Some questions for the rolling tide by Luke Robinson
October 17, 2012Sportz Blitz
Ring…..ring….. C’mon…..pick up!…… Hey!….. Big 12?…. Look….. it’s Missouri….. DON’T HANG UP!….. Please…… I know it’s late……Listen…. This whole move I made….. The way I left you and all….. I was wrong…… Very wrong….. I miss you…. You think maybe that we could try and work it out to where I could come back?…… Hello?…… Hello?…….Big 12?………(sigh).
Welcome to the SEC, Missouri. It may be ‘old man football’ as one of your defensive linemen suggested, but it can certainly handle a whipper-snapper like yourself.
But, this article isn’t going to be about Missouri. If it were, it’d already be finished.
No, this article is about Alabama and their unanswered questions.
It may seem odd to believe that the Tide, which has been incredibly dominant in cruising to a 6-0 record, has some unanswered questions. However, I am having trouble deciding if ‘Bama is that good or if their competition has been that bad.
In the preseason the Tide’s slate appeared daunting. A rejuvenated Michigan team on a neutral field followed by an early SEC road test at Arkansas had some fans hoping for a split. Then Alabama made road kill out of the Wolverines and the adulterous actions of a moral-less coach left Arkansas in a losing lurch.
In essence, Alabama faced stiffer competition in its A-Day game than it has in its first six contests of 2012. That doesn’t mean UA isn’t worthy of its ranking, but it may mean it may not stay there.
The Tide begins a pretty brutal stretch starting this weekend at Tennessee. I know, I know; Of late, Alabama has owned the Vols like Hall owns Oates. It is not so much that I think Tennessee will win this Saturday, but that their passing attack may expose weaknesses that more powerful teams could exploit.
Next what will certainly be an undefeated Mississippi State squad strolls into Bryant-Denny Stadium the following weekend. The Bulldogs are untested, too, but 7-0 is 7-0 and it must be respected. Good money would be on the Bullies headed back down highway 82 with a 7-1 record, but in the SEC there are no sure wins (no offense, Kentucky and Auburn).
Plus, I really appreciate the job Dan Mullen is doing in Starkville.
Nov. 3 Alabama travels to Baton Rouge in what was supposed to be a No. 1 versus No. 2 heavyweight bout. The game still has plenty of meaning, but LSU’s offense has been as erratic as its quarterback’s attempts at growing a legitimate mustache. LSU is capable of beating the Tide, but they don’t look as capable as they did just a few weeks ago.
Finally, ‘Bama will be back home Nov. 10 against a Texas A&M team that has had a much better time acclimating to SEC life than Missouri. This game will be tougher than most expect if only because it comes right after the LSU match up.
Of course, should Alabama make it through the regular season undefeated it would still have to take on a pretty powerful SEC East opponent in the SEC title game. But unless some of the aforementioned teams (with the exception of Miss State) start showing significant improvement, the SEC Championship tilt may be the first time Alabama is truly tested.
The fact that UA’s path to the BCS title game is easier than most thought should be good news, right?
Because of that, let’s make the giant assumption that ‘Bama goes undefeated. The problem is that whichever team Alabama would play in Miami (Notre Dame, Oregon, etc.) would almost certainly have had more grueling tests and therefore be more championship ready. A tougher path may equate to a tougher team and therefore a tougher contest for Alabama.
Okay, I know I am reaching here. Maybe the truth is that Alabama has just been that much better than every team they have faced and that trend may continue all the way to a national crown.
If the Tide looks as powerful in its next four games as it has in its first six, it will be hard to imagine another team hoisting the trophy. For now, though, I look back on the initial half of the season and wonder if Alabama hasn’t beaten up on six teams that had no chance to begin with.