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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)

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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!!!!

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:

Alabama

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…

Things are not looking good for the AAFL, an off-season football league that is trying to capitalize on college football fans by fielding teams in college football hot-beds like Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, and Michigan by using some player with ties to those areas.

There is a report this morning in the Gainesville Sun that the league may be close to folding. It has less than a month to come up with $7 to $10 million for stadium leases.

I hope they find a way to play as it would have been a great off-season distraction and I’m guessing that you could have gotten a sky box in Legion Field in Birmingham for around $43. That is, of course if Legion Field had sky boxes.

Update: Orson (um.. Spencer) has post up about it at TSN. And he reminded me of the excellent report of the draft provided a while back by Holly and Company.

AAFL,  rest in peace.

Had to post video of my new hero. (HT: EDSBS)

The results from the combine are in. I don’t get particulary excited about the NFL (full disclosure: I couldn’t care less about Sunday Football) but the combine and draft are a little interesting because it gives an indication about colleges that are producing NFL caliber talent.

While looking at the top ranked forty times by position I noticed something – there weren’t any Alabama players in the top of the rankings. You had to dig a little deeper to find the current bunch of Alabama players and their times. For example, Alabama’s preseason All-SEC corner Simeon Castille was near the bottom of defensive backs at a scorching 4.7. To put that in comparison, Tyvon Branch (UConn) and Justin King (Penn State) both ran 4.31 to lead all defensive backs. There were 13 sub 4.4 times in that bunch. It appears that Simeon was just a little off the pace. A few of the notable SEC d-backs:

Michael Grant (Arkansas) 4.37

Jonathan Wilhite (Auburn) 4.38

Patrick Lee (Auburn) 4.4

Jonathan Hefney (Tennessee) 4.53

Jonathan Zenon (LSU) 4.56

Chevis Jackson (LSU) 4.58

Matterral Richardson (Arkansas) 4.7 – Seriously? That’s his name? Why have I never noticed that until now?

The Crimson Tide fared a little better with Defensive Lineman. But not much. All-SEC Defensive End and all-around nice guy Wallace Gilberry (he really is a nice guy – one time in Rama Jama’s I asked him if he was ready for the season to start and he replied, “Yes, sir”) who ran a 4.9, which is pretty middle of that pack. Of course it comes nowhere near Marcus Howard’s (Georgia) 4.47. Way to go Simeon! Yeah, that’s a defensive lineman running faster than you. I bet that makes the scouts drool.

Here is an instance of relearning what John Parker Wilson and I already knew – Quentin Groves is wicked fast (relatively). He was listed with the linebackers , but ran a 4.57, which is third amongst invited athletes who played on the line in college. A few othe SEC notables:

Jonathan Goff (Vandy) 4.63

Curtis Gatewood (Vandy) 4.74

Derrick Harvey (Florida) 4.8

The other Alabama notable in the draft, DJ Hall, was a little less than average for receivers with a 4.55. DeSean “Goodbye Tennesee Secondary”(hell, who couldn’t say that) Jackson (Cal) ran a blistering 4.35 to lead the field. Andre “Bubba” Caldwell (Florida) represented with a smoking 4.35 and Kentucky’s Keenan Burton wasn’t far behind with a 4.43.

De’Cody Fagg (FSU) isn’t from the SEC but I like saying his name. Fagg (hee, hee) turned in a 4.63 but had you asked me in late September I would have said he was capable of a 4.20 easy as he left the burnt Alabama secondary to put the game in Jacksonville away.

Another fact to file in the “things you already knew” file, the Arkansas backfield with the exception of Dick (hee, hee – I can’t stop) is fast. McFadden’s well publicised 4.33 leads the group followed closely by Felix Jones’ 4.47 and Peyton Hillis’ 4.58 is nothing to laugh at, just ask LSU (or Simeon “4.7” Castille). The knowledge of their leaving the schedule every year makes me just ecstatic- Bobby Petrino, not so much.

What does all mean you ask. I have no freaking idea. Some say that 40 times are overrated and who am I to argue. It’s easy to make fun, but every one of these guys could run me down if they gave me a mile head start, just ask Clay Travis.

To me it says that the best athletes on Alabama’s team were fair to middlin’ and that was a big reason that the team was fair to middlin’. All things being equal, the team with the most talent wins. Alabama has not had the talent in quite a while and I believe that part of the giddiness of a lot of fans of the program lately is based on the fact that recruiting appears to be raising the level of talent. That relates to better football teams and more wins… over time.

Thanks to commenter Marcus Aurelius for the links and post idea.

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