If you dial over to Finebaum’s radio show, as I’m wont to do on occasion (it’s tough to find better sports comedy out there, to tell the truth), you’ll find that this is a fairly common sentiment expressed by the Tide Nation:
I’m beginning to get a sense of déjà vu. I’m having memories of the early Nineties, a period in SEC football history when the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators met annually in the championship game. Both programs dominated their respective divisions, and the only question at the beginning of each season was which team would win the “big” game at the end. Now it seems that history is about to repeat itself; the Tide and the Gators are currently loaded with superior talent and speed. They are also led by two of the best coaches in the nation. I have no doubt that these two SEC “superpowers” will meet in Atlanta for the next three or four years in a row.
Actually, I may be selling this dude’s fellow travelers a bit short. Most of them are equally convinced that after Tebow graduates, things will revert to an even earlier era, when ‘Bama under Bryant ruled almost unchallenged.
The fun part of the post is where he dismisses the rest of the conference contenders the way that most of us dismiss the mid-majors from BCS title game discussions. Here’s what he has to say about Georgia:
… I also mentioned the Georgia Bulldogs earlier in this article. Honestly, I believe that Mark Richt is a great recruiter and a very good coach at game time. He also has a huge talent-base surrounding him. But, something is missing in Athens, and it’s called a “killer instinct”. In order to compete with relentless competitors like Meyer and Saban, Richt must push himself to the brink. By the way, he hasn’t changed anything yet. Actually if Mark doesn’t figure out how to stop others from raiding his home turf for great players, he will no longer have the problem, because he won’t be the coach.
I could quibble over that “killer instinct” remark – after all, Richt and Saban have battled each other to fairly even terms, and whatever a killer instinct is, it must have nothing to do with winning the SECCG or the Sugar Bowl, since ‘Bama didn’t pull either off last year – but I’m always curious when I see people challenge Richt to stop in state talent from crossing over the border. Given the math, how exactly does one propose he do that?
And it’s not exactly as if Georgia’s recruiting is suffering from it (whatever “it” is) either.
UPDATE: On the flip side, Gary Danielson tells Tony Barnhart a few different things about Georgia and Alabama.
“I think Georgia is going to be the surprise of the conference. I think their quarterback play will be good enough and Mark Richt will go back to doing some of the things he likes to do-solid quarterback play, running back by committee, a defense that runs to the ball. I don’t think they can play worse defense so it is given they’ll be better on defense. They got humbled last year but that’s the way it happens sometimes. But you have to understand that they have a tough schedule so they may not win as many games. They lost the No. 1 pick in the draft (quarterback Matthew Stafford) and one of the best running backs (Knowshon Moreno) that they’ve had in a long time. But they will have a quarterback (Joe Cox) who gets the job done. He’s not a star but he’s like David Greene was when they won the championship (in 2002). They will be a much tougher out this year because of those five offensive linemen (who return).”
Can Alabama repeat in the SEC West? “I thought they were ahead of schedule last season. I know Nick (Saban) thought that. Nick is really good at identifying what his teams need to do and then taking advantage of what they have. Last year he saw what he had and made the most of it. Some things broke well for them last year. It was a down year for quarterback play in the SEC which led him to have the advantage of defense. There just weren’t a lot of people in the league who were able to take advantage of his defense. So he just dominated games with strategy and strength. They controlled the offensive line of scrimmage with two great tight ends and tackles. It was like having four tackles out there. This season things won’t be as comfortable because they lost three starters on the offensive line. But defense gives them a chance every time they play.”