It’s late in the 3rd quarter and Bama just scored to tighten up what was a 30-10 beatdown from Ole Miss. The quick strike made it 30-17, but I’m otherwise unconvinced the Tide will walk away with a win, even at home. This would mark the second straight year Ole Miss has beaten the almighty Tide, who while still mighty, are not nearly as mighty as in years past. Yes they’re still ranked number 2, but who knows where they’ll be at year’s end. Still ranked, I know. Probably still in the top 10-15.
But this team has no offense. No. Offense. Two quarterbacks have already been in and out of the game after starting Cooper Bateman. The Tide have since stuck with previous starter Jacob Coker, neither of which have proven effective. Derrick Henry is still a mass of a human being to be reckoned with, but there are holes at receiver as well. Gone is all-everything Amari Cooper and in is a much less experienced corps, led by Kenyan Drake.
There seems to be more parody than ever in the SEC this year. Ever since the Gators’ reign in 06-08 the power has stayed on the West’s side and they return former #1 Mississippi State and Dak Prescott. LSU looks scary good with Leonard Fournette who had a couple of monster runs today, and Texas A&M still has the offense but not so much defense. Georgia thoroughly eviscerated South Carolina 52-20 and Florida is still largely mediocre (I was there, I saw).
The biggest reason for this parody may be the Tide themselves. So dominant were they for the past few years that the only question was who they were going to play in the SEC title game, and ultimately the national championship. Now the question becomes, do they make it out of the West? How many games do they lose? They’ve looked far more vulnerable than we’re used to in wins over Wisconsin 35-17 and Middle Tennessee 37-10. This may sound sensational, but after blowout losses to Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl 2014) and Oregon (Semifinal last year) they’ve clearly stepped down a rung.
Every dominant national power only gets a few years where they can truly be considered a dynasty. In my lifetime, the turn of the millennium saw Miami win a national title and lose to Ohio State in OT in a span where they once held a 34 game winning streak. The 01-03 dominance of Miami quickly gave way to USC (04-06) in which they won and shared(?) a national title technically making them repeat champions. They were followed by the Tebow-led Florida Gators (06-08) who also went back-to-back.
Since then it’s been all Bama, owners of three national titles since 2009, mixed in with other BCS Bowls and a semifinal appearance last year. Will they disappear from prominence? Surely not, as long as Nick Saban is coach in Tuscaloosa. The better question is, who’s next? I like Josh Rosen and UCLA, as the true freshman for all my money will be a fabulous quarterback in a renewed program in SoCal. They’re losing to BYU currently, but that’s irrelevant, I think. Oregon’s had their time but never capitalized so I won’t predict a national championship from them ever again after doing so virtually every year the past five. It goes without saying that Ohio State is loaded, when you have two quarterbacks that were at one time legitimate Heisman candidates not playing quarterback. They also play in a really good conference (wink). Sorry can’t even joke about that, the Big 10 is awful just downright terrible for a Power 5 but then again so is the ACC.
So maybe that’s the answer. FSU looked like it was back to reigning supreme but their new offense is very bad, only managing 14 points on my Eagles yesterday and they may have the worst offense in college football. Truth is the ACC still doesn’t get the same level recruit as the SEC, so they’re still the conference to beat. The competition level now is simply too high for one team to dominate. After the salary cap was introduced… (0h, amateurism right, sorry).
As for predictions I won’t give any. I’m very high on the Cali gunslinger but with regards to the SEC, I just can’t. Prescott and the Bulldogs will be a force in the West again, Bama is still getting demolished by the Rebels at home, and LSU has a propensity (hint: always) crashes and burns.
Update: It’s 43-30 Ole Miss with under 6 minutes to go. I think they’re still gonna lose. Could be wrong.
Ok, now its 43-37. Still perfectly ok with this literature being out there on the interwebs.
Coker got dropped, picked off. Game over. Hit publish.