Oh my, how the mighty have fallen. The SEC, as a whole, was supposed to be the most dominant force out there. Maybe Darth Vader would argue but even Yoda in his prime could have taken down the heavy breathing mechanical man. There were obvious flaws exposed during the bowl season and the playoffs for the SEC and CFB Nation is taking notice. You don’t lose 50% of your bowl games and feel good about yourself. You can’t squander what could be your greatest chance to make an impact and flop in the face of adversity. Thank goodness for Nick Saban and Alabama. Speaking of which,
Alabama Crimson Tide
Let’s be real now. Alabama is NOT unbeatable. Alabama is NOT invincible. Nick Saban is actually human and so are his players. How do you cure a hangover from the first National Championship loss in your career? How do you recover from a last second miracle by your opponent? Can you overcome the pain in which the entire nation of “Roll Tide” felt? Sure, you can. We are talking about Nick Saban and Alabama here. The Crimson Tide have laid down a legacy that no one in history will be able to match. The only dynasty to exist in college football, ever! Of course, there have been great teams in the past. Some of those schools even had unprecedented success over a three-year period but what Alabama has been able to do over the last seven years is unheard of.
What Alabama has to do moving forward is simple. Bama needs to be Bama. Nick Saban and company didn’t reach the pinnacle of College Football by being sore losers or crying every time something didn’t go their way. Nick Saban isn’t Bobby Petrino and won’t pout because the yardage marker wasn’t on his side of the field. Nick Saban will do what he does best. He will go out and coach his team, reload, and play smash mouth football. That’s what Alabama does. That is who Alabama is. Until Nick Saban retires, that is who Alabama will be. I don’t like him but you have got to admire the guy.
Firing your Offensive Coordinator before a National Championship game is never ideal. Replacing him with someone who hasn’t coached in over a year, probably not the brightest move either. Now Nick Saban must replace the replacement. Sarkisian has gone to Atlanta where the alcohol flows freely, I hope he can stay out of trouble. As far as the players go, whoever inherits the offense will be a very lucky man. Jalen Hurts is back but my guess is he won’t be the starter in the season opener against FSU. Tua Tagovailoa (don’t try and say that ten times fast) comes in with the expectation that he will push Hurts for the starting role. He was an early enrollee and with split reps in the spring, Saban will see just how exciting this kid is. Whoever starts at the QB position will need to watch his back though. With Cam Robinson headed to the NFL, the blindside will be a position of concern. The Clemson Tigers pass rush exploited the offense line late in the game and forced Hurts to make bad decisions. There is great news in Tuscaloosa though, scientists have discovered a three-headed monster. Apparently, it is comprised of running backs Damien Harris, Bo Scarborough and Joshua Jacobs. This ghastly beast was last seen running over defenses last season and is now reportedly caged up in the locker room awaiting the new season. With all three coming back next season and the possibility of Hurts starting at quarterback, it will be the first time in 4 years that Nick Saban hasn’t had to look for offensive production. Dieter, Stewart and Howard are gone but the maniacal Saban always has a wild card up his sleeve. Compare Saban to Belicheck. Neither of them have “brand name” wide receivers but both coaches continue to make the playoffs. Give Nick Saban a running game, a decent offensive line and a dual-threat QB and you have got yourself a brutal offense regardless of who is catching the ball.
The bad news for Alabama is that the most unstoppable defense in the country was shredded for the second time in a row by a guy who was but wasn’t the best quarterback in college football. Deshaun Watson won the award for the best quarterback in CFB but failed to win the Heisman which was won by a quarterback who was apparently better. Ask Nick Saban who the better QB is! The Crimson Tide field a defense year in and year out that is monstrous. A previous opponent said that the men on the other side of the ball were so big, it was like playing against a giant herd of the grey mammals.
So, what does Saban and Company do on the defensive side of the ball with a schedule that consists of 5 teams with dual threat QBs? Again, they reload. The Tide will lose 2 of 3 linemen, 3 of 4 linebackers, and a cornerback. Troy Brown will fill the slot left by Marlon Humphrey who darted early for the NFL. I am not even going to attempt to assume what Saban has up his sleeve for the front seven. Until proven wrong, I am going to say this, Alabama will have a Top 15 Defense again. You can’t bet against Saban.
The 2017 could go one of two ways for the Tuscaloosa faithful. For the first time in history, Alabama could lose back to back games to ACC Opponents. For the first time under Nick Saban, Alabama could lose a bowl game and start 0-1. If Bama loses to FSU in the opener, this could be a long season for the Crimson faithful. There are 4-5 games that could go either way. But, we are talking about Alabama here. Look for Saban to be masterful again after losing so many players and coaches. Saban doesn’t lose back to back games. That trend won’t start now. Auburn will be a huge test at the end of the year but Alabama should enter the playoffs with a record of 11-1.
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