Three weeks into the 2009 college football season, here are five things we know.
1. Alabama has a quarterback. Greg McElroy has exceeded expectations so far. 647 yards passing (an average of 215 per game), 4 touchdowns and a 66% completion percentage, including a UA record for consecutive completions. And this with only one complete game played. He has one pick (against the Hokies), but off a pass where he was hit from behind as he released. Greg has looked smart and in control. Question mark for 2009 answered.
2. Alabama has an offense. The offensive line has looked good, opening holes for unquestionably the best backfield in the SEC, probably the nation. Ingram, Upchurch, Richardson and Grant…are you kidding me? All four can tote the mail with authority. This offense is averaging over 500 yards a game. That’s impressive, especially when one of those opponents was a top ten foe with a legendary defense.Â And receivers? Jones’ injury may have been a blessing in disguise, getting the rest of the cast acclimated to Saturdays. Another question for 2009 answered.
3. Alabama’s defense is almost great. You’re not going to run on Alabama. Hightower, McClain, Cody, Washington, Deaderick, Dareus and a host of others will make sure of that. Pass defense has been good, but not great yet. The two TDs Bama has surrendered defensively in its last two games came through the air, both on apparent breakdowns in the secondary. No doubt this area is on Saban’s frontburner as Arkansas’ air attack comes to town. Should be fun to watch.
4. Alabama is the best team in the country. Florida looked very average for much of their tango with Tennessee, and this year’s brand of Gator is one dimensional other than anyone named Tebow. Texas has looked anything but spectacular. USC has already choked, much earlier than normal. And Oklahoma, well, they lost to a team that got pummeled by a geriatric-led FSU team that nearly lost to Jacksonville State. Alabama owns the best win in college football to date, played on the most level playing field. We have become the team Saban has wanted us to be…the one you look at on your schedule and pencil in a loss.
5. Finally, Auburn can win at home. But mind you, not only has Auburn not beaten a ranked opponent, Auburn has not played a team who has beaten or played a ranked opponent. Auburn’s “victims” collectively own wins over Liberty, Nicholls State, Jackson State, East Carolina and Vandy. 60% of that bunch isn’t even 1-A. Impressive. And all have come at home. Their foe this coming Saturday fell victim in the first week to the team we just beat 53-7. Auburn looks better this year and should do well…..as long as they play weak teams whose quarterbacks lob multiple screen passes into a wad of players late in the game. It’ll be interesting to see what that high powered flag-football style offense looks like when it faces speed, power and a team that can tackle.