Well, I get to host this week's Crimson & White Roundtable. Sounds good to me. The question for the week was For the entire offseason, the national media has talked about Alabama being a 6 or 7 win football team. This past Saturday, on the ESPN College Gameday preseason show, both Kirk Herbstreit and Lou Holtz picked Alabama to win 9 (and Holtz said 10) games this season. Would you prefer to stay under the radar and let everyone continue to think we'll only win 7, or do you appreciate the national recognition we're already beginning to receive before the season kicks off? ...and, of course, why?
I personally prefer to stay under the radar, even though any publicity is good publicity. The fact that they feel they need to even talk about Alabama now is a good sign, but I would prefer that they expect 7 or 8 wins. If we fall below the 9 or 10 they're predicting, they'll look at the season as a failure, and that's not what we need right now.
I'm going to lean in the direction of flying under the radar. The more pundits click up the expectations the more room they give themselves to double back and criticize Saban, his salary, and the fans for supporting him if he doesn't win nine or ten games. In a normal year I probably wouldn't mind the national media talking us up a little, but with this being a transition year I'd rather everyone continue to think seven wins.
I'd rather stay under the radar for right now. This year isn't supposed to be the big break out year for Coach Saban and company. Sure, I think that after a few games we could pull off an upset or two if we stay healthy. But, I'd rather have a little more depth before receiving a ton of hype since we're so thin on the D-line. I feel that the reason a few people are picking us as a dark horse is due to Saban's arrival, not because of the talent level. We've got some talented players, but we're so thin on Defense it's caused me to lose sleep at night. I have bags under my eyes man! Besides, I've always been a "save the bragging for after you win" kind of guy, so staying under the radar until you achieve something is right up my alley. I'll be expecting plenty of hype in 2009, even some in 2008; however, this season is just a wait and see year for me. By the way, John Parker Wilson will throw for 22 touchdowns; I'm calling it right here and now.
Even a bad Alabama team is still a target for whatever team we face. Alabama could be winless and our rivals would still boast about defeating us and the talking heads on ESPN would be, well, talking about us. I don't think we can ever really be under the radar.
With that said, any type of publicity is a good thing (well other than an NCAA investigation). As long as Alabama is being mentioned, it helps recruiting and it helps improve the perception of the program.
Alabama spent time in the cellar due to our own hubris and poor choices. We finally made the right choice, and it is good the so-called experts are finally recognizing it. Of course, Saban would tell everyone to stop with the expectations game because expectations can kill the positive energy around the program. But as long as the expectations aren't irrational, I don't see the problem.
You know, as nice as it is to get some media attention, that sort of thing doesn't help us win games. Looking at the media hyped teams of the past few years (tOSU and ND last year, Southern Cal the year before, OU before that, etc) it seems to be more of a curse. I'm actually a little happier that we've done respectably among the blogpoll voters (we're not ranked, but are in the "receiving votes" category and I've seen us listed into the higher teens by a number of bloggers) since the fans are generally more knowledgable and not so beholden to the "narrative" than the mainstream press. So I'm going to say "prefer to stay under the radar" for two reasons. One, it gives us a better chance to slip up on teams, and two, the joy of knocking off a team we "shouldn't" and listening to all the whiners talk about how we got lucky is far greater than taking care of business against an opponent that shouldn't give us any troubles.
So, that was the roundtable. Hack and Nico didn't send theirs in. I'm sure they were doing something...y'know...important, or whatever. :-) Haha.
Last night's Miss St / LSU game was miserable. LSU looks incredibly beatable. The white kid that had the 3 picks last night is the luckiest safety ever. He caught three passes that were just lofted into double or triple coverage. There was one where he was the ONLY player out where the ball was. Just goes to show how bad Henig is - and we made him look like a Heisman trophy winner last year.
Either way, LSU's defensive line appeared to be "out-physical'd" for most of the first half, as did their offensive line. They were being blown off the ball quite a bit, and had Henig not throw 4 picks in the first half, State could have still been in it. Either way, this game was quite disgusting. I was hoping to see the Hat angry early on. Appears I'll have to wait til next weekend for that one.
The Sporting News lets us know that Saturday's game, while all about Saban, will not give us any indication of where this Tide program is headed this year under Coach.
Cecil is comparing Terry Grant's home-run potential to that of David Palmer, Freddie Milons, and Tyrone Prothro. Looks like this kid's got some big shoes to fill.
Wanna read more about Rolando's big day on Saturday? Check it out here. Also, Ian Rapoport chimes in on McClain as well.
Alabama and Clemson are, in fact, in talks about a '08 neutral site game, probably in Atlanta. The details are still being worked out, according to Mal Moore, but the game is definitely a possibility. I would actually like to see that game. Go beat up another team that wears orange. Sound good to me.
Saban's big gamers this year will be DJ Hall and John Parker Wilson. The defense will probably struggle a little bit, and that's fine, so long as the offense can rack in points. :-)
#1: Alabama 6 Tennessee 3Oct 22nd, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, AL
This will probably be the most memorable game of the past decade for me, simply because of the dramatic ending that actually went in our favor against a rival I absolutely hate.
This game was a beautiful display of defensive football. It wasn't that the offenses were awful (they weren't great, either), but the defenses both had NFL players scattered all over the field.
The first half had very little scoring, as did the 2nd half. The "Rocky Stop" play by Roman Harper, the 3rd down pass to DJ Hall along the sideline, and the field goal with just a few seconds left were all picture perfect memorable moments that are sure to stick with Bama fans for quite some time. We'll let youtube do the rest of the talking.
And I guess it's time to finally make my picks. We'll start off with my picks against the spread.
UAB (+21.5) at Michigan State Arizona at BYU (-4) Central Michigan (+7.5) at Kansas Houston (+16) at Oregon Missouri (-4) vs Illinois (neutral site game in St. Louis) Nevada (+21.5) at Nebraska
I really think some of these numbers may be inflated. Not sure though. We'll just have to see. On a national scale, here's what we'll go with.
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Wake Forest at Boston College Washington State at Wisconsin Illinois vs Missouri Ole Miss at Memphis Arizona at BYU Oklahoma St at Georgia Kansas St at Auburn Tennessee at Cal Texas Tech at SMU Florida State at Clemson
I'm pretty confident with a lot of these, so we'll keep tabs and see what my record looks like after this weekend.
Don't forget, you can still get tickets for the Western Carolina game by rolling over to TickCo.com's Alabama section and their Bryant-Denny Stadium section. This will be your best place to buy tickets all year, so head over there and check out what they've got.
As for right now, I'm off for the weekend. We'll talk to you Saturday night after the game! ROLL TIDE!
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