F our weeks ago, I thought Alabama had no chance to defeat Georgia. I was convinced of Georgiaâ€™s strength due to good coaching (Mark Richt), a solid sophomore quarterback (Matt Stafford) and a weak Alabama defense.
Alabamaâ€™s defense is still weak, but my estimation of Richt and Stafford has changed.
Stafford is a good quarterback, but Iâ€™m not convinced his offensive line and supporting skill position players are as good. In the end, a quarterback is only as good as those who block for him and catch the ball. Not being able to effectively score on South Carolina is a big black mark against the Georgia offense. While Alabamaâ€™s defense is weak, I donâ€™t think it is weaker than South Carolina.
As for Richt, Iâ€™m not impressed with his cowardly and disingenuous reasons for closing practice the week of the Alabama game. Iâ€™ve said it before, it is a cynical attempt to manipulate the mediaâ€™s hatred of Saban and provides a ready-made excuse for his loss to South Carolina and a potential loss to Alabama. Richt has a great reputation as a man of principal, but this is the most calculating and cynical move since Caligula made his horse a consul.
Obviously, Richt is more worried about Nick Saban than he should be. Richt may win the game, but letting Saban get into his head isnâ€™t the way to accomplish a victory. In fact, spending time disrupting routine and creating controversy is a good way to lose a game.