After Alabama’s 44-13 rout of Tennessee on Saturday night, I ask this question; can anybody, any team out there this season beat Alabama or at least give the Crimson Tide a close, competitive game? Midway through the second half of the game, I thought to myself, ‘Wow…..this team could probably compete with half of the NFL teams.’ Simply put; Alabama is just that good.
The Tide is now 7-0 with five games remaining, and the toughest test looming ahead is at LSU on November 2nd. Granted, unbeaten Mississippi State playing in Tuscaloosa this weekend might be a tough battle, but I don’t see the Bulldogs coming within a couple of touchdowns. That leaves the Bengal Tigers as the only team left to have a shot at beating ‘Bama before the SEC Championship Game in December.
Ten–fifteen years ago, the SEC East was clearly the tougher of the two divisions. Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee dominated the East, while Mississippi State, Auburn and every now and then, Alabama would travel to Atlanta for a showdown with the East Champion. Since then, the tide has turned, so to speak.
Of the top five SEC teams this week, Alabama is clearly number one, while the Florida Gators are number two. I would rate LSU third, with Mississippi State close behind them. Georgia and South Carolina are likely tied for fifth, though Georgia has one loss (to South Carolina) while the Gamecocks have two. After the first four teams however, the gap really widens.
While I have always been a big Tennessee fan, I have always had a tremendous respect for Alabama. I still consider Coach Paul, :”Bear” Bryant the greatest football coach of all time, but current Alabama Coach Nick Saban may be almost as good. There is no doubt that Coach Saban is the best college football coach in the game today. He recruits well, and he seems to recruit pretty good citizens, as well as the best four and five star prospects in the nation. When they get to Tuscaloosa, he has complete control of his players, and they always seem to be ready to play, though even the Crimson Tide has a let-down every now and then.
This team has no weakness, or at least a weakness that has not been exposed as yet. It will take a game with a Florida, or an Oregon, or another high-caliber squad to expose that weakness, if it actually exists. I knew all along this past weekend that the Volunteers had no chance against the Tide. Alabama is clearly much, much better than Tennessee.
Everyone seems to be down on Vol Coach Derek Dooley among other things, for kicking a field goal with a minute and a half remaining and his team facing a fourth and goal situation. He chose to get the sure three points, rather than gamble on trying to score a touchdown on Alabama. Folks, that’s the least of Tennessee’s worries right now. Besides, the three points the Vols added to the point total in the game, passed the 55 point over-under margin. It made a lot of gamblers very happy.
My original question was, “Can anybody beat Alabama?”I don’t see any college football team on this planet doing it this season. Florida, in the SEC Championship Game may have the best chance, but it would take almost a miracle for that to happen. My best bet for fans of other college football teams, is to go ahead and start looking forward to next season, when the “plus-one” game is added. 2012 belongs to Alabama.
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).