Paul Finebaum answered a few questions about the state of football programs at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, the Louisiana State University, the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee. Finebaum believes Alabama stands alone in college football, that Auburn is better off under Coach Gene Chizik than it was during the final days of Tommy Tuberville, that LSU remains an important program under Les Miles, that Florida is “going nowhere” under Will Muschamp and that Tennessee football is a “train wreck.”

Here is the Q&A with Finebaum about the state of these SEC football programs relative to where they were four years ago.

Q: Is Alabama football better off today than four years ago?
Finebaum: “Yes, and maybe better off than it has ever been. That is a sacrilegious statement to make, and I only covered Coach Bryant’s last two years, but I really don’t know if Alabama has ever been more important in football.

“I may read this in a couple of days or weeks and wonder why I said what I just got through saying. Even Alabama in the mid-60s had other peers. I think Notre Dame was on the same level, Penn State, Texas and depending on the year, maybe Oklahoma. Alabama always had major competitors.

“I think, right now, Alabama is really standing alone in college football. If you say what is the most important program it is Alabama. If you say who is the most important coach it is Nick Saban. It is not like there is a debate. Even back then, as great as Coach Bryant was and I make no bones he was the greatest coach in college football history, but there were other people in the conversation, Ara Parseghian in the 60s, Bob Devaney, at other points Joe Paterno. Is there anyone else in the conversation right now? The answer is no.”

Q: Is Auburn football better off today than four years ago?
Finebaum: “I’d say Auburn is in better shape. Auburn four years ago was hemorrhaging. It had a paper tiger as a leader; it had someone who had checked out three or four years earlier. I think (Gene) Chizik is respected by a lot of people. There is reason to debate whether he will be overly successful, but I don’t think there is any debating the program is in better shape today than it was under Tuberville.”

Q: What about the some other SEC teams is LSU football better off today than four years ago?
Finebaum: “I think so, but I don’t think that is an easy answer to make. I think four years ago, they were in a transitional stage coming off a national championship and you really didn’t know where they were going. I think LSU is still a very prominent program under Les Miles as hard as it may be to believe. I think they are better off, yes.”

Q: Is Florida football better off today than four years ago?
Finebaum: “No, Florida is woefully worse off. Four years ago, Urban Meyer pretty much had the most important program in the country going, and now I don’t think Florida is going anywhere under Will Muschamp.”

Q: What about Tennessee?
Finebaum: “Tennessee is a train wreck. I hear from various people at Tennessee all the time, and I don’t think anyone believes Derek Dooley has a clue and I don’t think anyone believes Derek Dooley will be there in a year.”

This is part of our Q&A series with Paul Finebaum. You can read other installments including Finebaum’s thoughts on the decline of reporting and how many reporters get their leads from message boards like Tider Insider.

11 thoughts on “Q&A: Finebaum says Alabama stands alone in college football, Auburn better off today than under Tuberville”

  1. Auburn is on the verge of irrelevancy unless they can purchase some more once-in-a lifetime QB’s. Auburn is all about slave auctions

  2. finebaum is ignorant. he has no idea what he is talking about when speaks of other programs because all he does is drink the coolaid at AL. AL fans are horrible – they are finally relevant again and all they can do is put down other programs. classless….. and finebaum is the leader of the mindless mass

    1. Don’t think I’d put my name on such an ignorant and asinine set of statements, either.

    2. Look, you are obviously a fan of one of Alabama’s opponents, and you are clearly unaware of WHAT an Alabama “fan” is. Horrible? Why? Is it because of their team spirit? What makes them “horrible”? A few years ago, the barn was talking about “Six Pack”. Tennessee was talking about a decade and a half of dominance. Were they “horrible”? Of course not! But an Alabama fan showing the pride that comes with winning is “horrible”.

      I believe you are jealous. Finebaum, while not a “real” expert, knows what he is talking about. You’ll see Dooley fired, Muschamp too, Les Miles will have talent, but will be clueless as to what to do with it. And haters, like you, will be spewing drivel to obscure the phenominal failures of your “team” when they are forced onto the field with Alabama as an opponent!

    1. Finebaum is dead on at THIS time in college football history. It will change, it always does. But, it won’t be an Auburn or a Florida or a Clemson that races to the top, it will be a Michigan, a Southern Cal, an Ohio State or a Texas. In other words, a “traditional” national power, one that has always (key word always) been at the top of the heap.

      1. I disagree, Gerald – unless some of these teams you name make the fundamental changes to their philosophy of playing the game, the SEC will continue to rub the noses of the so-called “traditional” powers in college football in the green turf of the stadiums they play in. So far, the only team that seems to be making that change is Ohio State, and it remains to be seen if they can handle the atmosphere of that conference with it’s “we don’t recruit a kid after he’s committed” BS. Urban Meyer – if he has the fire he had at UF still – will clean up at Ohio State, and do it cleanly. He will also grow bored with it in about 5 years and leave with more “health” problems at about the time everyone else in the conference figures out how to recruit and play against him.
        The SEC will dominate college football for at least this decade, even with some of their traditional powerhouses not so strong. You will continue to see Bama, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas (if they haven’t monumentally blown it with their coaching hire), and maybe Auburn talked about when it comes to the end of the season and BCS games are being planned.

        1. More negative Auburn press from the Capstone Report. Ah. Nothing is new here , move along

  3. Auburn will be young again this season, but they will be more experienced. I believe they will surprise a few teams this season. They still lack experience at QB (Frazier is not a proven passer), but they won’t be getting blown out in games like they did last season.

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