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.

 Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

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

robodawg

October 4th, 2010
10:15 am

I totally agree. I want to see Oregon play Bama for the MNC. Oregon looks much better than Ohio State or Boise State. I hope the voters and computers can see that. (And hope Oregon doesn’t get tripped up along the way — it would be a shame.)

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
10:18 am

@ bamafan

Agree on all counts. But go to an AL.com forum (doesn’t matter which one), and you’ll see a gaggle of people who do nothing but spew hate, 7 days-per-week, 365 days per year.

It just makes some people feel better to insult, and disparage total strangers. (see “Bare Bryant” as my case-in-point)

They must live on a tiny little planet.

WashingtonDCduck

October 4th, 2010
10:19 am

**** OREGON ALUM / RABID FAN SPEAKING ****

Look, Alabama is good, very good, elite good. They’ve separated themselves from the rest of a quality group of upper echelon SEC teams. Florida is no chump, they’ve slipped, but they are still a first-rate football team. ALABAMA WOULD NOT DESTROY OREGON. How in the hell does one come to that conclusion? Alabama comes at you with the same power attack that Stanford did, and look how that turned out. (see a 49-10 run by Oregon over the nation’s #9 team!) Are the Tide better than Stanford, of course. I’m not making parallel conclusions here. It’s one style of football versus another.

OREGON made the necessary 2nd half adjustments vs. Stanford, and SHUT THEM OUT in the 2nd half. 2 INTs, a few 3 and outs, and the defense suffocated a previous deadly offensive attack. Give Oregon’s defense some credit where due. 115 to 7 is our 2nd half scoring margin this season, YES, including your Tennessee brethren who nearly beat LSU in Baton Rouge.

((( And to the point that Oregon lost to Boise State last year… ok, fair enough. We lost straight up, no gimmicks. You’re an idiot if you think it’s the same team. Masoli’s running of the Oregon offense vs. our current QB Darron Thomas of Houston, TX is 100 times different. Your 80 yr old grandmother could throw a better ball than Masoli. He provided very little, and inconsistent vertical down the field threat. Thomas not only has the wheels (117 yds on 15 carries vs. Stanford) but he throws a beautiful deep ball, and can effectively read defenses. He’s been in the program for 3 yrs now and is not some 18 yr old zit faces kid who lives in the dorms. 2010 Oregon Ducks are much more dangerous on offense than the 2009 team. )))

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:19 am

3rdn8

What are you talking about?

robodawg

October 4th, 2010
10:20 am

What an incredible finish to the LSU-UT game. Heartbreaking loss for Tennessee. I really wanted them to get it done. I just hope that emotional of a game leaves them less than at their best against us on Saturday. If they play their best, and we play on the incredibly inconsistent level we’ve been on, we can’t beat them.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:20 am

“Not again!! – Why do the Auburn fans get on the blog and pick a fight every day? Grow up. Auburn is 5-0, playing well, and ranked in the top ten. Bad mouthing other teams, players, and coaches doesn’t make Auburn any better, and it doesn’t make the other teams worse.”

Please show me one comment of mine that sounds hateful or sounds like I am starting a fight.

One.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
10:22 am

@ WashingtonDCduck

good…finally back to football.

(a) Oregon is the best offensive team I’ve seen this year (especially 2nd half).
(b) Oregon has more speed on offense than any team I’ve seen all year.
(c) Bama may be a bit more balanced in all phases of the game
(d) Bama’s defensive line looks much faster than Oregon’s OL.

and

(e) That would be a heck-of-a-game

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:23 am

3rdn8

Bias much? I’ve been to plenty of SEC games and have witnessed many acts of “hate.” I have a buddy who’s 11 year old son was beaten unconscious by U of Alabama students after a football game last year. They found out he was from Oxford, MS and put him in the hospital. After an investigation, the Bama guys were found and one was given jail time.

Don’t tell me that Auburn is the ONLY school that has a few a-holes.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:24 am

“Playing with unrelenting zeal and determination will keep an average team in the game.”

It’s worked for Oklahoma, Ohio State, Georgia and many other schools for years.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
10:24 am

@ Auburn guy, straight up yo

ok…slowly from the top

I was making a joke….a gag….a yarn, if you will.

(a) I didn’t name my sone Bobby Bear
(b) My last name isn’t Burton

and

(c) You can call me Johnson.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:26 am

“After Auburn squeaking past both MSU and SC, I would have thought that we would hear the end of Auburn fans bragging about winning the first three quarters of a game last year. The final score is the only score that counts.”

Those same teams beat the crap out of UGA. The team ESPN picked to be the “surprise” team of the SEC.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:27 am

3rdn8

Uh huh.

FIRESTEVEADDAZIO

October 4th, 2010
10:29 am

Gatormike, you hit the nail on the head!!!

Third and Long

October 4th, 2010
10:29 am

A Tech fan, not a Vol, but have to disagree with you when you say the officials got it right at LSU. The offense ran 3 people on the field at the last second. The defense has to have time to react to the substitutions. The offense is not allowed to keep people on the sidelines until the last second, run them in, and not let the defense react. Yes, time would have expired. But that is LSU’s fault. Once they changed their personnel, Tennessee should have had time to react.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
10:30 am

@ Auburn guy, straight up yo

you missed my point….again.

I distinctly said: “go to the AL.com forums (it doesn’t matter which one”

I was referring to both fan bases…..and we can expand that to most of college football.

The crazies are taking over our sport. It isn’t limited to a particular school or conference.

A growing segment of the fan base seem to think thuggery is cool.

As my Grandma used to say: “they’ve missed out on a lot of learining”.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:31 am

Gator Mike

Just out of curiosity, do the gator faithful ever wonder if Urban should have done more to keep Cam Newton around?

robodawg

October 4th, 2010
10:31 am

GeneralNeyland96 (and sjt18), they can’t call a penalty on a replay. Sorry about that, but if the flag wasn’t thrown, there was no penalty. If an official even saw it happen in all that chaos, he would’ve left it alone b/c the clock was at 0. They won’t go back and call a penalty after they’ve seen another play would need to be run.

Bottom line, you were a couple of late substitutions away from pulling off a great upset. It’s a sucky way to lose. Sorry man, I was pulling for you.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:31 am

3rdn8

What is your point???????

bamafan

October 4th, 2010
10:32 am

Auburn Guy – your post @ 9:48 = “Do you realize how stupid Bama people look when they name their kids after Nick Saban?”

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
10:32 am

@ Auburn guy, straight up yo

have a good day. hope your team does well this weekend.

see you in November

gt

October 4th, 2010
10:35 am

Bama is the best, almost scary how good they are. Tony will be better this year without his dawg in the hunt. His predictions are back on key and he actually sounds like an expert again. He still has a blind spot for Spurrier coming from his illness with Georgia, South Carolina has beaten better Florida teams with less fire power than they have this year. I think South Carolina and Auburn are the class of the rest of the litter. I don’t think Florida gets to Atlanta. Florida has one of those teams this year that could lose to anyone in the conference on any given Saturday.

MR

October 4th, 2010
10:35 am

Richt’s lost his team. Time for him to go.

WarEagle Beagle

October 4th, 2010
10:36 am

I would put Arkansas right up the with bama. Their only loss was to the #1 team in the country in a game that that they should have won. Ark will win out and bama might lose 2 games starting this week, putting the Hogs in the SEC championship.

MURPHY

October 4th, 2010
10:36 am

Washington Duck,

Alabama/Oregon would be a great game. I do think Bama would win,but in no way would they blow out Oregon. Tide would struggle with that offenseive scheme as would any other team in the nation. Ducks are for real!

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:36 am

bamafan

You consider that a fight?????????????

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
10:36 am

3rdn8

Uh, ok.

obamalovesGA

October 4th, 2010
10:40 am

Maybe everyone should give medical redshirts to all their recruiting mistakes . Time for the NCAA to go to work or will bama’s $ continue to work for them?

CrackDaddy

October 4th, 2010
10:42 am

No disrespect for Auburn, but my unbiased opinion is that Clemson is every bit as good as Auburn, as witnessed by the OT game in Auburn’s backyard (a definite advantage for Auburn). It was also clear that Miami is better than Clemson. Bottom line excluding Bama, ACC is arguably stronger this year than SEC.

UGA Insider

October 4th, 2010
10:42 am

If UGA looses badly to an undermanned UT team, look for the CMR era to end by this time next week. The hierarchy is embarrassed by the on and off the field issues and another loss to UT will be the final straw. This UGA team has quit and everyone within the program knows it. Look for Dooley to get his signature win as Kiffin did last year against us. Sources also tell me UGA coaching staff is the most dysfunctional group in the programs history…Led by Mike Bobo.

01HAWK

October 4th, 2010
10:46 am

It will only get better for BAMA. They are playing alot of freshmen on defense and even a walk on WILL LOWERY gets significant playing time as a DB.

How about the interception and touchdown by a true freshmen C.J. MOSELY…….. SABAN has had to play alot of freshmen because when you lose 9 starters off of your defense………………you have to.

It will get better. Another freshmen played alot by the name of Demarcus Millner at DB. You think they are good this year, then just wait til next year after these freshmen have a year under there belt.

01HAWK

October 4th, 2010
10:49 am

What do you expect when you make a coaching hire from Vanderbilt and Connecticut like UGA did ?

WashingtonDCduck

October 4th, 2010
10:49 am

On a side note, I felt terrible watching those kids celebrate on the Tennessee sideline and then only to be hit in the gut and lose on the next play as a HB toss by LSU punched it into the end zone for the win. The Vols played a hard fought game, and deserved a win. Sloppy game I thought, defenses played well in the trenches for both teams and I thought UT showed a lot of moxie on the road like that. Dooley just might be the man in Knoxville, give him some time to recruit and just maybe he can resurrect the program. LSU does it again… with their upcoming slate though, the clock will strike midnight eventual on Miles.

gcs

October 4th, 2010
10:51 am

1. Alabama routed #7 Florida 31-6 and were disappointed in their own performance. In many post-game interviews, players were talking about needing to improve. There will be no “trap games” for the Tide this season.
2. Florida still has to be the SEC East favorite but I don’t see them or South Carolina beating this Crimson Tide team.
3. Les Miles has always been lucky. Even when he inherited all those Saban players and won the National Championship in 2007, he made many head-scratching calls that by some miracle worked out.
4. I feel real sorry for Derek Dooley, but yes, the refs got it right.
5. Thank you for joining my Oregon bandwagon. I have been saying for weeks that they should be ranked ahead of Boise and TCU. Oregon actually looks like a co-#1 with Alabama but wouldn’t it be nice to see an Oregon-Boise rematch? The Ducks would throttle the Broncos back to also-ran status where they belong.

.

CrackDaddy

October 4th, 2010
10:52 am

Mr college football, one could infer from your premise is that the “everyone else” implies the rest are equal. I don’t think so. How would you rank the rest and watt is the level os separation between those teams?

Stan

October 4th, 2010
10:53 am

Tony,
While I understand the rationale. The thirteen players on the field did not have an impact on the outcome, seeing as the snap went past the qb. A rule is a rule and either enforce all of them or none of them.

Runnwild

October 4th, 2010
10:53 am

Auburn guy, it doesn’t matter what espn said about Georgia before the season started. Fact is they suck and if you are using that as justification on how good msu and USC are you are looking at the world through those auburn lenses.

CrackDaddy

October 4th, 2010
10:56 am

I believe UGA will make right decision and retain CMR. UGa needs to establish dignity and respect in their athletics, not cave in to irrational fans who want to win at all cost.

harold

October 4th, 2010
10:57 am

Tony: Tou and Mark are right. Georgia is a very poorly coached football team! It is time for Richt to go as everyone out of diapers agrees. The Georgia/Tennessee game is being dubbed THE TOILET BOWL!

Hollywould

October 4th, 2010
10:57 am

As an Auburn fan I am happy to be 5-0 but I see many holes in this team. Long way to go.

Always a Jacket

October 4th, 2010
11:02 am

Tony, you got it right. Alabama is above all in the SEC. Auburn & Ark are next best solid teams, then everyone else. SEC is probably 3rd best conference this year at best, behind PAC and Big 10. Auburn will not beat Alabama, Auburn defense has great players, but they appear to be poorly coached. Made Clemson look good. Looking forward to the LSU Florida game. At least one pick 6 against Jarrett Lee. Les Brains will run out of luck this week. Too bad about that UGA team.

GeneralNeyland96

October 4th, 2010
11:04 am

Robo….interesting, since there was also no flag thrown on UT for illegal participation…it came from the Booth….once a play’s under review, the WHOLE play should be reviewed…

REDHOG

October 4th, 2010
11:06 am

I love all the Auburn dreamers…we will find out about your team when they play the Razorbacks in a few weeks. Ga beats Tenn.

BAMA dude

October 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Good Morning everyone. Saturday was a glorious day for the Tide. We haven’t punched our ticket yet, but I don’t see many challenges left. We’ll learn a lot about our little brothers in Lee County this weekend. The way I see it, if we dismantle USCe from the beginning on their turf then, considering their struggles at home with both Clempson and USCe, we’ll know that Aubie is as far beneath us as I suspect. Reading through the comments, a couple of things jump out:

1) You’re better off ignoring the Auburn guy, straight up or whatever he’s calling himself today. It’s clearly the handle-changing moron that tries to take the board over daily by responding to virtually every comment at a rapid fire pace.

2) This comment struck me funny:

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!

Not only is this poor fella delusional, his score of the Auburn game while predicting UGA to run the table takes the cake.

harold

October 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Tony: I always watch you guys on Talkin’ Football. The helmet throwing incident should be enforced if it is a rule regardless of where you play. If you don’t get that call whether away or at home it should simply not be a rule!

BJohnDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:13 am

Alabama is the clear #1. But after watching the Arkansas gave, they are also clearly Vulnerable.
If the Razorbutts and mallet had played smarter in the 4QTR, Bama would have a lose right now.
I dont think anyone in the SEC will beat them. But outside the SEC….could be a different story.

Vol4Life

October 4th, 2010
11:14 am

Dear Murphy,
We appreciate the nice words about our program going in the right direction, but we are not there yet. In fact, the geniuses in Vegas have installed the Georgia Bulldogs as a 10.5 point favorite over Tennessee next week. Do THEY know that game is between the hedges? Do THEY know that AJ Green is back? Do THEY know that UT’s 3 losses came to top 10 teams? WOW.. UT must REALLY be on hard times to be a 10.5 point underdog to a 1-4 georgia team. Woah is me.

GO VOLS! Hang tough with the bulldogs…

Rammer Jammer

October 4th, 2010
11:14 am

Bama’s running the table again on the way to Title #14!!! This bama team may be better than last year’s team. They blew out a good florida team and should win the rest of their games easily. Bama will blowout florida or south carolina in the SEC title game, then play either Ohio State or Oregon, who will not be able to deal with the nasty bama D. Bama wins the BCS—bank on it!

reebok

October 4th, 2010
11:15 am

Georgia will beat Tennessee this week because they have to win. And apparently Tennessee doesn’t. Not sure how that works, but that seems to be the rule.

reebok

October 4th, 2010
11:16 am

Oh yeah, and Tech will beat Virginia on Saturday. Because they have to. And I guess Virginia…oh, never mind.