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

David

October 4th, 2010
7:18 am

Jimmy Pritchard

October 4th, 2010
7:21 am

So the mediots have picked their Team Of The Century Of The Week, the Greatest Team Ever To Suit Up–again. Hey, Tony, USC from 2005 called; they want their hype back.

News flash: Florida is awful this year. Beating them isn’t that impressive.

[...] There’s Alabama, and then there’s everybody else, writes Tony Barnhart for the AJC. [...]

Ray Goff

October 4th, 2010
7:32 am

I look forward to reading tomorrow’s column. My days are looking better and better.

Les Miles

October 4th, 2010
7:36 am

Leave me alone. I know what I’m doing. Stop calling me Lester Gump.

Barnhardt

October 4th, 2010
7:40 am

No UGA arrests over the weekend. Way to go boys.

Scott

October 4th, 2010
7:40 am

To answer your question Tony, NO ONE can handle Bama and they will go undefeated for the third regular season in a row and win back to back National Championships. One thing that I do take umbridge with is all this hype about Oregon. They are a really good team but Bama would destroy them, Ohio State would be a more compelling matchup than some overhyped Pac-10 team that cant play D against a team of Alabamas caliber!

UGA VII

October 4th, 2010
7:41 am

I passed away last year to avoid all of this.

Hear in the afterworld we win every game and fire hydrants are everywhere.

Sorry dwag fans but it is only the beginning. Beatdown after beatdown.

I had to go home. I couldn`t stand it any longer.

SimpleDawg

October 4th, 2010
7:45 am

The Dawgs are a disaster…..there’s plenty to write and to talk about.

Alabama is on the way to 12 – 0.

You Ain't-Know Gaily Whacker

October 4th, 2010
7:45 am

The Reporter: Mr McGarity, will you get a few coaches like they have at Alabama ?

Greg: Something like that, this is my model.

http://videosift.com/video/George-C-Scott-as-General-Patton-Opening-Speech

Someone who will develop teamwork and a work ethic.

TallPaul

October 4th, 2010
7:49 am

Tony,
I have to disagree with you about Hebert yanking his helmet and tossing it. The rule states that a player can’t take his helmet off on the field. LSU’s QB was down covering the ball and players were still running to it. My belief is that it should have been off setting penalties. Game over because the ball would not have been moved to the 6 inch line. Either enforce all the rules fairly or take them off the books. I don’t think that the helmet rule states that it should only be enforced as long as it dosen’t decide a game outcome.

UGA will win b/c they have to

October 4th, 2010
7:51 am

Still waiting. It has to come true some day.

40Capt

October 4th, 2010
7:52 am

Tony please respond, because you are wrong about officials in TN/LSU game. The umpire was very late getting over center, for some inexplicable reason he is looking back over his left shoulder when substitutions started which caused him to be late to get over center, also he stood there for a very brief period of time. At the far end of field, umpire has to hold longer than normal to allow defense to respond to offensive subs. That guy was clueless, and had been all game. Multiple times Dooley was shown complaining to the wing official on his side that ump wasn’t doing his job. Please ask Mr. Redding about that

Humiliated dawg

October 4th, 2010
7:53 am

red faced…………………..

Please....

October 4th, 2010
7:54 am

Mister Leslie at LSU is the luckiest SOB south of the Mason Dixon line.
Tony, you’re really not that good at making predictions. Check your record. I could be way off base here, but I think SC could be the first to take down UAT this weekend. Then Auburn could do it in Tuscalooza.
Poor Uga. I think he should look for a different team to mascot. You know that poor dog is embarassed.
Look for Auburn to take some revenge on some folks in the coming weeks.
War Cam Eagle!!

Palm City Dawg

October 4th, 2010
7:59 am

I will forever be a Dawg fan. It’s in my blood. 3rd generation, but this is too painful to take. I guess we could clean house and bring in another staff, or just wait it out and see if Richt and Grantham will turn this around and get the right personnel in place to stop the pain. I just can’t watch that defense get clobbered any longer and an offensive line that can’t play every down.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
7:59 am

Bama isn’t on its way to 12-0……yet.

As impressed as I am with this team, they haven’t played sixty solid minutes in any game. UF controlled the game in the second half, but self-inflicted wounds kept them from mounting a come-back.

But…it looks as if the defense may be comng of age. The DLs, and LBs played great Saturday night. The Secondary is still a bit shaky at times, but is starting to gel.

Get a chance to see how this WIP is coming along this Saturday in Columbia.

Dawgbreath

October 4th, 2010
8:00 am

Still think USC can win the east. Bama will be their last loss. Tony says he can’t see Florida losing with the east title on the line. Can’t see Spurrier losing either when it’s on the line. This of course assumes Garcia stops turning it over.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:02 am

3rd,

I agree that we haven’t played a full game yet but, there was never a credible threat in the second half. BAMA’s coaches reigned in the offense, and the players lost interest and focus.

I am concerned about the number of explosive plays the defense gives up.

he is noy lying

October 4th, 2010
8:05 am

A.J. Green state that he had never been 1-4 before. At 0-1, I believe him.

Smart like a Fox

October 4th, 2010
8:09 am

Tony,
where have you been? oh yeah, Your one of those SEC suck ups. The SEC has been 1 or 2 teams for sometime now. Its Bama baby and thats it. UGA is reaping what it has sewn as well as TN and Fla. When you bring Thug Athletes to school and pass on hard working student athletes then this is what you get. But it was all about winning. Look if you couldn’t trust them standing behind you at the ATM, what makes you think you can trust them when you turn them loose on campus? Some schools still do it right(see Stanford) but the SEC don’t care to even try.

Beast from the East

October 4th, 2010
8:12 am

Bama certainly looks like the cream of the crop. UF did not help themselves with the -4 turnover margin. You won’t beat very many teams like that, much less the #1 team in the country on the raod. Hats off to Bama. Hope we can get a rematch in Atlanta.
Miles continues to amaze me. He wins despite himself. The Hat comes to the Swamp this weekend. What “rabbit” will he pull out of that Hat this time?
UT should quit complaining. When you have 2 extra players on the field, it’s a penalty plain and simple. They played a great game, but blew it on the past play. That UT team will continue to improve and be a handful next year with all the young players getting playing time this season.
I agree that Oregon looks more impressive than OSU. It will be a shame if they run the table and get stuck playing Boise State in the “who cares Rose Bowl” while Bama dismantles the Buckeyes.

Jim

October 4th, 2010
8:13 am

Dear McGarrity, please keep Mark Richt. The rest of the SEC enjoys watching someone who has completely checked out try and coach a football team….it’s fun watching someone with such a distinct allergy to discipline try and explain why #25 can get 3 personal foul flags in one game and NEVER BE TAKEN OUT….and here’s a question..when AJ Green committed to UGA as a junior in high school, did “Coach” Richt just stop recruiting? Because AJ is the only guy on the team who even resembles a playmaker. Weird.

Douglas

October 4th, 2010
8:13 am

Palm City: I’m not sure about the defense: even when Van Gorder first came to UGA, he said he could not play certain schemes on defense because they did not have the right personnel. Maybe our new DC needs more time to get the right personnel. But our offense is terrible and I used to believe in CMR but he no longer looks like a strong leader to me. He seemed to be more invested in this program and more intense when he was the HC and OC.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:15 am

Before anyone suggest that Florida shut BAMA down in the second half:

“The second half, we probably didn’t play offense like we wanted to,” Saban said. “We ended up on the field quite a bit defensively. Maybe we shut it down a little too early in the game.

Hobnailbooty

October 4th, 2010
8:15 am

The last time UGA was 1-4 was 1953. I am so disappointed in our team. What a mess and I don’t see more than 3 more wins w/o a attitude adjustment. Scary

LLoyd Christmas

October 4th, 2010
8:19 am

Where are all of the FLEABAG dipwads guaranteeing a win over Colorado and a Tech loss. HUH? I didn’t think so!

5150 P.O.A.D

October 4th, 2010
8:21 am

I bet Barbara Dooley was ready to kill the coach that called for the players on D to change. I would also bet Barbara just lost 5 years of her life with the huge change of emotions in just 30 seconds. That was about to be the Biggest win for her SON ever and it was screwedup buy a call to swap the D.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:21 am

At Tony’s request, let’s save the UGA stuff for tomorrow. We can focus on the positive today.

atlvol55

October 4th, 2010
8:23 am

Tony,

I agree with you most of the time. However, you make a couple of points about the LSU game I don’t agree with. You state that it shouldn’t be a penalty for throwing the helmet because it didn’t impact the game. HOWEVER, you could make the same argument that 13 players had nothing to do with the play. It wasn’t like Jefferson ran a qb sneak and got stopped. They hiked it 15 yards over his head. TN could have had 5 players on defense and it wouldn’t matter. If your going to call one, you should call the other.

Also, lets not forget the VERY questionable pass interference call which got LSU to the 2 yard line…that ball was about 5 yards over his head out of the end zone…

Also, if you look at the film, I’m not so sure the couple of LSU players were completely off the field when the play was snapped….It was a devastating loss, no doubt; but LSU was moving, had guys running on and off; it was pretty lucky for them to escape there…the refs deserve some blame for the total chaos

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:24 am

51ML

I’m not sure Bama shut down in the second half. From my perch on the couch, it looked like three things happened: Florida’s punter kept Bama backed up most of the second half, the offense couldn’t get into any rhythm, and filed position dictated conservative play calling.

But give Florida credit. Their defense could have packed it in, but came out and played an outstanding second half.

I look for Florida to be in Atlanta come December. AU looks to be the biggest hurdle for Bama

14TH--ON THE WAY

October 4th, 2010
8:25 am

The dumbest coach in the country got bailed out by the second dumbest coach in the country.

(I’ll admit, I stole that from somebody on the radio today.)

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:28 am

Beast

I agree on Oregon. That team has more speed on offense than anyone in the country. The question I have is the speed of their defensive line. If they win out, I do hope the get in the NC game.

RxDawg

October 4th, 2010
8:29 am

That’s twice now I saw the begining of an Oregon game and the ducks were losing, pretty badly mind you. Then I swap over to something else for an hour or two. When I get back to the Oregon game, they have come back and lapped the other team. That offense must be something else. I’d like to see it against that Bama defense at the end of the year.

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:31 am

3rd,

Saban said the coaches shut it down. McElroy said the offensive players completely lost interest in the game.

The jury is still out on AU. They started last year 5-0. There are several reasons why the Iron Bowl will not decide the SECW title:

1. Due to its inconsistent offensive, Aub will lose a game
2. Due to its mediocre defense, Aub will lose a game
3. After playing 11 games in a row before a bye week, Aub will lose a game due to injuries

They are a great story right now.

Dave

October 4th, 2010
8:32 am

I agree. UGA is heading for a 2-3 win season. Next week against TN, we are gonna get hammered. TN has less talent than UGA, but they play harder. I am in college football hell…..

Herschel Talker

October 4th, 2010
8:32 am

TB:

YOU ARE IGNORING THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. YOU SAID THAT MARK RICHT WILL BE THE COACH AT UGA NEXT YEAR BECAUSE YOU’RE ANOTHER MAINSTREAM MEDIA HACK. CARE TO REVISE??? RICHT WILL SURELY BE FIRED.

HT

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:32 am

If Bama had concerns about the Florida defense in the second half, then they wouldn’t have played their 2nd string QB and 3rd string RB. A lot of kids on the Crimson Tide squad got to play in this game — on both sides of the ball.

40Capt

October 4th, 2010
8:33 am

Here’s the rule folks- pretty straight forward, umpire should have held longer, no question about it. Sorry Tony, they did not get it right. Watch the tape again and watch the umpire.

While in the process of substitution or simulated substitution, Team A is
prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage with the obvious
attempt of creating a defensive disadvantage. If the ball is ready for play, the game officials will not permit the ball to be snapped until Team B has placed substitutes in position and replaced players have left the field of play. Team B must react promptly with its substitutes.

CORNFED

October 4th, 2010
8:35 am

Watch out for NEB. They have a great D and a solid QB. Im not saying they would beat Bama right now, but they are very, very close.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:35 am

51ML

hard to argue any of your points. I think AU has substantially more depth than last year, and that should help them keep out of a five game slide like 2009.

They have a great athlete who is learning to play QB. He will need to be a real QB when they get to Tuscaloosa.

Your point about the defense is the one that would concern me the most if I were an AU fan. Outside of Josh Bynes, that is a medocre “D”.

UA Alum92

October 4th, 2010
8:36 am

I was fortunate enough to be at the Florida-Bama game on Saturday and was impressed by the Tide’s dominance but they are far from perfect, particularly on defense, but they have been able to make the big stops / turnovers when needed. This weekend’s game in Columbia will be telling about how far we’ve come. Giving Darth Visor an extra week to prepare always makes me nervous.

Back to your comment, Tony, I was wondering what were the longer odds at this point: Bama going 12-0 or Georgia having a winning regular season?

Chris

October 4th, 2010
8:37 am

If Florida continues to play like they are playing, your SEC championship game will be played this weekend…

5IML

October 4th, 2010
8:37 am

3rd & Palladin,

What’s up with McElroy’s deathwish? Why is he taking unnecessary hits? He’s a lot smarter than that (or should be).

atlvol55

October 4th, 2010
8:37 am

Also, Tony could you clarify the rule on illegal substitution? LSU had a semi huddle and seemed to break with more than 11…it seemed as if illegal substitution could have also been called on the play

Detail Man

October 4th, 2010
8:41 am

Hey Tony,
The final score for LSU vs Tennessee was 16-14.
not 17-14.

3rdn8

October 4th, 2010
8:41 am

my take on McElroy

He is borderline arrogant. He has a reason to be, since he is usually the smartest guy in the room. I think he has taken an “in your face” attitude toward defensive linemen, LBs, and DBs.

I’m afraid that on of them is going to hand him his face back, pretty soon.

Palladin

October 4th, 2010
8:42 am

@5IML

Are you referring to his attempt at that sideline fake when he tried to spin back inside, rather than stepping out of bounds after getting a first down? He’s a player — what can you say? Greg gets accused of being a “game manager”, but he can make a play when he has to. You can’t hardly fault him for enjoying it. Football is supposed to be fun.

NoGaGator

October 4th, 2010
8:44 am

Bama won this one decisively playing Green Bay Packer smash-mouth football. They don’t run many different plays but their execution is excellent. UF has to grow up fast to make it a game in the rematch. Coach Meyer needs to have someone other than Addazio to do the playcalling.

It’s a long season and UF still has time to get it right. Sorry to see UGA going down the tubes. Hope Richt survives.

GO GATORS.

TommyJack

October 4th, 2010
8:44 am

atlvol55: I’m afraid Tony only wants to look at this thing one way.