Oregon Still Isn’t to Alabama’s Level
Trust me. There’s few things I want to see more in sports than the Oregon Ducks taking down the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship Game. The reaction from Paul Finebaum and his callers alone would be worth that but it just isn’t going to happen.
Today in the 24/7/365 news cycle we live in, we feel like we need to react to everything. Some things just can’t be left alone. Oregon’s destruction of the Arizona State Sun Devils and the reaction that came afterwards is just another example. Arizona State had played NO ONE of substance and hadn’t played a big home game in years. Yet the national media was fawning over the win, in a game that was basically over early in the 2nd quarter. This is the best Oregon team Chip Kelly has ever had, especially on defense. However, that doesn’t make them better than Alabama is right now.
When you watch Alabama this weekend at the Tennessee Volunteers do yourself a favor and watch the players’ body language. I’m generally not a big fan of this “science” but the Crimson Tide players all give off the same vibe. They are bored. Like the New York Yankees in baseball, Alabama is waiting for the “second season”. This team isn’t losing to the LSU Tigers, who have a quarterback that can barely throw the ball within 5 feet of his receivers. The Mississippi State Bulldogs haven’t played well in a big game in ages and while they have great corners in Johnathan Banks and Darius Slay, they won’t be able to stop the Eddie Lacy led Alabama ground game. The Texas A&M Aggies? A redshirt freshman quarterback in Tuscaloosa? Forget it. Damontre Moore and buddies are lighting up a lot of offensive lines this year but they won’t be touching AJ McCarron. That’s what happens when you protect your signal caller with at least 4 NFL ready linemen. So Alabama should roll into the title game without many issues, of course barring injury.
Oregon doesn’t have nearly the road the Crimson Tide have to go through but they don’t exactly face the “little sisters of the poor” either. Going on the road to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans will be must see TV but the tremendous pace from the Ducks should wear out USC and their limited depth. The Stanford Cardinal at home will be hyped as a “big game” but it won’t be close. Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes will have to throw much more than David Shaw wants to and that’s going to cause big problems for the Cardinal offensive line. However, the final game of the season could be the roadblock to a great title game. The Oregon State Beavers were picked by many to finish in the basement of the Pac 12. Damn that feels like a long time ago. This team is clicking on all cylinders. They have a vertical passing attack even without starting quarterback Sean Mannion and the defense is super physical led by all everything corner Jordan Poyer. Right now, I’d take the Beavers in that one but anyone outside of Corvallis is hoping the Ducks can pull it out, including me.
If we are fortunate enough as college football fans to get the Pac 12-SEC showdown in the title game, boy will it be fun. Heck, I don’t need presents for Christmas. Santa give me this matchup! Contrasting styles, old school/new school coaches and the “nation versus the south”. I’m already playing this one in my mind. Problem is despite what we may want, Alabama will still reign supreme The losses of guard Carson York and safety John Boyett haven’t really shown up for Oregon. They will against a team like Alabama.
The only real slip up an Alabama, Nick Saban led, “pro style” team has had with the spread was against the Utah Utes in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. That Alabama team stopped caring after losing to the Florida Gators in the SEC title game. You don’t play for exhibitions if you go to Alabama. You play for the title.
It really stuns me how many think Oregon can “take it to” the Alabama. You really think a redshirt freshman will be able to pass against that front? How did a senior like the Michigan Wolverines Denard Robinson fare in Week One? Oregon is certainly a better team then Michigan but they employ similar styles. Oregon’s defense has certainly gotten bigger up front since the 2010 title game against the Auburn Tigers but do they really have the depth to take the 40+ carries Saban wants from his running backs? I don’t think so. We haven’t even gotten to McCarron! Many were talking about the quarterback as a sleeper for the Heisman during the preseason though he won’t be included because he doesn’t get enough chances to throw! Alabama doesn’t care about “style points”. If they did, you’d see him in New York. His footwork, deep ball and selling the play action have all improved during his second year in the offense. That’s even with the change in offensive coordinators from Jim McElwain to Doug Nussmeier.
Oregon is very, very good. They will make this a real game but to think they can beat Alabama at this point, with both at full strength, is true comedy.
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