Had a bye week. So no humiliating loss this week.
Watched the Chiefs gift wrap the win for Oakland. Pretty bizarre to watch them make all those mistakes they hadn’t made all year in one half. And in more bad news, Chargers look like they are awake now.
What a painful loss. It’s always hard to win in Death Valley but the 24-21 score hides four huge realities that Alabama fans better swallow.
First, Les Miles coached to win the game, Nick Saban coached to not lose. Les Miles emptied the playbook, took risks, put more on his players to deliver the win. Saban didn’t. Instead of showing up to dominate and beat the snot out of LSU, Alabama showed up and acted like ‘let’s just try to escape here with a win.’ You don’t escape Death Valley. Show up to play hard or don’t show up at all.
Second, Alabama’s offensive line this year is a smaller, less aggressive, less physical version of the line last year. Last year when Alabama would get in a tight game, it was hand the ball to 22 and let’s pound the ball down the field. This year’s version likes to pass way to much. There is no plan B with this team. If the passing game sputters there is no commitment to the running game.
Third, the defensive line play of Alabama this year has been atrocious. The secondary was what everyone thought was going to be the problem this year for the Tide. It hasn’t. They’ve had some mistakes but with no pressure getting to the quarterbacks, they’ve been asked to cover guys for 4 and 5 seconds. That’s unheard of on the pro level, let alone college. The defensive line does not get pressure on the QB and it does not stuff the run without help from the linebackers. And when a defense has to use it’s LB to blitz to stop the run and get pressure, it makes the secondary that much more vulnerable.
Fourth, the Alabama defense is clueless how to stop a 2-minute offense. When an offense picks up the pace on them, forces them to stay at the line of scrimmage – bad things happen for Alabama. And guess who runs this type of offense better than anyone in the country right now?
By losing the game, Alabama lost a lot. There is no shot at defending the national title. They more than likely lost the chance at a BCS bowl as well. There is little to no chance at an SEC title. Those are some huge stakes for a 3 point game.
The bigger question will be their mental state in the next 3 games. Will they quit? When the Tide lost in the SEC championship 2 years ago, they rolled over against Utah in the Sugar Bowl. It was an ugly moment for Tide fans everywhere. We’ll see how they respond to this. While this year’s goals are gone, the Tide aren’t going anyway. There is plenty of talent coming back for 2011 to try again. They just need to finish strong this year.
Can’t really complain about the rankings to much. Oregon and Auburn still look like the best two teams in the country. TCU had a huge win over Utah – and yes it was impressive. But do that every week or 3 or 4 times a year, and then you can complain about being number 3.
That’s all for now. Been a rough year football wise.