Orange Crushed: Alabama Swamps Tennessee
The force of nature that is the Alabama Crimson Tide again displayed their dominance on yet another overmatched opponent this afternoon. This week’s unfortunate participant was a Tennessee team fresh off a stunning upset of South Carolina last week. The Tide made quick work of a gritty but woefully overmatched Tennessee team, and this one was effectively over in the first quarter.
The efficiency of the A.J. McCarron-led offense has as much balance as any in the country. Mixing up the run with a variety of backs that are both physical and fast, the Tide has rarely misfired this year. McCarron is adept at taking advantage of defenses having to honor the run and can stretch the vertical passing game downfield with an array of acrobatic receivers including Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood. The receiving dynamic duo of the Tide along with LSU’s Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry make up the most dangerous tandem of receivers in college football.
McCarron has quietly put up an amazing senior season and in all probability should be mentioned more in the Heisman race than he is. The Tide offense, and specifically offensive line, has come a long way since the opening Virginia Tech game. If the line can give McCarron protection, the Tide offense is going to be all but impossible to stop with any kind of effectiveness. Opponents believe that if they can make McCarron move in the pocket, that could be the Alabama weakness. This is a valid point, however, the problem is not identifying the weakness. The problem lies in executing that tactic with any degree of sustained success.
Tennessee was nothing more than an enthusiastic speed bump for Alabama. The Volunteers learned the difference between good and great SEC teams. Alabama, for those who have been living under a rock or in a cave in Pakistan the last six years, is great. The Tide defense simply smothered the Volunteers and have been dominating since Johnny Manziel torched them earlier in the year. This was the last tune up for the Red Elephants who will be gearing up for their annual showdown with LSU in Tuscaloosa next week.
The Tigers and Tide have played some memorable games the last decade and the Tigers are the only other SEC team you can mention in the same breath as Alabama. These two programs have become the standard bearer for the always-loaded SEC West and a fertile feeding ground for NFL teams.
This year’s Game of the Century lost a lot of luster last week with the LSU upset loss at Mississippi, but the Tigers remain the biggest threat to the Tide’s return to the BCS National Title game. I will preview that game a little later in the week and discuss what LSU has to do in order to spring the upset. One bit of good news for coach Nick Saban is no one is likely to leave next week’s game early.
Terry Waldrop was a long time college basketball coach and AD. He also is a writer for RantSports.com and sports radio host on www.espn977.com. Follow him on Twitter @terrywaldrop, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.