28
Sep
08

Thoughts on No. 2

In the latest AP poll, Alabama is ranked No. 2, with 21 first-place votes and only 34 votes out of first (which is close, natch). This, this feels strange. But, not unexpected, at least on the quality of how Alabama’s played.

John submits, for your consideration, Bama’s games against Arkansas and Colorado last year. In both, the Tide put up a big lead, which it tried to hold on to in the second half. If a team is good enough, it will come back on you. Hence, Georgia outscoring Bama 30-10 in the second half. Clemson and Arkansas are not good teams, so big comebacks didn’t happen.

There are problems with this team. The Tide’s pass defense basically laid down for Matthew Stafford in the second half. Bama has intensity issues, to say the least. Up 31-0, Bama looked like it just planned to coast through the rest of the game. That is not so good.

But, here we are, from No. 24 to No. 2 in five easy weeks. What is remarkable about this team, though, is in many places. Quarterback John Parker Wilson appears to have solved his confidence problems and isn’t making mistakes. He’s also hitting his receivers well, like freshman Julio Jones. Jones was hyped to the skies before he got to Tuscaloosa, and he’s proven the hype true. The defensive line, led by Terrance Cody, is simply nasty. The Bama run-D has shut down Clemson’s vaunted backfield and made Knowshon Moreno a non-factor. You’re not going to run against the Tide this year, so figure out something else.

On the other hand, Bama will run on you. Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram are taking advantage of the Tide’s veteran offensive line and making defenses pay. Even against Georgia, which had the best run defense in the conference, Bama still put up 129 yards rushing to compliment 205 yards passing. Georgia, on the other hand, with its Heisman-hyped back, only managed 50 yards on the ground.

Bama hasn’t trailed all year. Not for one second. In five games.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Bama gets Kentucky this week, an off week, then giant-killers Ole Miss and an angry, though offensively-inept, Tennessee team in Knoxville. If Vierdsen’s right, Bama hasn’t beaten the Vols in Knoxville since 2002.

The pundits are already looking ahead to the Tide’s trip to Baton Rouge against LSU, a game which Pat Forde of ESPN said, “expect Alabama to be 9-0 when it heads to Baton Rouge in November for a game that now has Armageddon stamped all over it.”

Alabama at its highest point in 15 years [The Press-Register]

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