Alabama is competitive. Every year. This is the legacy of Alabama football coach Nick Saban. His process returned the Tide to relevancy and has the Crimson Tide challenging for SEC division crowns, SEC championships and national titles. Every year, Alabama starts the season somewhere in the AP Top 10. Whether Alabama wins every game or not, it is satisfying to be in contention and to field competitive football teams who have a chance to beat anyone in college football.
This season, Alabama is once again competing for the SEC title and national championship. Whether the Crimson Tide can win it remains to be seen with a tough challenge against Georgia looming in Atlanta for the Tide—that is provided Alabama beats Auburn in the traditional Iron Bowl rivalry game.
However, not only is Alabama in position for a 15th national title and a 23rd SEC title, but Alabama’s biggest rivals are bad.
Let’s be honest. Auburn is putrid. The record is garbage and there is the stench of death surrounding the entire program. The Auburn family is divided unlike any time in recent memory. If Auburn fires football coach Gene Chizik, it is an admission that the entire 2010 season was tainted. Either, Gene Chizik is a good football coach that knows how to evaluate talent (Cam) and develop talent (Cam and Nick Fairley), or Gene Chizik is the incompetent clown that Auburn fans want fired.
Chizik has performed at a historically bad level. Auburn is 3-8 overall and 0-7 in SEC play headed into the Iron Bowl.
Everyone outside the Auburn family recognized that Gene Chizik was a bad coach when hired following a 5-19 record at Iowa State; however, who could predict this level of ineptitude? It is beyond most fans’ wildest dreams.
Now Alabama fans can watch the Auburn family commit fratricide as factions struggle for control of the program. If Auburn is not careful, this type of fighting can scar a program for years. The dearth of leadership on the Plains surely makes many wish for the return of Bobby Lowder.
As for the Tennessee Volunteers, there is a sweet satisfaction watching the Volunteers struggle. Tennessee has not won an SEC title since 1998. Since Phil Fulmer became a private investigator rather than a football coach, Tennessee has slipped. Upon Saban’s arrival at the Capstone, Fulmer slipped into irrelevancy. The coaches who followed have been worse. Tennessee should have kept Fulmer. Of course, there was something fitting in the firing of Fulmer after the way the douche screwed Johnny Majors out of a job.
When the Vols fired Fulmer, they followed that up with the spectacularly bad Lane Kiffin. Kiffin made so many gaffes that upon his departure, Tennessee was a dumpster fire. Kiffin spent one season in Knoxville, but tarnished the program with NCAA violation after NCAA violation. Kiffin was a walking secondary and in fact, Tennessee probably escaped lightly with Hostessgate.
Derek Dooley followed Kiffin. All Dooley did was post losing records in his three seasons in Knoxville. Some of this was a talent issue, but most of it was a leadership issue. Dooley was out of his depth in Knoxville. That is not to say Dooley is a bad head coach, but he was clearly not ready for the demands and challenges of leading a major SEC brand.
Tennessee is not even in the close to a serious challenger to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and even Vanderbilt.
Tennessee will be competitive again. However, there is a satisfaction for many Alabama fans as they watch the Volunteers’ self-inflicted wounds bleed season after season.
This is a good season to be an Alabama fan. Would another championship combined with the abject failure of Auburn and Tennesse make this season the best ever for an Alabama fan? Share your thoughts below.