Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Know Your Enemy: Alabama Crimson Tide
Auburn rolls into the season riding a six game winning streak in one of (if not the most) heated rivalries in college football. but this is YEAR TWO in the Nick Saban Rebuilding Project. which means there's no way that Bama is having as lousy a year as they did last season...not for 4 million dollars a year they aren't. Auburn still owns a slight edge over Alabama in terms of on the field talent, especially in Auburn's defense vs. Bama's offense. but help is on the way for the Tide in the form of the greatest recruiting class in school history. Saban might not know how to beat UL Monroe, but he sure as shit can recruit 4 and 5 star man beasts. and so a sense of dread has taken over the happy minds of Auburn fans, who fear their dominance over this most hated rival may be coming to an end. winning 6 times in a row might be the sort of thing you'd think would give a fan base confidence, but this is fucking Alabama and for most of us it's just an act of survival to keep The Tide from reclaiming their foothold on a state rivalry that they dominated for decades.
Alabama's strengths come in the form of one of the best offensive lines in the entire country, headlined of course by Andre Smith, a likely top 5 pick in next year's draft. you might remember him from such moments as this.
i love it when fat guys score. anyways the rest of the line is pretty solid as well, especially senior center Antoine Caldwell (3rd team All SEC). the line is blocking for a talented young running back in Terry Grant (3rd team All SEC) who looks like the first truly NFL caliber runner the Tide has had in years. Grant started the season hot and looked like a possible freshman of the year candidate until injuries and a rotating cast of 8 million runningbacks slowed his season...oh yeah and some guy named Knowshon showed up and took that freshman of the year honor by the horns.
the real weakness of the Tide offense comes in the form of senior QB and perpetual turnover machine, John Parker Wilson. no player cost he's team more games than Wilson. whether it was his poor play against FSU, his interception against Mississippi State, and his costly fumble against LSU; Parker found more ways to lose than he ever did to win. with JP running the show the Tide has turned out 2 straight 6-6 regular seasons and that's something that Bama fans can't stomach anymore. don't be surprised if John Parker finds himself getting pushed for playing time from back up Greg McElroy or true freshman Star Jackson....especially if things start off bad for the Tide. the receiving corp is another weakness for Alabama, but only for lack of experience. Bama landed the number 1 recruit in the nation in five star wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones has been compared to Calvin Johnson in terms of speed and talent, if he's even half as good as Johnson was then Bama could have a lethal redzone threat and a guy who can stretch the field, thereby helping the power running game.
the defense has some real potential lead by senior safety Rashad Johnson and sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain. unfortunately the defense lacks depth thanks to poor recruiting from the Shula era. expect to see lots of freshman getting to play on that side of the ball. and a young defense is often a mistake prone defense. if Alabama wants to climb back on top of the SEC West their D is gonna have to step up sooner than later.
most people wouldn't consider Alabama a real threat to win the SEC West this season. it's basically a two horse race between Auburn and LSU like it has been for the last 8 years or so, but the Tide could greatly impact the West by upsetting one of the top two teams.
i predict Alabama to have a better season than 2007. they start the season off with Clemson at the Georgia Dome. that could set the tone for the entire year if they were able to pull off an upset. after that they've got tough road games against LSU and Georgia and then there's the annual match up with my Auburn team and no Tide fan wants to see this losing streak they are on reach 7. if i was a betting man i'd say Alabama wins 8 games, finally puts the beat down on Mississippi State that they owe them, upsets at least one top 25 team, and ends up in the Chick-Fil-A bowl setting the team up for a West title run next year.