BREAKING: The Sky Isn’t Falling

The Alabama Crimson Tide suffered its second loss of the season last Saturday in Baton Rouge as another SEC quarterback played the game of his career. However, that said, the sky isn’t falling, is it?

Sitting at 7-2, the question now remains, what happens when a team trained to play for championships can only play for pride?

There is still a scenario out there for Alabama to make it to Atlanta, but it’s about as far-fetched as the story coming out of Lee County that Auburn’s recruitment of Scam Newton was clean. Can’t hide those cell and text records, Cecil!

For the last two seasons, the LSU game has decided the West. This year, even had the Tide won there would still be work to do. While it’s disappointing that Atlanta or Glendale won’t be in the mix, has this team really underachieved?

Nine starters are elsewhere from 2009’s vaunted defense.
If you look at 2009, the Tide didn’t outscore anybody. Rather, their defense rose to the occasion every single time it needed to while the offense went about its business. Last Saturday a young secondary needed to respond late on a 3rd and 13. The result was a 41 yard pass completion. Game over.

Every difficult game on Alabama’s schedule has been played on the road. While I’m sure Bama wishes it could have flexed its muscles in Starkville, Lexington or Oxford, this season the Crimson Tide was assigned the task of taking it to Fayetteville, Columbia, and Baton Rouge. Since Tennessee inhales and will for the foreseeable future, I don’t count that one as a tough road game, but the environment was definitely more hostile than Commonwealth Stadium.

Six consecutive SEC opponents have off-weeks heading into their game with Bama. That fact never gets old simply because of the sheer mind blowing nature of its reality. It is well-documented that Alabama’s facing six teams coming off bye weeks is an unprecedented record in the SEC. Seventeen times this has been the case for Alabama since 2007, compared to the next highest victim in LSU with 5.

Understand, the SEC sets the conference schedule, leaving gaps for teams to schedule out-of-conference foes at will. But when 17 teams are given the option to take an extra week to heal, regroup, study and scheme for you, it’s hard not to sit up and take notice.

The previous record for bye week bias was four…amazingly, again against Alabama in 2003. Understandably, Alabama head coach Nick Saban tried to deflect the significance of this fact early on, but currently this season the record in that stretch stands at 2-2. Six of Alabama’s nine losses under Nick Saban have come after an opponent’s bye. I’m no math whiz, but that’s 66%.

Case in point, whether by design or default, this season was set-up for Alabama to fall. Give any team in our conference our schedule and their record is no better. So is it surprising?

Alabama’s offense isn’t designed to run away from you. It’s designed to run over you. 2011 will feature a play maker at quarterback. Whether it’s AJ McCarron or Phillip Sims, the Tide will be able to stretch the field leaving gaps for Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler to exploit…although one could make a case that Ingram hasn’t helped his NFL stock with this campaign and could return.

But at quarterback, McElnerd (as one capstonereport.com antagonist has coined him), creates a 15-yard field for Bama’s opponents to defend. Even the occasional 30+ yard strike is a known respite from the norm. That Jim McElwein hasn’t seen this is astonishing. And as far as power running goes, William Vlachos spent more time on his back last week than Paris Hilton. This team can’t run the ball between the tackles, and if I see the Wildcat formation one more time I’m going to rip another shirt…umm…rip a shirt from my body.

When you don’t have a defense that can consistently get off the field, you have to have an offense that can apply pressure. Since it’s been discovered Alabama has neither, is 7-2 really a surprise?

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but there are a couple of match-ups that will salvage the season. Bama gets a tough challenge against an improved Mississipi State team this Saturday. Though nothing is on the record…yet…Dan Mullen may get a standing ovation from the home crowd for his involvement in making Abarn’s dream season a soon-to-be-vacated reality.

And the Auburn game…while right now it’s hard to imagine Bama’s defense slowing Scam Newton, consider that Alabama, with its Elephant Package-like offense managed the exact same number of touchdowns on the road against LSU as Abarn did in front of its warm, fuzzy home crowd. And the Auburn defense, while stingy at times, still possesses the ability to lay down and let a team that Samford will likely beat this Saturday find the end zone three times. Folks, the ship ain’t sailed on that game yet, and if by some small miracle Abarn’s luck runs out and Georgia gets the upset this Saturday, Abarn has to prove for the first time under Frank Chiznik it can win a big, pressure-packed game on the road.

Even if the West is won prior to that kick-off, it will be no small feat for this Auburn team to defeat this Alabama team on its turf. No one who has watched closely has been stunned by their benefit of phantom touchdowns and fumbles at home, game winning field goals against Kentucky or predictable opponent self-destruction.

While the title ride was fun for another season, simply put, the year has gone about how it was going to go for Alabama. And at last check, the sky over Tuscaloosa is still in place. Now it’s just a matter of if the Tide can make it fall elsewhere.

(Follow me on Twitter for capstonereport.com news, commentary and smack: ITK4BAMA.)

25 Comments

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  1. 3
    Romanov

    ITK, notice how you are assuming facts that don’t exist to anyone’s knowledge. What specific text and cell contacts are you referring to? Who has even accused Auburn of unclean recruitment, and based on what facts? The only accusation is that a former MSU player wanted money from MSU to get a signature for MSU. Your conclusions are complete speculation. It’s wrong to drag a young player’s name through the mud based on speculation, just because you happen to hate the school that he attends. If Cam had ended up at Alabama, you would not be doing this.

  2. 5
    BamaHate

    ITK,
    Love the spin, phantom touchdowns (similar to Richardson at LSU), game winning fieldgoals (like TN lost on last year), Georgia gets upset (haha, whatever; how about MS State getting upset poser), Scam Newton (last I checked only Marcel Dareus has taken something from an agent), etc.

    We’ll score about 6 phantom TDs on that butt at JH West, see ya and look forward to it.

    BLOW TIDE

  3. 6
    pete4tide

    And Cam didn’t end up at Bama – he “ended up” at Abarn – all of a sudden – after intense wooing from Miss State and a coach who knew him. You guys better get your orange and blue glasses cleaned – the NZAA is about to come sort through your garbage, and anything is game – don’t have to be what they came there looking for. They are worse than an independent investigator with a partisan Congress – just looking for anything to trip up a team on the rise.
    And that doesn’t even take into consideration the distraction for a team with a deisel offense and an electric/hybrid defense. All it takes is one little part of that formula to have it’s head screwed on a little left of center, and all the wheels fall of the “dream season” – and then the NZAA still pops a cap in you.

  4. 7
    ITK

    No, BamaHate, unlike the Fannin TD against Arky that went down and straight back, even from the blimp view, never crossing the plain, there was a perfect angle on Richardson’s TD from the side camera. Nice try though. Muddying the water is one of the oldest tactics.

    And the difference on Dareus is, he’s admitted his wrongdoing and already paid the price. Abarn’s price is yet to be paid, but oh what a price it might be.

    Ummm, Romanov? Do ya think everything that’s known has been laid out on the table already? Do you remember an unknown, smalltime football player named Reggie Bush, and how long that investigation stretched on? Long after the Trojans had shelved their wins and even hardware, it was all snatched away. You may wanna get acquainted with the definition for “deja vu”. I didn’t get the name “In The Know” for making stuff up, sweetheart.

  5. 8
    ITK

    Oh, and one more think Rommy…Cam wasn’t recruited at Bama for reasons most can figure out in the wake of last Thursday’s bombshell.

  6. 9
    Romanov

    Pete- Perhaps, but no wrongdoing has been found yet, so why don’t we pretend that we’re in America and presume innocence until something is actually found. If rumors are enough to convict, Alabama could end up on the wrong end of that someday too.

  7. 10
    Romanov

    ITK, I posted my last response before reading yours, but it applies equally to you. I think that you and I just agreed that no evidence exists of wrongdoing, but you’re assuming that it will come later. The presumption of guilt is a sad way to approach these situations. Thank you for the pet names. It’s good to feel loved.

  8. 11
    DAMAGE INC.

    On the bye week situation: I thought Mal Moore went to the SEC office in Birmingham this year to get that straightened out for the future … confirm?

    On the road game situation — agreed.

    Agreed on McElroy’s offense — WHERE IS THE ZIP ON THE BALL like McCarron? A.J. throw’s a “vick flick” 70 yarder ALL DAY LONG — where was HE during long yardage situations? There just isn’t ANY zip on McElroy’s throw. He needs to hit the weight room up — but he doesn’t care anymore — he’s won us a NC and he’s a Rhodes Scholar now — he wants a p.h.d. — books are his love, not football anymore.

    On the standing ovation for Dan Mullen when he comes to Tuscaloosa this Saturday — ab – so – fckin – lutley — it will be the first time a Mississippi State team will be cheered in Bryant-Denny that I can EVER remember.

    I just HATE all this, “let’s hang it up because we can’t go to the NC this year” BULLSH|T!!!!! We have PRIDE TO PLAY FOR AND WE HAVE THE HONOR OF SPOILING THE CAMPUTER’s historic run at the beta program. We got, “nothing to lose” with Miss. St. AND Aubarn. AND … with a ‘little’ bit of a chip on their shoulders, yeah, I said it. Let’s at least TRY to get to the Sugar Bowl right? I mean — there are schools that would DIE to get to a major BCS game.

    SO WHAT if we end up going to a Capital One Bowl in Tampa on New Year’s Day. WTF is wrong with that? That’s a SEC vs. BIG 10 game — don’t be surprised if it’s Alabama vs. Ohio State/Wisconsin ———- POINT : there is STILL a LOT of good things that can happen this year INCLUDING the “scenario” — you know what the “scenario” is if you are a true Crimson Tide fan.

    ROLL TIDE ROLL FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT ONE DAY.

    WE WILL PREVAIL.

    WE WILL RISE AND CONQUER THE OPPOSITION.

    AND F*CK YOU AUBARN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. 12
    BPI

    Y’all are as predictable as teh sunrise.

    When Tyler Watts was there, “I can’t wait for Brody Croyle to take over”.

    When Brody Croyle took over ” I can’t wait for John Parker Wilson to take over”.

    When JPW took over ” I can’t wait for Greg McElroy to take over”.

    When McElroy took over ” I can’t wait for A.J. McCarron to take over”.

    And , when A.J. McCarron takes over it will be “I can’t wait for (fill in the blank) to take over”.

    McElroy is a decent quarterback, but has ZERO protection from his O-line.

    Your O-line is the problem, not McElroy.

    Bam is not NEAR as physical as they were last year. They don’t intimadate anyone.

    If Vlachos (or whoever) thinks that the big tackle for LSU was tough, wait until he meets Nick Fairley.

  10. 13
    pete4tide

    Rom – what I’m warning about is that there doesn’t have to be any “evidence” – it’s a process that the NZAA is all too good at – they’ll find someone who is disappointed that he didn’t get enough snaps, or got dropped from the team, or suddenly received info in the mail from an anonymous source. They are truly working under their own rules. And it WILL become a distraction, and likely at just the wrong time. The BCS is tired of the SEC throwing down on their system every year. If there’s a way to shoot the upstart Tigers down before a deciding game, it will happen – even if it’s just a distraction to get them beat by the Tide or Bulldogs. Ya don’t have to be guilty to get knocked down! (yet another lesson learned at the other end of the state)

  11. 14
    pete4tide

    Much as I don’t like it, I have to agree with BP – Bama’s o-line isn’t knocking anyone on their azz, they aren’t making the holes they were last year, and they are getting beat by the 4th quarter. I noticed the same thing with the D-line. We sure are missing that 380-pounder that stuffed up the middle last year. We are now seeing just how dominant Cody was in the middle against rushing attacks.

  12. 15
    BPI

    pete….I know I can come in here and be a little on the arrogant side…But the truth is the truth man. Bama or Auburn fan , whatever. The truth is what you just said.

    Why was Marcel an all world tail kicker last year ? Cody was getting double teamed EVERY PLAY !!! Sometimes triple teamed with a blocking back…That freed Marcel up to do what he did….Now, this year, he is the one getting the double team…And he hasn’t done squat.

    The o-line is awful…Look at Ingram and Richardsons stats last year compared to this….It’s like niight and day and it is DIRECTLY BECASUE OF THE O-LINE…Greg McElroys play has been stunted because of the o-line as well. Look at the number of sacks allowed this year verses last and it becomes real clear, real quick….

    Auburn was helped tremendously becasue of Came Newton .Don’t get me wrong…But our success has as much to do with our Veteran offensive line, as it does with him….They OWNED LSU…..Owned them. In the second half of that football game they were knocking them 4 and 5 yards off the line of scrimmage , making holes that my old decrepid butt could run through.

    Flip it over to the defense and you have the same situation. Our front four are pretty dang good.

    As far as this NCAA thing…With underdog overachieving teams like ours this year….I sincerely believe that it adds more fuel to the fire. It makes them play with an even bigger chip on their shoulder. AND THAT IS NOT GOOD FOR ANYONE WE PLAY…..

    Hammah. I don’t even read your retarded posts any more. Your own people want you to go away. Please do so.

  13. 16
    DAMAGE INC.

    I am merely staying positive in the current status of the program. I know for a FACT them boys down there have had Aubarn on their minds since week 5 — and may be that’s been a “problem”.

    There is a target zero’ed in — the “A” game will arrive that day. I know I can’t prove it right now due to their recent performances, but the Iron Bowl WILL be one to be remembered for a long, long time.

    I just want to beat Mississippi State. Simple as that.

    I don’t owe any “excuses” to some of you douchebags in here either — this isn’t an Aubarn blog — this is a Crimson Tide Football site (one that doesn’t censor either unlike the other guys) where Crimson Tide fans talk their football. Just because we make comparisons on stats, etc., doesn’t justify us making excuses. Peace out bitches.

  14. 19
    BPI

    We know you don’t “owe” any excuses…..Fact is , I for one don’t want to hear any. You just throw them out there like beads at Mardi Gras…

  15. 20
    ITK

    BP, I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said in your posts. You’re spot on about Bama’s O-line and lack of physicality. It’s why we’re sitting at 7-2…that and because we didn’t have Abarn’s schedule.

    But that said, the predictability of the offense is incredible. The Wildcat hasn’t worked since the ’09 South Carolina game, and yet we keep going to it…like a dog returning to its vomit.

    Romanov, I say what I say about the Newton situation because I’m not a sidewalk observer. Perhaps the most plugged in individual I know (and who called the shot last Thursday a full seven hours before it hit the news) ahs shared some pretty damning facts about Mr. Newton, and I don’t mean Cam. All kidding aside, it’s serious…Albert Means-Lynn Lang serious.

    These situations aren’t summed up in a matter of days. The NCAA had their ducks in a row, taking more than a year, by the time they came a’calling to Tuscaloosa. And the ducks are quacking as they approach in the distance now. You really don’t know what this recruit, and three others, are about to get you into, but I hope you’ll remember this post when it happens.

    I’ll be straight up about Bama when the news is bad, and I’ll rub it in your face when it’s good. But I’m telling you dude, enjoy your temporary soon to be vacated success, because the news that’s coming isn’t any you’ll want to hear.

  16. 22
    Romanov

    Unidentified Person X said unidentified Thing Y about Cam Newton’s father. Is that what we’re relying on to pre-convict Auburn and Cam? Did he also provide some unidentified evidence?

    I’m not saying that someone didn’t tell you something about Mr. Newton. I’m just saying that I don’t believe rumors without evidence. If someone provides some later, that is fine with me. Until then, any accused party should be regarded as innocent.

    I assume that if you had such in your possession, you would be scooping the rest of the world and slamming Auburn by publishing it as fast as possible.

  17. 24
    DAMAGE INC.

    Blah blah — just another Terry Bowden season (into the abyss)

    … and you call us delusional — there is a REASON why all of this was brought up and there is a REASON why the NZAA is investigating — they don’t buy the bullsh|t “Dodge Charger” issues — they “buy” the fact there IS a paper trail — whether it’s text messages and/or 501C3 status (non-profit organization ) for you dumbasses — you’ll get the “message” in the future.

    Damage INC. <—- the one with the last laugh including the entire SEC NATION. 🙂

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