Roundtable: Questions about 2010

I was sick today. So, I spent the day on the couch watching DVDs and CNBC. Erin Burnett is hot. Or maybe I just liked seeing Goldman up for a change, but my BP was still down. So, I think it was that she is hot. As for the DVDs, I watched Firefly and Felicia Day’s The Guild. Vork reminded me of one of my old newspaper co-workers. Scary. OK, that is enough of my semi-medicated rambling. On to this week’s roundtable.

Third Saturday in Blogtober asks the questions for this week’s Crimson & White Roundtable. You can follow the discussion about the Alabama Crimson Tide’s football team at the Roundtable’s website. My responses:

1. Whenever a media outlet evaluates the Tide heading into the fall, the first three questions are always ‘how will the Tide replace Terrence Cody?’, ‘will the secondary be a weakness?’, and ‘what sort of liability will special teams be?’ After these three obvious questions, is there another area not being discussed that could be problematic this fall?

I’m going to worry about the offensive line. It has been a strength the last few years, but if I have to pick something to worry over then it is the offensive line. I wasn’t thrilled with the pass protection in a few games last year, and I certainly wasn’t thrilled with the pass protection in the A-Day game. Of course, Alabama’s defensive line is among the best units in the nation, but there just seemed to be a few breakdowns in protection. I’m not saying it is a problem, but I want to see some improvement there.

2. Every season since Coach Saban showed up on campus, at least two true freshman have distinguished themselves either as starters or as standout contributors on offense or defense. In 2007, it was Rolando McClain and Kareem Jackson, followed by Julio Jones and Donta Hightower in 2008, and last year it was Trent Richardson and (arguably) Nico Johnson. Who do you see being an immediate asset for the class of 2010?

Likely, it would be one or more of the defensive backs like Fulton and Milliner. You could also see one of the tight ends get into a role to contribute.

3. We’re all hopeful that Alabama goes undefeated for the third consecutive regular season, but ‘unlikely’ doesn’t begin to describe the difficulty of that. If Alabama is going to lose at least one game, the question is not which is most likely, but which loss could you stomach the easiest?

Penn State. While it would suck to deal with the arrogant Big Ten fans (you know the school I’m talking about), the Penn State fans are among the classiest in all of football. In addition, they aren’t from around here. That means less trash talk. Of course, I’m not sure Penn State fans trash talk. They have too much class.

4. Lots of people are pointing to the Georgia State game as the functional equivalent of a bye week. Agree or disagree?

Agree. However, there are several pitfalls and almost all of the pitfalls relate to injuries from either practice or the game.

5. We’ve been talking about hypothetical expansion for weeks now and the consensus is that the SEC will expand if it feels so compelled by the moves of other conferences. For a few days a specious rumor has been circulating on MSM sources that the Big Ten has extended invitations to Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Rutgers (one version includes Syracuse). If this group of invites were true, would this be enough to cause the SEC to attempt expansion? Why or why not?

The SEC will expand if the Big Ten goes to 16 teams, or it raids the Big XII for two teams. With the leaks from Missouri, it looks like Missouri has already shaken the dust off its shoes and headed for a new conference. If the story is true about Nebraska, then the SEC will try to raid the Big XII for 2-4 teams. Why? Because these schools value college athletics in the same passionate manner as the SEC. This creates tremendous value for television.

While people in college athletics like to pretend this isn’t about the money. It is all about the money. The Big Ten’s desire to expand the conference is all about getting a championship game (more money), and creating more programming for its Big Ten Network (more money), and expanding the footprint of cable services offering the Big Ten Network (more money!) These are reasonable goals. Of course, it will intensify the arms race that is already underway in college football. Does anyone think the SEC would stand still while the Big Ten and Pac 10 made major moves in this arms race?