I came away from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa last night thinking Alabama doesn’t simply overwhelm you with talent as they have done in recent years. The current team does not possess the sheer volume of high-level players. That should make them more vulnerable right ? The demise of the SEC, and in particular the Alabama defense, may have been just a little premature.
Alabama looks to be growing in strength like a late season Gulf hurricane, and everyone knows that is a scary thing. Does a good enough offense and overpowering defense sound like a familiar SEC game plan? The difference in this squad is that the A.J. McCarron-led offense is easily capable of putting up big numbers and are as efficient as any offense around. This is an improving Tide team with a defense that is much more dangerous than commonly believed.
The Tide’s systematic and methodical destruction of Arkansas was as simple as it was complete. Showing a deft offensive balance, McCarron dissected an admittedly bad Razorbacks defense much the way a first-year biology student works on a frog. The balanced Tide running backs also took turns gashing the beleaguered Arkansas defense, who has given up 50 in each of the last two weeks.
The story of the dominating defense is something Alabama has been rapidly improving on as the season wanes on. Johnny Manziel and the offensive prowess of the Texas A&M Aggies early in the season have been the only opponent to provide a stern test for the Tide. The newly eligible HaHa Clinton-Dix in the secondary has also provided Alabama perhaps the best NFL defensive back prospect in the country and bolsters an already strong defensive unit.
Alabama has allowed just one touchdown and 16 points in their last five games. The reports of the demise of the SEC defenses may be highly exaggerated, at least as far as the Crimson Tide is concerned.
A once-proud Arkansas program was squeezed and crushed before the machinery-like efficiency of Nick Saban and an Alabama team learning who they are. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Razorbacks were in the top-five in the country and was a serious threat for not only the SEC crown, but the BCS title. Fans should remember that things can go bad in a hurry and a motorcycle accident, poor choices and and ultimately the lie to cover it up has taken a toll on a program and a coach, both posturing themselves to have a place among the nation’s elite.
Those days must seem like ancient history to a loyal fan base accustomed to success as Arkansas. The Razorbacks have now extended their losing streak to five after the Rutgers karma game and with a red-hot Auburn team on tap next week, there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight.
The Crimson Tide likely has two games where they are in serious danger left prior to the BCS National Title game; however, as we saw with the upper echelon SEC teams yesterday, if you don’t come to play, you will go home and your BCS dreams will be gone before you eat post-game dinner. I don’t foresee that happening to the Tide, and it looks as though the SEC title game dance card in Atlanta is almost certainly complete.
From the West, it will be Alabama, and the East will have surprising SEC East heir apparent and newcomer Missouri. The Tide looks to maintain a stranglehold on the BCS top spot and if someone is going to take it, they will have to top Alabama in January. As we have seen over the last couple years, that is a pretty tall mountain to climb. For now, the Crimson Tide still reigns supreme over the SEC and thus college football.