The season is simultaneously half-way over and just beginning. Each week we think we know how the chips will fall…then a team like Utah kicks the shit out of Stanford, an Oklahoma defense allows 48 to a putrid Texas offense and LSU loses to a Florida team that resembled roadkill six weeks ago. Things change during the season as a football season is far from a static thing, and that will be no different this week. Something crazy is bound to happen and all you can do is pray it doesn’t involve your team. That being said, we’ll know more about some top teams after this week, even if that knowledge only lasts a week. Like I said, it’s a dynamic game.
1) Is Alabama’s defense, specifically their secondary a liability?
It’s been somewhat overshadowed due to Tua mania and the Tide kicking the shit out of everybody they’ve played, but statistically the ‘Bama defense has left some to be desired. I know it’s like nit-picking a Michelangelo painting at this point, but I guess you have to keep the team motivated somehow. I will say this, allowing 31 points to Arkansas even if it is with your second teamers is bad optics for a Saban led team.
This week Mizzou comes into town in what will likely be a bloodbath, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two about the Tide that we can store for a meaningful game. Coming into the season the secondary for Alabama was considered their weakness, but that was more because the players were unproven than anything else. Well what do you know, Saban said he “can’t shit out these players” but I’m inclined to disagree with that due to the rise of Safety Deionte Thompson. Turns out getting 5-star players across the board is a good strategy. Thompson, for those unaware is a first year starter likely unknown outside of Alabama super fans. Turns out he’s a likely first round pick. Must be nice. Anyways, even with Thompson’s emergence there are still questions regarding the ‘Bama defense. Fortunately for the Tide they haven’t had issues due to how efficient and dominant their offense has been, but at some point it could catch up to them if it’s not fixed. To beat the Tide you’re going to have to have both a great offense to keep pace and a good defense to force some stops. Not many teams have both of those in the country which is why I still like the Tide to win the championship, but a team like Ohio State might just have enough of both.
Going with that point though, Alabama has had the luxury of not facing a high-powered offense attack yet so the answers regarding their defense are largely unknown. We should get a glimpse of what their weaknesses are this week, if they indeed have any. Mizzou is going to walk into Tuscaloosa with an offense averaging 39 points/game and led by a likely first rounder at QB. Do they have a chance in hell to win this game? Hell no. But, they can throw up some points. And if they do that, guys like Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer’s ears will perk up a little bit and they’ll be able to breathe easier. The juggernaut Alabama has been thus far has scared everybody in the country, and for good reason, but I’ve consistently said two things.
- Let’s wait until they play a good defense before we crown Tua and,
- They’re SUPPOSED to be doing this because the talent gap between them and their opponents is larger than the holes in Urban Meyers story about employing a known woman beater.
They will have way more talent on the field than Missouri but the Tigers offensive system may be able to counter-balance that to an extent. I don’t think Missouri keeps it close, but if they put up more than 30 on the board AT Alabama there should be some rumblings in Tuscaloosa that maybe everything isn’t as fine and dandy as it appears.
2) Can Georgia Score Enough to Beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game?
These two teams appear to be on a collision course for a December game in Atlanta as was expected in the preseason. Last year everyone remembers the all-time classic in the National Championship game where Georgia almost took the SEC big dawg crown away from Nick Satan. Unfortunately for Georgia, that Alabama team looks a LOT different from Tide team of last year and a lot more like the Tide team of the last half of the championship game. If you’ve forgotten, Georgia had absolutely ZERO defense against the demi-gawd that is Tua Tag***. He’s obviously back and lighting up scoreboards whereas the Dawgs don’t have Chubb or Michel back there running the ball.
I’ve a take here that might surprise some people and may offend some others. I have no idea if any Georgia fans read this, but if you fit that demographic you either A) know this or B) are living in fantasy land.
Jake Fromm is a game manager.
He isn’t going to win you games. His job is largely to not fuck up and let the runningbacks ground and pound. Pretty good strategy when you’ve got immensely more talent than your opponent. Pretty bad strategy when you have to score points in bunches. I know this is looking ahead and forecasting a little bit, but as of now I don’t see any way the Bulldogs can score enough to keep up with the Tide. They scored 23 points in the championship last year with a first and second round pick running the ball. Alabama very well might put up 23 points in the FIRST HALF when they play Georgia. I don’t see Fromm and Co. being able to keep up that pace but they have a chance to prove me wrong this week. They go into Baton Rouge at night (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but that’s a hostile environment. Just ask a Tiger fan about Baton Rouge at night, they’ll make it sound as if it’s Fallujah) and take on Ed O’s LSU team. If Jake Fromm comes in and looks like a polished passer against the monsters in LSU’s secondary, then I have hope that someone might knock ‘Bama off the pedestal. If what I expect happens, and it’s a slow-tempo brutal game of possession where Georgia wins by less than 7….then go ahead and give Saban the SEC title now and let’s forgo the rest of this charade.
3) Is the “New” Michigan the real Michigan?
I wrote yesterday that Michigan is the scariest team in the country. Their offense is humming of late and their defense has been their usual nasty self. A ranked Wisconsin team comes into Ann Arbor looking to simultaneously salvage their playoff hopes and kill Michigan’s. I expect Michigan to win this game but that is because I believe the Michigan of the past 3 weeks is the “real” Michigan that I wrote this about at the beginning of the season. We’ll find out though as this is the first real test Michigan will have had since losing to Notre Dame early in the season. If the Wolverine’s lose this game I will go ahead and say that the greatest trick Jim Harbaugh ever pulled wasn’t sleeping over with a kicker to get his comittment…it was getting us to think he was a good football coach…..
If the Wolverines WIN this game, I will have only one thing to say.
THEY BACK BABAY!
Sure, they’ll still have a game against Penn State to play but if they win this game every eye in the whole state of Michigan will be on Stubhub looking for tickets to the de facto playoff play-in game on 11/24 against the Buckeyes.
4) Has Nebraska Improved at All this year?
I’m not going to go that in-depth on this topic. Nebraska has sucked this year. You know it, I know it, hell even your sister knows it. That’s because everybody knows it. What the hell does a person do in the state of Nebraska if the Huskers aren’t giving them hope. For the past 100 years or so the kind folk of the nations heartland have done two things. Harvested corn and claimed a good football team. You take the latter away from them and what’s left? You can only talk about the new combine harvester Johnny-Joe got for so long, right? Poor guys.
The Huskers play a mediocre Northwestern team this week, and if they can’t whip those geek’s asses then I’m not real sure the people in Nebraska will be able to wake up and go to work on Monday. Pat Fitzgerald, if you’re reading this, let Scott Frost have this one. The nations food supply depends on it.
5) Is Washington Worthy of Being A Playoff Team.
In what I think will be the game of the week the Huskies face off against the #17 Quackers of Oregon. Washington has a sole blemish on their resume that could be overlooked by the playoff committee if they win out, as it was to a tough Auburn team. The rest of their games though haven’t looked great for the Huskies considering they beat a winless UCLA team by only 7 last week. I don’t think anyone really knows what to make of the Huskies this year, or of their decision to have Jake Browning as their QB.
They’ve been stuck quietly waiting in the wings since the loss to Auburn hoping that other teams fall off. Last week Oklahoma and LSU did, so as for now the Huskies must control what they are able to control. This will be their first big game since that loss and a double digit multi-touchdown victory over the Ducks would go a long way in the playoff committees eyes. Will it be enough? That’s hard to say. I don’t think the Huskies control their own destiny at this point, but if they win out I’d say theirs a 50/50 shot they get in at the moment.
That being said, I think Oregon wins.
Prove me wrong Chris Peterson. Learn me.
I’ll be glued to my couch all-day learning and formulating takes for next week, I would recommend you do the same. Happy Halfway point.