There’s Alabama, and then there is everybody else

 It is a wonderful, COOL Monday morning. Hope you had a good weekend.

FYI. I will not be writing anything about the University of Georgia football program this morning. There is too much to say so I will dedicate all of  Tuesday’s entry to the Bulldogs.

But elsewhere,  what did we learn on the first Saturday in October?

1. There is Alabama and then there is everybody else:  A year ago it was clear that Florida and Alabama had separated themselves from the rest of the SEC. After Florida got its act together and beat Kentucky last week, I had people telling me that Florida was still in the same class with Alabama, the nation’s No. 1 team. I was told that Florida’s players were embarrassed by their beat down in last December’s SEC championship game in Atlanta. I was told that Florida couldn’t wait to march into Bryant-Denny Stadium and get some revenge.

Nope. Not even close. Alabama looked at the Florida threat and barely broke a sweat Saturday night. I still have people who are telling me that Alabama can’t go 12-0 for the third straight consecutive regular season? So I’ll ask you: Who is going to beat this team? Nobody in college football is playing with as much talent, power, coaching, and attitude as the Crimson Tide right now. Again, look at the Alabama schedule and tell me who is going to beat them? Auburn is a candidate but that game is in Tuscaloosa.

2. Florida will get another shot at Alabama: As tough as that beating was for the Gators, Florida coach Urban Meyer has the best possible teaching tool to keep his team engaged. They will get another shot at Alabama in the SEC championship game on Dec. 4 if they take care of business. We’re making some huge assumptions but here is what I see: Even though Florida has clearly slipped and is a work in progress, I don’t see anybody else in the SEC who can beat them.  South Carolina may have a shot but the Gamecocks play at Florida on Nov. 13. It’s hard to see the Gators losing that one if a division championship is on the line. Florida and Alabama played twice in 1999 with the Crimson Tide winning the regular season game 40-39 and the dominating the Gators in a rematch in the SEC championship game. That could happen again in 2010.

3. Les Miles’s luck is about to run out: One of my colleagues wrote that Les Miles doesn’t have nine lives. He has 99 lives. I agree. I have never seen a team with such a bad, poorly coached offense, continue to win games. LSU is 5-0 and ranked No. 9 in the coaches’ poll because the Tigers have a great defense (coached by John Chavis) and outstanding special teams (with Patrick Peterson).  They have been good enough to win five ugly football games and needed a huge dose of luck to beat Tennessee at home on Saturday (More on that in the next item). But now the Big Boy part of the schedule kicks in and LSU fans are rightfully concerned. LSU goes to Florida this week and still has Auburn (Oct. 23), Alabama (Nov. 6), and Arkansas (Nov. 27) left to play. This could still end very badly for the Man in the Hat.

4. Give the SEC officials credit. They got it right in the LSU-Tennessee game: I beat on the officials a bunch last season when it appeared they were getting one big call wrong almost every week. But they got it right at the end of the Tennessee-LSU game. I talked to Rogers Redding, the SEC supervisors of officials once on Saturday night and again on Sunday. If you missed it, find the clip and take a look. LSU trailed 14-10 and was driving in the closing seconds for what would be a winning touchdown. Mass chaos reigned on the LSU bench in the final 30 seconds (Haven’t we read this before?) and as a result the snap flew by quarterback Jordan Jefferson and the clock ran out. Tennessee was celebrating because they had just upset the No. 10 team in the nation on the road. But back in the secondary there were three flags. Tennessee’s defense had 13—that’s right—13 players on the field. LSU got an untimed down and scored to win 17-14.

 As painful as it was for Tennessee, the officials got it right. Tennessee got caught trying to sub too many players and trying to match LSU’s personnel when they should have stayed put, because LSU was self-destructing. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said he didn’t have time to get his players on the field. But Redding read the rule to me and it is clear that there is not an ulimited amount of time to get defensive substitutions on the field. The Tennessee defense got set but unfortunately it was set with 13 players. The official can’t stand over the ball forever  or the clock would just run out. Then you have another set of issues.

I looked at the tape several times on Sunday and they got it right. Also, to those of you writing about the LSU player (T-Bob Hebert) snatching his helmet off during the fray:  Understand that since the excessive celebration call last year in the Georgia-LSU game, the SEC is not going to let something like that determine the outcome of a game. It did not impact play and is not going to get called in that situation.

 5. Oregon looks like the No. 2 team to me:  Oregon jumped over Boise State into the No. 3 spot in Sunday’s coaches poll. I think the Ducks should have jumped over Ohio State to No. 2. We’re talking a team that went to an SEC venue (Tennessee) on Sept. 11 and ran off 45 unanswered points to win 48-13. We’re talking about a team that fell behind 21-3 to No. 9 Stanford, which was seemingly imposing their will on the Ducks. But quicker than you could say “onsides kick” Oregon turned on the switch again and outscored Stanford 49-10 the rest of the way. I look at all that speed with running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas. I see a really good coach in Chip Kelly. And I’ve decided that while  a bunch of people think No. 3 Boise might get cheated of a shot at the big game, it’s the Ducks who may really be the odd man out if No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State keep winning. With all due respect to Boise and Ohio State, the Oregon Ducks are the No. 2 team in the country. Alabama-Oregon in Glendale would be an incredible national championship game.

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Programming Note: Among our guests on “The Barnhart and Durham Show” this morning will be SEC supervisor of officials Rogers Redding to break down the end of the Tennessee-LSU game. We will also be ready to hear from the Bulldog Nation who are not very happy today. Please join us starting at 10 a.m. www.790thezone.com.

369 comments Add your comment

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:47 am

NoGaGator

“don’t run many different plays”? Bama has eleven different sets in the wildcat formation alone.

OK…we’ve only used two of them, but the potential……………

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:47 am

Palladin,

He took at least four unnecessary hits–including a head-to-head collision with a LB instead of stepping out of bounds. I doubt Saban and McElwain felt that was the fun thing to do. And it won’t be much fun when he’s out 3-5 weeks with a concussion or broken bones. I like AJ but I don’t want to see him starting SEC road games this year.

JB

October 4th, 2010
8:48 am

Florida seeing the Tide again…………….So………..I’m convinced……….They could see them 3 or 4 more times it wouldn’t matter………………….I’m on record early in the summer saying just because Florida is loaded with great athletes ( and they are) doesn’t mean they will have a great team ( ad they don’t)…. Now, they could beat my Dawgs this year 12 of 12 times, but they are paying the price of a QB being 70% or so of their offense. I knew they would struggle on offense this year. I watched both Brantley and Murray……I’ll take Murray, and I think Gators wouldn’t mind him either…………….He’s perfect for Meyer’s offense.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:48 am

RE: Tennessee

You can argue until you’re blue in the face about the officiating, but nothing can change that now. I still think that it was a poor coaching decision to attempt to substitute with so little time left on the clock. Had they stood pat, they would own one of the biggest upsets of the year right now.

willie martinez

October 4th, 2010
8:48 am

Hahahahahahahahaha

Hahahahahahahahaha

joe

October 4th, 2010
8:50 am

Les Miles better be on his knees thanking the Good Lord above for that ending…they got outplayed and should have lost. Have a feeling UGA will incur the wrath of the Vols on Saturday. A very bad Colorado team moved the ball at will on Saturday and UT will do even more on 10/9. Who would have thought UGA would be 0-4 in the SEC…and a 2-10 season is very possible.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:51 am

@5IML

I don’t want to see Greg get hurt either, but this is really nothing new. He’s never been afraid of taking a hit.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:53 am

JB

I reached the same conclusion about Florida’s offense last year. Too much of the offense had been placed on Tebow. Bama had the defense that could stop that.

Meyer (I’m sure) is re-evaluating as we speak. He’s a good coach, and I expect UF to be a much improved team by December.

I think they have to start with the OL. That unit did not play well Saturday night.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:54 am

NoGator,

It appears to our untrained eyes that BAMA runs only a few plays but there’s a lot more to it than that. Multiple formations (spread, power I, pistol, shotgun, wildcat, one-back) and personnel groupings give a defense a lot to consider. All these variations create mismatches. On top of that, BAMA’s players are simply better, on average.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:54 am

Palladin

I disagree. McElroy seems to be looking for hits this year. Maybe it’s the pressure of being a Rhodes Scholarship finalist.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:56 am

@3rdn8

As I recall, he played the NC game with cracked ribs. They’ll probably remind him to take better care of himself during practice this week.

JB

October 4th, 2010
8:57 am

There is an uneasy feeling in Athens……………..Are we this bad………..or just hitting a real bad
4 or 5 games…………………I’ve never seen a team play this bad, or coached this bad, with supposedly some pretty well thought od recruits playing for them. Most of Georgia’s Starters were recruited by most SEC teams………..I really think the offense is archaic and easy to prepare for, and the OC is a simpleton who is scripted with little imagination and as far as the defense, I don’t know of Grantham is lost, over his head or has very little talent.
I saw every week it can’t get any worse. A loss to Tennessee will be it for a lot of folks. A loss to them would mean the pride got left in the locker room.

dawgfan

October 4th, 2010
8:57 am

So basically LSU is STILL benefiting from the same bogus call that helped them beat Georgia last year. Hilarious. LSU has a 4 leaf clover shoved up its backside for sure. Me thinks Bama will knock it out though. I hope they knock that smug grin off Les Miles’ face too.

ViningsDAWG

October 4th, 2010
8:57 am

Look at the new Top 25 and how is Florida still that high. Brantley is by far the most over rated QB in the SEC. UGA is talented but as Pat Dye used to say they are fighting them angels right now.

Auburn may be 5-0 like last year but this is a totally different team. They have more depth,speed, and confidence. They may lose one over this stretch of three games but that will be it.

Bama Fan #2

October 4th, 2010
8:58 am

Bama’s new motto PEDAL TO METAL!!!

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:59 am

Georgia needs something to get them out of their funk.

Maybe a different Uni design?

wesleywhatwhat

October 4th, 2010
9:01 am

when is barnhart going to change his nickname to “mr sec football?

btw, should a nickname be something GIVEN to a person by someone else, not something a person decides to start calling THEMSELF, lol?

what a clown.

Richt ties Goff with 0-3 SEC start

October 4th, 2010
9:02 am

ViningsDAWG

Look at the new Top 25 and how is Florida still that high.

Because the NCAA coaches in the Coaches poll know alot more about football than just woof, woof, woof——-go dawgs fans

mcdaviddawg

October 4th, 2010
9:02 am

There’s Alabama, than everyone else and than Georgia. FIre Richt!

Richt ties Goff with 0-3 SEC start

October 4th, 2010
9:03 am

Palladin

Maybe break out the lucky Black ones?

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 4th, 2010
9:03 am

“FYI. I will not be writing anything about the University of Georgia football program this morning. There is too much to say so I will dedicate all of Tuesday’s entry to the Bulldogs.”

FYI, Tony, You just did.

Can’t recall you ever saying that about GT in good times or bad…but you’re not a homer.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
9:04 am

Palladin

I’m not arguing that McElroy isn’t tough. 51ML’s point is: why is he taking all of the unnecessary hits?

He’s going to take enough hits during the normal couse of a game anyway.

He could just be a very competitive guy. Or….he could be a an arrogant, prima-donna prick.

My jury is still out.

slaughdog

October 4th, 2010
9:04 am

Tony,-

What makes you think FLA will have a rematch w/ ALA….they are not the best team in the EAST, South Carolina is better. Who knows, even GA might beat them (yeah, truth be told, FLA is down this year). The SECCG in ATL will not have the 2 best teams in the SEC—the top 5 teams in the SEC are all in the WEST division.

War CAM Eagle

Scott

October 4th, 2010
9:05 am

After watching as many games as possible Saturday, I would have Alabama first and Oregon second. I do think Oregon could beat Alabama on a neutral field though.

Alphare

October 4th, 2010
9:06 am

The Oregon coach benched his best player for the season last year because of a punch. See what has happened this year in Oregon?

If CMR benched Ealey for the whole season, and suspend AJGreen one more game on top of NCAA suspension, would UGA play as bad as it is now?

dawgfan

October 4th, 2010
9:06 am

JB, we will lose to Tennessee and perhaps badly. Any delusions of beating this team need to be put to rest right now. We can’t beat anybody.

Hey Scott

October 4th, 2010
9:07 am

Oregon Sat, Sep 11 at Tennessee W 48-13

You’re an idiot.

Hey Scott

October 4th, 2010
9:08 am

This is to the scott who made the 6th post

Richt ties Goff with 0-3 SEC start

October 4th, 2010
9:09 am

Richt says he doesn’t think Branden Smith will play this weekend———–is this man totally clueless, here is a young who has had 2 concussions in 3 weeks, and Richt says he might not be ready Sat.

This young man should sit the rest of the year, concussions are not to be taken lightly—–a good coach would know that

DCJohn

October 4th, 2010
9:10 am

The SEC officials did not get it right. LSU broke the huddle and substituted. That is a penalty. I believe one Philip Fulmer made sure the refs knew of that rule when Georgia played at Tennessee in 2001.

KingGator

October 4th, 2010
9:14 am

Bama’s luck is about to run out too!! Want to find out how to wreck a program? Look no further than FSU, UF, etc. When programs are successful, coaching staffs get gutted. Where did Mark Richt come from? Charlie Strong? Dan Mullen? You don’t think Kirby Smart is about to become UGA’s next head coach? get ready Bama fans. Nothing is forever. Besides, Saban have all the accolades from college ball, but he will never be able to say, I won in the NFL and with the Dolphins. As a matter of fact, that will always be a thron in his side, so don’t be surprised if the NFL doesn’t come calling again. The man was an abyssmal failure in the NFL, at somepoint he’s want to make amends for that fiasco in his life

Wish ga played bama

October 4th, 2010
9:14 am

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
9:15 am

@3rdn8

Greg does a fine job of being humble in off-the-field interviews. I don’t think I want a QB who is so unsure of himself that he doesn’t get a little arrogant while on the field. It’s not like he’s making bad decisions for the team. He takes worse hits sometimes from standing in the pocket too long than by running straight at the defense when nobody’s open. Maybe he just wants to hit back occasionally?

MURPHY

October 4th, 2010
9:15 am

Lucky Les pulls another win out even though he doesnt have a clue.Give UT all the credit in the world,they were the best team in Baton Rouge Saturday. Dooley will win a couple he isnt suppose to!

Bama is the best team in the nation,but I say they slip in Columbia this week.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
9:15 am

The SEC.

This is a down year by SEC standards. The West has three legit teams (sorry LSU, you didn’t make that list), and the East has about 1.5.

I think the Big 10 and PAC 10 are just as good top-to-bottom. The Big 12 is down as well, but Nebraska can play with anyone.

I just don’t see a dominant team anywhere. Bama has the potential to be, but are a long way from being consistent enough.

redneck 61

October 4th, 2010
9:15 am

Alabama played a very very bad fla team they cant even snap the ball. SC will beat fla to win the east. If auburn can get past ark they will be undefeated when they play alabama.

Ray Goof > Mark Richt

October 4th, 2010
9:16 am

0-4 start? Likely

G Dog 88

October 4th, 2010
9:18 am

Dawgs will have their issues fixed by weeks end and will run out the rest of the season
GA 27 Fla 21
Ga 34 Aub 38
GO DAWGS!

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
9:19 am

@KingGator

It’s not as if Bama’s coaching staff has remained unchanged under Coach Saban.

As for the NFL — here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.

Bob

October 4th, 2010
9:19 am

Tony, it could be the SEC refs are trying to cover their rears after the embarassments of last year. There was a lot going on on that play. Chances are LSU committed a penalty or two themselves and the refs blew it. LSU was in complete disarray.

MURPHY

October 4th, 2010
9:19 am

King Gator,

Disagree-Saban is fine.He just like Surrier will stick to college coaching and leave a legacy at that. The NFL has humbled many good college coaches. Kirby wont be the next UGA coach. I dont see Saban failing at Bama cause he loses a few assistants. He has a system just like Urban does and they both work!

Gen Neyland

October 4th, 2010
9:20 am

In terms of last second chaotic clusterbangs, why does the Stanford Marching Band and their student section come to mind..? Although the stat sheet was, for the most part, unbalanced in LSU’s favor (except for turnovers), I gotta look at a few of the positives. Peterson was kept in check, took a #10 to the wire at their place and no false starts by the young OL are examples of growth.

Congrats to all the winners. On to Athens.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
9:20 am

Palladin,

McElroy is not hitting back. He’s not running defenders over or fighting through arm tackles. He’s getting smoked on just about every hit. Greg, let the Fast & Furious run over defenders.

jeff

October 4th, 2010
9:22 am

I’ll agree Bama looked awesome on Saturday. But to go ahead and pencil them in as 12-0 seems a little premature don’t you think. After all, just a week ago Arkansas had them on the ropes but didn’t make any plays in the 4th quarter.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
9:26 am

@jeff

Any team can lose a game on a given Saturday. That said, any loss by Bama this year will have to be considered an upset. They’re not invincible, but they are a very good football team this year and they seem to be improving with each week.

GT fan in MS

October 4th, 2010
9:26 am

I have to agree with Tony on Oregon being the 2nd best team in the country. OSU should have dropped to 3 with their anemic performance at IU.
Speaking of polls, LSU should not be the #9 team in the country after needing a miracle to be a below average Tenn team. They should have fallen 5 spots to 14. Look at their Offense and coaching, no way they are a top 10 team.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
9:28 am

LSU won’t drop in the polls until they lose. They will have plenty of opportunities to do just that. Until then, ugly wins count for just as much as do the “pretty” ones.

From Where I Sit

October 4th, 2010
9:29 am

Hat’s off to AL they are simply a great team.

Hopefully, the Gators will get another shot in December as they are the 2nd best team in the SEC!

Congrats again to the Tide.

Gators win the East again in 2010!

MURPHY

October 4th, 2010
9:29 am

Gen Neyland,

I know you were jumping up and down when the clock ran down on Sat in Baton Rouge. Heck I was and I never thought I would ever pull for Rocky Top. Yall played great,and I do believe UT has found them a coach. Being around the UGA program all my life I can promise you Dooley will do a great job at UT. How bout the fire he shows on the sidelines. I hate to see yall beat my Dawgs on sat but to lose to a Dooley is ok I guess. Good luck to yall.

Coach

October 4th, 2010
9:30 am

Derek Dooly and Les Miles…Dumb and Dumber!

Incredible. Both of these guys need to take an NFL course in clock management. Just incredible.