between them and my beloved Tide you can reread this and just change any words out that are indicative of the location of the game for this edition.
Don’t worry, I won’t be far away.
My Top Five:
TEXAS, ALABAMA, PENN STATE, FLORIDA, USC
The Next Seven:
Georgia, Oklahoma State, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Uath
Michigan State, Missouri
Georgia Tech, LSU
Boston College, Florida State, Pittsburgh
Notes and Comments:
- With BYU losing on Thursday night there are now nine unbeaten teams
- The number of one-loss BCS teams fell to fourteen
- Oklahoma State’s win over Mizzou looked a little less impressive since Texas dismantled the Tigers
- Still not sold on Utah, but didn’t feel like bumping them this week since I haven’t yet
- The last two spots in the top five (Florida and USC) could have gone to Ohio State, Oklahoma, or Georgia. It’s really a toss-up between them but I felt that the impressive wins – Florida’s last week and USC this week – gave them the edge.
- Alabama didn’t look good after Cody went down but… they did remain unbeaten and despite shooting themselves in the foot beat a team that beat Florida two weeks ago and they ran off 24 unanswered after trailing for the first time this season.
- The last three spots in the “second tier” were a little bit harder. I saw a lot of Georgia Tech and Clemson and that (coupled with a loyalty to my grandfather’s rooting interest) gave them the edge beating out Florida State – who is looking better, even if Bowden wasn’t (did anyone else notice that Erin Andrews was doing her best no to crack up as she interviewed him the other night?).
- Somebody please, please beat Utah, Boise State, Ball State, and Tulsa. I’m tired of even having to consider them.
- Spending my day both on the Quad, and in a bottle of Maker’s I saw probably less football than I had all year. It made it a little harder to pick, fortunately a lot of the one-loss team added a second loss.
- I spent about twenty minutes researching (my season low) and twenty minutes on the post
This week’s questions courtesy of the Tide Druid.
1. What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?
My biggest fear after watching Oklahoma lose last week was that Alabama would take the spot that they vacated. The Tide is positioned perfectly. There may be a target on the number ranked team but it isn’t near as big as the target for the number one team.
2. Kentucky’s Defensive Line gave Alabama an afternoon of problems. Considering that Ole Miss is said to have a better D-Line, is there a cause for concern, or our we just over-reacting to a tired team’s performance?
I’ll gladly take the problems that go along with over 400 yards of offense. Personally, I thought that the fumbles and miss field goal aside, the offense did alright. Ole Miss’ line scares me but that only because I wake up in cold sweats still, dreaming of the whipping they put on the Alabama O-line last year.
3. What part of Alabama’s team concerns you against Ole Miss? Likewise, what aspect of the game should Alabama control?
I am mostly concerned about the intensity not being there. Alabama is a more talented team than Ole Miss and other than Snead having time to make plays I believe the Tide should win easily. They just can’t be allowed to hang around.
I apologize for mailing it in this time. It’s been one hell of a week.
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:
The Tigers sit at second in the West behind Alabama with a 4-1 record (2-1 conference). They are coming off their worst loss in the the Miles tenure (and possibly since a loss to Florida in 1996) with the 51-21 humiliation at the hands of the Gators.
The Bayou Bengals were picked to win the West and play in Atlanta by some because of their strengths on the line-of-scrimmage and their depth. They also began the season in the Top 10. Week Seven saw all of that change.
After Florida hung more than half-a-hundred on them things are looking a little shaky in Baton Rouge this week. While stock in their vaunted defense took a tumble this weekend this is still a relatively good team- certainly better than the score in Gainesville showed. This team could very well get their act together and earn the rematch with Florida in Atlanta. Up next is South Carolina and then the Bulldogs. LSU needs to win those two games and use the next game, against Tulane, to tune things up for the showdown in Baton Rouge on November 8th when Saban’s new team, Alabama, comes to town.
Currently LSU is up and down when it comes to stats. Their offense looks relatively good as they are fourth (in the conference) in Scoring Offense (32.6 ppg), second in Total Offense (406 ypg), third in Rushing Offense (181.2 ypg), and fourth in Passing Offense (108.2 ypg). The defense however, is where things don’t look as good. This is mind-boggleing as the defensive line is full and deep with talent and LSU has hung their identity over the last seven years, in which time they have won two national championships, on a strong defense. Currently LSU is tenth in Scoring Defense (22.4 ppg), ninth in Total Defense (303.6 ypg), sixth in Rushing Defense (108.2 ypg) and ninth in Passing Defense (195.4 ypg). All very not-LSU-like numbers. The only promising defensive stat is that they are 1st in Opponent First Downs. Maybe this is because opponents score on them without the benefit of first downs.
A few other stats of note: the Tigahs are tenth in sacks (9) but they have protected their quarterback (2 sacks) fairly well. They are first in allowing fourth down conversions, which you would think would be a no-brainer due to the strength of their line but they are last (12th) in Red Zone Defense, with opponents scoring fourteen times out of fifteen attempts. Another telling stat about is their turnover margin, which is minus-four.
What does it all mean? LSU appears to have a good offense and a relatively poor defense. Granted, the Florida loss skews the stats a little but overall their defense has not been playing at the level that we have been used to. They opened the season with FCS-division opponent Appalachian State with showed a modicum of credibility but their other non-conference foes have been lackluster at best. Auburn was their biggest win to date, but that has lost its shine. Mississippi State moving the ball on them should have been the first sign of disaster and the Florida debacle should have everyone in Baton Rouge scratching their heads. I knew things were getting bad when I didn’t get a text from my hospitable but obnoxious LSU friend, who informs me how lucky Alabama is when they win, how bad they are when they lose, but never utters a peep when the Tighas struggle.
The bottom line is that LSU has the potential to still be dangerous, but they have more questions than answers at this point.
…because it isn’t Nickleback. Enjoy