21 September 2009
The Tide is still comfortably behind Texas in this week's polls, but a fair number of the top analysts at various prestigious sports sites are starting to talk about us as having played the best ball in the country so far. (And justly so, I might add.)
Sometimes this kind of talk leads to a swing in the following week's polls. If nothing else changes, look for Bama to keep inching up on Texas next week.
Some examples from major college football sites follow are below the fold:
What we thought we knew: Alabama had too much to replace.
What we know: The Crimson Tide might be the best team in the country.
After losing its last two games in 2008, Alabama entered this season with plenty of concerns. The Crimson Tide lost three starting offensive linemen, including All-America left tackle Andre Smith, along with quarterback John Parker Wilson and leading rusher Glen Coffee.
But through three games, the Crimson Tide look like the team to beat in the SEC West. Quarterback Greg McElroy has been fantastic, and Alabama has four tailbacks -- Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Roy Upchurch and Terry Grant -- who would start for a lot of teams. The offensive line has held up pretty well, and Alabama's defense might be the best in the country.
Alabama also has the easiest road among the SEC West contenders. It plays at No. 4 Ole Miss on Oct. 10, but gets No. 7 LSU at home Nov. 7. The Tide do not play Florida or Georgia, the two best teams in the SEC East.
CFN still has us at #3, but their article giving their rankings for the week is headed by a picture of several Bama tacklers gang-brutalizing a N. Texas runner, and says:
3. Alabama 3-0
Last Week: W, North Texas 53-7
This Week: Arkansas
Why the ranking is too high: It's not. It's hard to make a case that Florida and Texas are playing better than the Tide. There's the résumé win over Virginia Tech, and now there are two blowout wins in tune-ups against FIU and North Texas to prepare the team for the SEC season.
Why the ranking is too low: Greg McElroy is playing as well as any quarterback in the country, while the running game is crushing and killing everything in its path. Throw in the nasty run defense, ranked fifth in the nation [umm - try 2nd, CFN] and it's all there for this to be a national title-caliber team.
From the Sporting News' weekly "Legend Poll" of ex-coaches:
"If I'm Florida," former Ohio State coach John Cooper said, "I'm looking over my shoulder at Alabama."
Despite a so-so effort in Saturday's 23-13 SEC season-opening win over Tennessee, the Gators picked up all 17 first-place votes from the Legends panel, which includes 11 College Football Hall of Famers.
The debate came at No. 2, where 3-0 Texas edged the 3-0 Crimson Tide. All but three voters had a 1-2-3 that included the Gators, Longhorns and Tide; LaVell Edwards, Dick MacPherson and George Welsh put Penn State No. 3 on their ballots.