The trouble with ‘Bama

So, as I’ve already mentioned, the selection committee served up a whole bunch of “oh, crap” to Nick Saban last night, dropping the Tide seven spots in the rankings after its loss to Auburn.

Here’s the committee’s rationale:

I get that, even if I’m not completely sold on it.  I also suspect that Tua’s season ending injury played into the drop as well.  Still, behind teams like Florida and Wisconsin?  Eh, doubtful either of those two would take ‘Bama.  Not that it matters; the really big deal here is that the selection committee has likely locked Alabama out of a NY6 bowl.  Tell me you saw that coming.

I’m not saying that because I care.  But a weakened Alabama team is playing havoc with everyone (and their computers) who ranks college football teams.  Check out the Massey Composite to get a sense of what I’m talking about.  Alabama is ranked anywhere from third to twenty fifth.  That’s a helluva range.

The consequences of this intrigue me, even if I’m someone not close to ready to buy into the “dynasty is over” talk.  For one thing, consider what it took for ‘Bama to find itself in its current state.

Not sure you can count on something like that replicating itself annually.

On the other hand, in the world of college football, the first thing that has to happen for a powerhouse program to slide is a perception that the program is not quite the same anymore.  It’s a subjective sport and doubt is a powerful tool.  I’m not certain we’re quite there yet, but I’m also not certain we’re not seeing the first cracks in the Saban wall, either.

Next year, especially if Tua takes off, is going to be the most interesting year of Saban’s Alabama tenure, in my humble opinion.  I don’t have a clue from here how it’s gonna play out, but I’ll be watching.

In the meantime, it’s shaping up to be a real winter of discontent for Tahd Nation.

52 Comments

Filed under Alabama, BCS/Playoffs

52 responses to “The trouble with ‘Bama

  1. ApalachDawg

    Yes bama lost some key guys on D but is it me or does anyone else notice the slide in D since Kirby came home?

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  2. Geezus

    I don’t think the tide are going anywhere. They have still recruited better than anyone, they just finally hit the bad luck zone with injuries and turnovers. I think the biggest impact has been their coordinator turnover – I think that has finally started catching up with them. You can’t have first-year O and D coordinators every year for 4 or 5 years and not see some issues at some point (IMO).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bright Idea

    When I’ve watched Bama this year they seemed awful sloppy including poor tackling. Except for Tua and those receivers they didn’t offer much for the eye test.

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  4. Normaltown Mike

    I wish the Tide could meet Florida in a bowl game. Dan being a genius and all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • 79Dawg

      Could the breaks all go Bama’s way so they blow Florida out? Absolutely.
      Could Florida make a game of it? Absolutely.
      The RBR guy says “no way” Alabama’s the 5th best team in the SEC, which might be true, but when you look at how Tennessee was doing until they lost a “break point” at the goal line, its not beyond the pale to think Georgia or Florida couldn’t beat Bama too this year, whereas in year’s past, there may have 1 (maybe 2) teams you could have seen beating them…. Last year, Bama blew the doors off everyone (but us), and would have creamed Florida if they’d played. In ’17, Auburn beat them and we had them on the ropes – no one else was (or would’ve been) close. ’15, ’16, etc., they were head and shoulders above everyone in the conference….
      Will Alabama continue coming back to the pack, and will the top-tier of the pack continue upping their game next year??? Stay tuned, but I think that is definitely what is going on!

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  5. ASEF

    They lost some key juniors to the NFL, and then they lost 4 of their starting front 7 by the end of the season. Freshmen everywhere in a front 7 that demands situational versatility, which means recognition and anticipation.

    Basically the same deal with our passing game. Lost key guys, and then injuries/losses derailed the reload and turned it into a rebuild.

    Bama does feel like it has regressed relative to its competition, but a lot of that is LSU’s offense having a unicorn year. I’m assuming it’s a unicorn year until they show up and do it again next season with a new QB.

    But a 2 or 3 loss season for them next go-around would have a lot of people dancing on Saban’s grave. Something tells me Nick knows it, and it’s not like the man needs any additional motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Down Island Way

      Find success and you will find turn over…..(staff/player) not defending little nicky, it is, what it is, at the top….

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  6. The last time Saban wasn’t in a NY6 type of game Bama annihilated Sparty in Orlando. Of course, that was before players started sitting out of meaningless bowl games (which are all of them outside the 2 semifinal games). I bet the December bowl practices in T-town are going to be brutal as Saban determines who wants to play the Bama way.

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  7. Mayor

    The committee ranking of the Tide is crazy and shines a spotlight on the subjectivity of the system. Basically Bama lost two close games to top quality opponents and the committee has dropped them behind half a dozen teams they would beat. I thought the committee was supposed to rank teams based on who was best. Or does that stop with the top four? Since the Tide doesn’t play again until the owls they can’t recover by pasting some team 100-0. I think there is some Bama fatigue at work here too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG

      I think they are punishing Bama for their OOC scheduling..they deserve it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Milton Dawg

        You could make a good case that Clemson should be punished for their conference (which I realize they have no control over). We’ll see how Virginia holds up this Saturday and what the final rankings look like on Sunday, but there is a high likelihood that if Virginia gets woodshedded on Saturday that there isn’t a ranked team in the ACC not named Clemson. That is one pathetic football conference.

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        • Cojones

          There has been some of that in the SEC as well. We have seen it for the last three years with the ad nauseum “weak East” and “no contenders in the West against ‘Bama”. Those were horseshit excuses that others used to try and equate other conferences to ours. Clemson has to go through this now and unfairly I think.

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      • Otto

        If they did, they are rewarding Ohio State’s equally bad OOC scheduling

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tony Barnfart

      The committee’s ranking of Bama is proof positive they clearly take future “what-if” scenarios into account. It seems clear to me that, with 2 losses and Bama clearly out of the playoff picture, this drop was merely to clear them out of the way to justify any scenarios that might arise this weekend. Probably isn’t right and I know they deny looking ahead, but it seems pretty obvious to me they kinda tailor the rankings to be able to justify future what-if scenarios. Bama needed to drop below any possible contenders that have a game to play and then you couldn’t really keep them ahead of Auburn, could you ?

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      • Cojones

        That statement makes sense to me. Anyone thinking that ‘Bama can’t beat the shit out of every team below the top four,including OK and Utah, is nuts. Even those two would have to put up a tough struggle against ‘Bama just to make the game 50/50. Auburn would have a tough go on the second time around just as they did with us in the SECCG.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tony Barnfart

          8-10 should probably be Fla, AU, Bama…. but then you wonder, are they protecting potential Conference championship game losers (which i think should be done, just maybe not by the CFP committee) for the NY6.

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          • I think it’s now set that we won’t fall below #8 in the final CFP rankings this weekend if we lose. New Orleans will definitely be the postseason destination in that scenario.

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  8. Doug

    The Roll Bama Roll guy does make some valid points; Malzahn’s rabbit’s foot had to work overtime just for his team to squeak past the Tide, and I highly doubt that all 11 teams now ahead of Alabama in the CFP rankings would beat the Tide on a neutral field.

    But there is some 200-proof schadenfreude in watching Tide Nation slowly awaken to the realization that they may not make an NY6 bowl. For years now, some of these guys have convinced themselves that no other program in the country is fit to even breathe their oxygen, and they’ve aimed particular vitriol at Georgia, acting like we’re still light-years behind them even though they’ve had to mount furious second-half comebacks to beat us two years straight. I wouldn’t dare predict that this one setback heralds the end of the Bama dynasty, but for one bowl season, at least, it’s nice to see their entitled-ass fans riding in economy class with everyone else.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Russ

      Yeah, the comments there were pretty tasty. I agree Bama is ranked too low (probably) but they gave up 48 to the same Auburn team that we shut out for 3 quarters (and should have been 4 without the zone coverage). The injuries really hurt them, and coupled with the coordinator turnover, I think it’s too much to overcome.

      But it’s going to be fun watching all the remaining backups that DO play in whatever bowl game lose to some motivated BTeleventeen team.

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  9. Ben

    One thing the Dawgs could do is march into BDS next September and administer a righteous beatdown, like the one in 08 in Athens.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Uglydawg

    Not that I care, but the logic of giving Auburn credit for close losses to Georgia and LSU while denying ‘Bama of credit for it’s close (can’t get any closer than that Iron Bowl loss) loss to Auburn is inconsistent.
    This is probably a purposeful degradation to prevent the SEC from getting two teams in the playoffs in the event of an LSU loss to UGA.
    “Close losses” should get the same consideration as style points…
    It’s a W or an L…unless you’re into manipulating things to deny or appease a certain conference.

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  11. Texas Dawg

    I think this was also a shot across the bow in regards to Bama’s EXTREMELY week OOC schedule. We have ND and a win against a Power 5 OOC (even though Tech is laughable). I think UGA scheduling those quality OOC games in the future is important. It offers an opportunity for loss, but a win in those games gives you a little more room for error later. A win over a Mercer or such offers you NO style/goodwill credit down the line should you stub your toe (as we did at SC). I wonder if we would till be #4 w/o the win over ND but rather a win over Georgia State?

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  12. Muttley

    I’m more focused on the sub-human cost of this weekend. Normally after an Iron Bowl like this you’re looking at some gunshot wounds, a severe but temporary spike in spousal abuse, child abuse, and pet abuse; a few church burnings, chicken stranglings, one or two trucks driven off cliffs like “Thelma and Louise”, and maybe a Piggly Wiggly or Food Tiger or two shot up after business hours.

    This year I think we have a serious sub-humanitarian crisis with whole villages being wiped out and refugees and trucks jamming up I-20 and stuff. I mean, Bammers aren’t like us biologically or intellectually, but they are sentient beings and I feel sorry for ’em.

    Maybe we could all pitch in and do a Golden Flake airlift to help the dispossessed get through the winter.

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  13. 2675miller

    Is it possible that they are trying to set it up so that UGA is not punished out of a New Year’s day bowl in the unlikely event of a loss on Saturday?

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  14. Reverend Whitewall

    I’m not buying into any cracks in the walls yet.

    They still have more #1 recruiting classes stacking their roster than anyone.
    All those freshmen on their D this year are gonna be experienced sophomores next year and probably terrifying juniors the year after that.
    Saban is still the most proven coach in the country (yes some have closed the gap, but he’s still the standard).

    It’s gonna take more than one year to convince me the foundation is shaken at all, especially when you look at all the stuff Bill listed in his tweet. All that stuff happened and they were STILL in position to potentially make the playoffs YET AGAIN all the way until the very end of their last regular season game.

    It’ll take 2-3 years of them missing the playoffs and recruiting classes that aren’t in the top 2-3 of the country before I think anyone can say the empire is in danger.

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    • Nah. They are done…at least so far as what we have gotten used to seeing. There are several other programs now who stack talent close to or equal to Bama and spend the same on extended staff of coaches, analysts and marketers. Saban is not getting younger. They will still be good, even great, but the dominance has ended IMO.

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      • MGW

        The rest of the nation should be kissing Georgia’s ass for stealing away so many recruits that would otherwise be on Bama’s roster. If you’re right, it’s Kirby’s doing.

        Even if you’re not right, you can bet your ass Kirby’s going to make hay with that idea on the recruiting trail.

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  15. PTC DAWG

    Poor Bama.

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  16. Charlottedawg

    Alabama has the most talented roster in the nation. They’re probably going to beat us next year in Tuscaloosa. They’re not going anywhere.

    That being said, they beat absolutely nobody this year and completely deserve to be outside the final four this week and next.

    https://247sports.com/Season/2019-Football/CollegeTeamTalentComposite/

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  17. Keese

    It’ll be more comical when Bama shows up unmotivated and loses their cotton bowl game

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Cojones

    Eyeball test for ‘Bama ranking doesn’t make it. That is some sorry figuring that the Pick Four Committee made, especially after saying they look at the whole picture for the teams.

    Looks too much like blood in the water rationale towards our worthy opponent in the West.

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  19. Mike Cooley

    I love how everyone is jumping over tables to point our Alabama’s injuries. I guess Alabama is the only team that has to deal with attrition. We lost five damn receivers from last year and we are in the secc. Also, their ranking might have the teeniest thing to do with massive Alabama fatigue.

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  20. DawgPhan

    SP+ still has the tide @ 2. They are still a very good team. I dont think they are getting in the playoff, but they would be clear favorites over every team in the country that isnt LSU, OSU, or Clemson.

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  21. The Dawg abides

    How weird do you think things are at the Bama football complex right now? All those analysts just standing around looking at each other like “what do we do now”. After their bowl destination is announced Sunday I guess they’ll set their bowl practice schedule. About a week before those start, we should start getting a trickle of reports of which seniors and other draft eligible players have decided to shut things down.

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    • DawgPhan

      They should be pretty used to not going to the SEC championship at this point. Only been once in the last 3 years, since we go every year I can’t imagine what that is like.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. kenny grimes

    13 Penalties in the Iron BOWL. Heck in 2017 that didn’t have that many the entire season.

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  23. CB

    I don’t buy it. Mac Jones is pretty good, and Saban has won big with much less talented qb’s. Defense will likely be healthy next season. I think Tre Sanders was primed to be a key contributor if not the feature back ahead of Harris (assuming being lived up to his recruiting hype). Also has Georgia and Auburn at home next season. If Fromm bolts and/or we don’t figure out how to play offense we could be in trouble on the side of the ball.

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