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

reebok

October 4th, 2010
11:17 am

All sarcasm aside, and I’m not trying to get beat down here by all the Georgia loyalists, but I honestly don’t see why UGA is a favorite over the Vols this week.

BJohnDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:18 am

And FYI…Dont be surprised if Coach Richt resigns at the end of this year.Moving on to missionary work or something outside of Georgia. I see that, or Bobo gone after 2010 and Richt getting 2011 to fix it. If not, then 2012 we will have a New UGA head coach. But Richt will not be fired this year.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:18 am

(milling about at the periphery of this conversation, whistling nrevously)

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:18 am

Tony, I do agree that Alabama is most likely the toughest team team in D-1, but there are teams lurking out there who could beat Alabama, OU is one of them. The problem I have with these blogs is they are too narrow in scope in terms of the SEC, which is the toughest conference, but these SEC teams are beatable.

Keep in mind that if the SEC sucks this year, which it does, then Alabama has a weak schedule. Their toughest oppoent was Florida, and maybe LSU. UT does not have what it takes, nor does Ole Miss, MSU, or Auburn. The SEC is weak this year, and if Alabama meets OU for the BCS title and gets a beatdown, then don’t come crying to me.

LSU FAN

October 4th, 2010
11:18 am

You Hillbilly UT fans need to give it a rest. The rule is you can’t have 13 men on the field. So STFU.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:19 am

Regardless, to win a title this year, it goes through Tuscaloosa. Alabama has to be careful, becuase most of their opponents are ranked low or not tanked at all, so they have nothing to lose and Alabama does.

BAMA dude

October 4th, 2010
11:19 am

Always a Jacket, I might see the Pac 10 being better top to bottom this year, but the Big 10? Come on. There is one good team and then absolutely nobody. And as an aside, Big East/ACC shouldn’t even get automatic BCS bids this year. Since the runner up of any of the other four would easily win those two conferences, BCS bids should go to the other four BCS conference champions and runners up plus TCU and Boise. Seriously- Stanford, Oklahoma, Florida, all deserve BCS bids before any ACC or Big East team. Don’t know who’s second in the Big Ten; that one may be debatable to beat Miami which speaks to the relative weakness of that group.

SadDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:20 am

“News flash: Florida is awful this year. Beating them isn’t that impressive.”
*************************
What a nitwit. An utter nitwit. 4-1 with big wins vs. UT and UK, a road loss to #1 Alabama (who incidently has a 19 game winning streak), and UF is awful?

Who is your team, Jimmy Nitwit?

gdawginkalamazoo

October 4th, 2010
11:20 am

The “A $ $ in the Hat” Miles got lucky AGAIN. “Just another day in the SEC…” I don’t think so Les.

UT may be “undermanned” at least from what I read above but they are playing with a ton of heart and determination. I think Derek Dooley comes home relaxes, visits his dad’s garden, and goes home with the W. It won’t be pretty either.

How funny would it have been to hear Larry Munson call the end of that UT-LSU game?

SadDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:22 am

reebok, the more valid question would be, who in the hell would bet on UGA at this point?

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:22 am

reebok

UGA is the favorite, because as bad as UGA is, UT is worse. The Vols had to really reach to get Dooley, and will struggle for several years before getting on their feet. If the Vols beat UGA and the Vols gave LSU a scare in Death Valley, then try and tell me that the SEC does not suck this year.

Regardless of what anyone says about Les Miles, he finds a way to win, just like Harbaugh at Stanford. Bo’s boys get it done.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:23 am

Saddawg…good point.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:25 am

Congratulations to Alabama.
We got our fannies handed to us in T-town.
The Gator Nation was uplifted by our teams’ performance against KY and hoped that team would show up Staurday night, but, alas, the Keystone Kops of the first three contests were the squad that took the field just before kickoff!
Tony may be right about our opportunity to play the Tide again in December, but after this weekend, beating USCe & UGA has become a more daunting proposition.
Again, congrats to Saban & Co.
A well-oiled machine with lots of talent.
Watch out when Aubie comes to visit.
I went to their game Saturday and they are a much improved team.

As always,

GO GATORS!

SadDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:25 am

What Mark Richt said last week: “….it could get worse.”

What Mark Richt didn’t say last week: ” Thank the Lord we don’t have to play Alabama.”

ARdawg

October 4th, 2010
11:25 am

Why not a blog on Richt’s story on the opening UGA page? So I will leave my remarks here. Coach Richt don’t fool yourself about the “low percentage” of the fans that are negative and vocal. There are a great many of us silent and negative yet, still supporting the team and that’s right, the boys of the team. The coaches, yourself included have lost every bit of confidence of much of the fan base. It’s time YOU get your act together and give us something to support a bit better than you have so far. You and your coaches look Bad Mr. Richt, it’s time to take your head our of your rectum and get a feel of the fan base you seem to enjoy speaking for. You my friend are WRONG. We’re silent yeah and we’re watching, waiting and HOPING you’ll start doing YOUR job.

Tony’s a Homer and has Florida returning to the SECCG? 50/50 at best

MURPHY

October 4th, 2010
11:25 am

Vol4life,

Im calling Vegas right now and taking UT plus 10.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:26 am

The only person CMR can fire now is himself, and that is not going to happen. UGA is afraid of the lack of coaching candidates out there, thus they will stick with CMR. UGA has to get rid of CMR to get rid of Bobo, because Dooley and Bobo have a large connection.

House needs to be cleaned.

ATLBuckeye

October 4th, 2010
11:26 am

Tony-

I guess you did not see Ohio State manhandle the same OREGON team last January ? Oregon returned everybody but 2 players this year and according to the media “experts” this is a better Ohio State defense and Terelle Pryor is playing at an even higher level. Offense woos the media and sells tickets defense wins games…it will always be that way. If you had bothered to research the Illinois game (who had 2 weeks to prepare for OSU) the wind conditions in Bloomington made it almost impossible to PASS the ball combine that with #2’s injury and the offense suffered. We beat Oregon on the line of scrimmage and would do it again cause that is where football games are won…it does not hurt to have a “freak” at QB either. Do your homework Mr SEC…

GeneralNeyland96

October 4th, 2010
11:26 am

LSU FAN

October 4th, 2010
11:18 am
You Hillbilly UT fans need to give it a rest. The rule is you can’t have 13 men on the field. So STFU.

Wow, really? that’s not legal? Good, now that that’s settled, what about the LSU lineman that threw his headgear in the middle of the play?

I’ll give you your untimed down, if you’ll take it from the 15.5.

Fair enough?

bamafan

October 4th, 2010
11:27 am

I don’t know how strong Bama is but claiming that our schedule is weak is interesting. Counting South Carolina, Bama will play 3 ranked opponents 3 weeks running (and 2 of the 3 were in the Top Ten at the time). Add in Penn State, then 4 of the 6 opponents were in the Top 20. Add in LSU and Auburn and it is likely that Bama will face 6 ranked opponents – with 3 of them likely in the Top Ten.
The fact that Ole Miss and Tennessee are weak this year is not something Bama controls.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:28 am

Hey Alabama people, not school, just Alabama people

Did any of you hear about this?

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, state lawmakers and others arrested in federal probe of state gambling legislation

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2010/10/arrests_underway_in_federal_pr.html

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:28 am

UGA is only 2 losses away from struggling for .500, which will most likely happen. UGA will lose to the Gators for sure, then they will lose to either Auburn and/UT, so there are no blow games scheduled for this year.

You need to find the person responsible for giving CMR a long-term agreement.

ARdawg

October 4th, 2010
11:29 am

Florida still has a pesky Carolina, a revengeful Arkansas and a Georgia team with absolutely nothing to lose. Florida’s chances do not look as good as Carolina in my mind and Florida is very susceptible to a string of losses. The Tebow chink in the armour is gone. They’re gashed and exposed

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:30 am

PSU, LSU and Auburn may have had and have decent rankings, but these schools are weak this year and beatable. Throw in some out of conference play with OU, Texas, Oregon or Boise, then that sort of schedule will provide some teeth.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:34 am

“Throw in some out of conference play with OU, Texas, Oregon or Boise, then that sort of schedule will provide some teeth.”

None of those above teams would schedule games against LSU, Auburn etc….

Auburn and Arkansas are the only SEC teams to have scheduled games with USC. I’d LOVE to see Bama and LSU schedule games against Oregon or Boise in a regular season.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:35 am

Florida is dangerous because they can play loose this year, and loose talent is dangerous. Meyer is going to take this opportunity to look at players, and there he is deep on the bench. This is the reason that I think Florida will beat UGA worse than last year, and could actually set the record.

The Dogs made a major mistake dancing in the Endzone, and they will pay for many, many years.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:35 am

AR;
Check your schedule again.
UF does not play Arkansas this year.

:o )

KR

October 4th, 2010
11:35 am

My only comment about the LSU-UT game is that I believe the officials only got it partially right. However, there is no recourse at this point so it’s best to move on.

I agree that Alabama appears to in a class by themselves. As someone who has watched football for a long time, it was quite apparent to me that the Tide had “eased off the gas” in the second half of the Florida game. So I don’t read a whole lot into that particular performance.

As to Auburn having a shot at Alabama – yes, they do. However, it’s no different this year than any other year. Check out history to see how many times an underdog has won the Iron Bowl.

I told my wife yesterday that I thought we (AU – I’m a graduate) were the worst looking #8 team I’d ever seen. Her reply was that maybe the rest of the teams just aren’t that good either. Our team shows promise. We’re getting better every week and the mistakes are getting fewer. But I believe we have a long way to go. I thought our second stringers looked pretty good in mop up duty against ULM, but then again it was ULM.

One thing I really don’t like is the schedule of 11 games in a row before taking the bye week. We might be pretty worn down by then and 2 weeks may not be enough to be fully prepared to play ‘Bama.

However, right now my only concern is Kentucky. In case some of my fellow AU fans forgot, we didn’t do so well against them last year and this year they appear to be a little better.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

October 4th, 2010
11:36 am

Auburn, you played USC and got your helmets handed to you. UT went to Cal and UCLA and got waxed, so just schedule them and play ball.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:38 am

Mike Bobo 17 INT

Only one year. In 2002 we lost by 6 points. Hardly getting “our helmets handed to us.”

TexasDAWG

October 4th, 2010
11:38 am

Tony, I have been telling anybody that will listen (in Texas) the exact same thing about Bama. I watched the ESPN show his summer on them and then watched the Penn State game, and it was clear they are in a class all by themselves. They could have easily put more points on both PSU and Fla. the other night. Maybe Saban does has a soft side. How did they get so good so fast? One of Shula’s last recruiting classes was only 9 players, and in 3.5 short years, Saban has turned them into a monster. Coaching, Coaching, Coaching. On the ESPN show it was clear that every coach expects nothing less than 110%, there is no coddling and no sympathy from the coaches. In one very telling moment, Saban tells them all to stop complaining about the heat, both verbally and in body language, and then makes them run sprints. At UGA, our coach takes them swimming.

Regarding my beloved Bulldogs, if Carlton Thomas is the best running back we have to start a game, them we are in serious trouble (we saw this last year in the LSU game when it took Richard Samuels about 5 minutes to try a sweep). He should be playing D-III ball. Tony, CMR keeps talking about the effort being there but maybe the talent is not. The last two weeks our players have looked smaller and slower than the other team. How did this happen? Are our coaches that bad at recognize talent in evaluating players? I love CMR and would trust him with my own children on a mission in South America, but I am not so sure I trust him to run this program anymore. There seems to be a huge talent gap with other teams. Maybe these guys were great HS players, but they have not developed into big, fast college players, and that must have something to do with CMR’s system.

Speaking of system’s, our offensive system is played out. First, let me say I am not one of those people that jump on every bandwagon, and have resisted all the calls for the spread at UGA, but we need some new wrinkle in our O. I don’t know how it works or why, but just about everyone is running the pistol, and have great success with it. Why is CMR so locked in and dedicated to his play action, I formation? Everyone we play, all the fans, and my 8 year old son know what plays we are going to run when we line up. I was watching OU v. Texas and OU ran multiply formations from the pistol to the I and we all saw the result. CMR has to try new things.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:39 am

While their offense looks able to challenge most, if not all, SEC oppostion, Auburn’s defense is still their Achilles Heel.

ARdawg

October 4th, 2010
11:39 am

@17INT

Jeezsus….dancing in the end zone 2 years ago is all you got? That meant dic then and it means dic now. UGA will have absolutely nothing to lose and FL still in the east hunt. UGA is capable, if they will actually play FL is another concern but, the onus is on FL.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:40 am

KR

I don’t think we are the worst top ten team in the country. Boise isn’t looking so great because VT went and lost to James Madison the very next week. Oklahoma has had three scares so far this year. TCU has yet to play anyone.

Yes, Bama is very beatable. There have been plenty of great Bama teams that have lost in the Iron Bowl. Just ask Bear Bryant and Bill Curry.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:40 am

TXDawg:

Are you trying to say Richt’s one-a-days are haunting him now?

Dostoyevskiy

October 4th, 2010
11:40 am

Bama Dude, the 2d best team in the SEC, LSU, was held to a stand-off by a one-armed UNC team. Yea, the ACC doesn’t deserve an automatic bid. Miami would beat everyone in the SEC excepting Bama, and that game would be close. FSU would probably do the same.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:41 am

“Auburn’s defense is still their Achilles Heel.”

We’re 5-0. The defense has gotten better every week. Someone mentioned that Miami beat Clemson but failed to mention that their QB was playing with a back brace………

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:42 am

“Miami would beat everyone in the SEC”

No. No they would not.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:43 am

“the 2d best team in the SEC, LSU”

It astounds me that people write how good LSU is yet LSU has squeaked by more games than Auburn has.

Coach O

October 4th, 2010
11:43 am

@Dostoyevskiy

Arkansas is the second best team in the SEC.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:44 am

G8R GRAD

The Gator fans/alum that I’ve talked have told me that they are missing Cam Newton very very much now.

Guess Brantley wasn’t the second coming of Tebow after all.

Auburn guy, straight up yo

October 4th, 2010
11:46 am

“Arkansas is the second best team in the SEC.”

There are 6 more games left in the regular season. Let’s all just take a deep breath and see what happens.

Hell, 4 weeks ago, UGA was already talking about the SEC championship.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:47 am

Easy, AU Guy:

My point was that your defense isn’t on the same plane as your offense.
The Tigers will need to explode out of the gate and run up the score to help your defense.

BAMA dude

October 4th, 2010
11:48 am

Dostoyevskiy

LSU is not the second best SEC team. That will be obvious this weekend when the Gators get well against them. As far as Miami goes, Florida’s secondary would pick Harris off nine times.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:49 am

“Arkansas is the second best team in the SEC.”

I guess we’ll find out Oct. 16th on the Plains!

SadDawg

October 4th, 2010
11:49 am

Right TexasDAWG, CMR does need to try new things, including some version of the spread. Murray is pretty much twice as productive from the gun than the I.

The fact that Bobo keeps going back to the I tells me Richt’s first “new thing” to try is demote Bobo back to FQB coach. He needs to be teaching footwork, drops, and reading defenses to Murry, not designing nor calling plays for him.

BAMA dude

October 4th, 2010
11:51 am

TexasDAWG,

Nail on the head my friend. Saban runs a first class operation committed to daily improvement. Bama’s s&c program is second to none and Saban’s defensive schemes put players in position to succeed. That would be why we lead the nation in INTs despite replacing 5 of our top 6 DBs. These kids come to Bama to get coached up.

Tide Rising

October 4th, 2010
11:53 am

LSU-UT game was wild and wacky. Great game but only one poster on here got it right. UT played with a lot of heart and determination but LSU largely dominated that game. It shouldn’t have come down to that last play to begin with. Generaly Neyland 96, sorry but I got to agree with Tony on the LSU player pulling his helmet off. He thought the game was over- there’s no way the SEC is going to let something purely emotional like that decide a game.

Anyone think jumbeaux tiger wasn’t pulling his hair out at the game?

Bama-LSU very impressed with our D line which played the best game of the year so far. Our defense overall was excellent. What was all that talk about 9 new starters? The thing is we saw this several times in 08, last year, and in the bcs game where we build a huge lead and just kinda go to sleep. Can’t do that. Got to play 60 minutes. Fla. just needs to get away from Brantley running the option. It just aint gonna work. Either burton needs to be the option qb or Fla needs to go more to a traditional type offense to play to Brantley’s strengths as a pocket passer.

Oregon- Fine offensive team but I’ve seen this more than I can remember. They did this last year- running up gaudy offensive numbers and then getting crunched when they play a real defense- a physical defense like Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. They look mighty impressive now but they don’t have the horses on either side of the line of scrimmage to take on an Ohio state or Alabama.

G8R GRAD

October 4th, 2010
11:56 am

AU Guy:

Regarding Cam Newton, yes, he’s a stud and, yes, he would bring different offensive weaponry to UF’s offense (more like that of the last four years), but we had no choice in his dismissal.
He made a mistake.
Kids do that.
That he landed on his feet and is thriving in Auburn is a second chance for him.
I hope he’s learned his lesson.
Good luck to y’all in the next four weeks.
Going into Tucaloosa undefeated would set up a HUGE game!
And like UF, hope and pray your QB doesn’t get hurt.

Weagle, weagle . .

REDHOG

October 4th, 2010
11:59 am

Yea Auburn Guy…You were 5-0 last year too…when your team came to Fayetteville for their beat down. Willie has Gus figured out…even 2 years ago when the Arkansas defense WAS terrible.