Nick Saban takes the Alabama Crimson Tide North to Lexington to face the Wildcats of Kentucky and first-year head coach Mark Stoops. My Old Kentucky Home will be a welcome site as the best news for the Wildcats is that this one will likely be over quickly. When the waters subside, they can scramble back to the safety of their caves or wherever it is a Wildcat resides these days.
Stoops inherited an anemic Kentucky program that has labored brilliantly in mediocrity the better part of 20 years. Think of it as a very well-paid captainship of the SEC version of the Titanic. Reinvigorating this program is going to take a lot of blood, sweat and tears for Stoops and his staff. This week, it is mainly going to be blood.
Alabama is, in all probability, again the best team in the country. This will be vetted out during the next couple months. The Tide was also the beneficiary of one of the weakest crossover SEC East schedules imaginable. Saban himself could not have drawn a more favorable schedule.
The only remaining game on their schedule in which they could conceivably lose is an early November tilt with LSU. Rolling through Kentucky, the Tide will face Tennessee as their eastern conference foes would be guarantee games if they weren’t in the conference.
This year’s watered-down SEC schedule that the Tide has been given is providing ample ammunition as evidence (or at least good sports talk radio) of a declining SEC this season. This conspiracy theory seems to resonate well with other likely BCS Title game wannabes including Ohio State, Stanford, Oregon, Louisville and Oklahoma among others.
Look for Alabama to put up style points as they can’t have a letdown as we get ready for the BCS rankings and ensuing arguments to begin shortly. The Tide will roll in and efficiently drown the Cats and send Kentucky fans scrambling for their calendars to find out when basketball season begins.
Whether or not Stoops can turn around the fortunes of this ship is anyone’s guess. The only thing for sure is that turnaround won’t begin this week.
It won’t be a total loss for the Stoops family this weekend, however as brother Bob will put one last brand on Mack Brown and the Longhorn’s hide before things get really interesting in Austin. It would be in Mark’s best interest if Saban’s zip code were to change after this season, and a move out West would suit that particular Stoops brother and the rest of the SEC just fine.
Terry Waldrop was a long time college basketball coach and AD. He also is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @terrywaldrop, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.