CFN Thoughts - Bama Blows Away Arkansas
CFN's Instant Analysis on Alabama's win over Arkansas
By Rich Cirminiello
Good news, Hogs fans—Jeff Long won't have to wait until December to begin his search for Bobby Petrino's permanent replacement.
Arkansas' disastrous start to 2012 does not fall entirely on the shoulders of interim head coach John L. Smith. There have been extenuating circumstances, particularly injuries, which have contributed to the team's 1-2 record and Top 25 banishment. But Smith was brought back to Fayetteville following the Petrino debacle to manage the heady expectations of a program that appeared to have the requisite talent needed to compete for the uber-tough SEC West title. It hasn't happened. It's not going to happen, even if QB Tyler Wilson bounces back from his concussion, and RB Knile Davis recaptures his 2010 form. The Razorbacks have been exposed over the last eight days, by Alabama today and Louisiana-Monroe a week ago, as an ordinary squad that lacks physicality on both sides of the ball.
Arkansas will bowl once the regular season ends, just not in the caliber of game that the school and its fans were hoping. Once the Hogs' destination and opponent are announced in December, a new head coach may have already been hired. Smith was the only logical choice before the season started, but he's clearly a one-year stop-gap. The program can do better on the sidelines. Long now has a couple of extra months of searching to make sure that it does.
By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb
Alabama 52-0. Almost exactly what we told you would happen. Thought it would be closer to 40 points, but then again, didn't see the 5-0 turnover margin in favor of Bama.
Don't care that Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson didn't play, this was a disgraceful performance no matter how you slice it for the Razorbacks. AT HOME NO LESS. We're still checking, but we believe this was the first time the Hogs have been shutout at home since 1996.
Arkansas was my most overrated team in the SEC West, and it showed in trumps. If you want a posterboy for why we shouldn't have preseason polls, it's Arkansas head coach J.L. Smith.
Actually, don't blame just J.L. for this performance. Every aspect of Arkansas football collapsed in this game, from the useless charade of Tyler Wilson as a "game day decision" to the defense that has been terrible since game one, to what AD Jeff Long has wraught by firing Petrino and hiring Smith
Blame the PA Announcer too,because it no longer matters; it's clear to all that this program has taken a quantum step backwards.
By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN
Don't for one minute cite Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson's absence in this game as any kind of excuse for the total domination by Alabama. No, the real reason behind this thrashing has everything to do with how good the Tide defense is--again. Oh, and the side responsible for scoring points isn't too shabby either.
Nick Saban has things not just cooking with gas, but cooking with nuclear energy in Tuscaloosa. He can pull almost any recruit he wants, has a great coaching staff, and has the program renting out the penthouse of the college football world right now.
There were some rumblings in the media about Alabama getting too much benefit of the doubt with a lofty pre-season ranking this season. After all, there were massive defections on defense, along with the loss of Heisman finalist Trenton Richardson. But nobody's a doubting Thomas now.
Under the current regime, it seems like it's always the next man up for the Crimson Tide. It's not a stretch to think that the second or third best team in the SEC (depending on what happens with LSU) is sitting on the pine behind Nick Saban. How else can a team appear to not miss a beat after absorbing so many personnel losses from a national title team just a season ago?
Yes, Akansas ran into a buzz-saw today. And it wouldn't be a surprise at all if the Tide rolls on into Miami on January 7. Alabama has a tradition and pedigree second to almost no-one, but Tide fans should savor these years. When history looks back on Nick Saban's era at Alabama, it might be the golden age in Tuscaloosa.
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
It's hard to believe that just two weeks ago that many people thought this might be the game of the year.
Then came Louisiana-Monroe.
Even though a rainy field tends to favor the less talented team, Arkansas never had a chance against Alabama. The Crimson Tide was clearly the better team, and it showed. Nick Saban's team controlled both lines of scrimmage from the opening whistle, never allowing the Razorbacks to get anything going.
Contrary to what Gary Danielson kept saying, Tyler Wilson would not have made any difference in this game. Yes, the Hogs might have actually scored a few points, and perhaps taken advantage of an inexperienced Tide secondary. But even on a dry field, there's no way that they would have been able to trade scores against Alabama's offense, which has quietly emerged as one of the top units in college football.
Which begs the question: why aren't more people talking about AJ McCarron as a Heisman Trophy contender? While he might have been more of a game manager than a leader last year, he's definitely the catalyst of the offense this year. Doug Nussmeier clearly has confidence in him, because the passing attack has taken more shots down the field than in years past.
Today's blowout win coupled with Auburn's escape against Louisiana-Monroe demonstrates the gap between Alabama, LSU, and the rest of the pack in the SEC West. That's not a knock on the rest of the division - it's compliment to the Tide and Tigers.
By Matt Zemek
Tyler Wilson, the one man who could have given Arkansas a legitimate chance to win, could not play. Game over. (Kudos to Arkansas' medical team and coaching staff for valuing Wilson's safety before and above anything else, by the way.) What stands out about this expected Alabama rout of the Razorbacks is that… it happened.
Unlike Virginia Tech, Alabama did not take to the gridiron thinking it could just show up and win. Unlike Virginia Tech, Alabama poured its customary pot full of passion into every snap and every set of downs. Unlike so many teams across the country that display such wildly divergent levels of focus and ferocity on a weekly basis, Alabama reminded the nation that it is supremely steady from one Saturday to the next. Great coaching shows up in many areas, and Nick Saban's best attribute is that he gets his teams to play the same, relentless, machine-like manner.
It's not surprising that Alabama throttled an undermanned opponent. What's noteworthy, though, is that the Crimson Tide consistently tend to their business in such a matter-of-fact and drama-free fashion. That's why they are what they are… and why there are WHERE they are in college football these days.
By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn
Woooo Pig, Pew-eee. The narrative should be about how ridiculously good Alabama is, running 3rd stringers out there with five minutes left in the third quarter against what was allegedly a top 10 team coming in, but it won't be. From the get go, this had the feel of a Steven Segal movie. Stuff was going to explode, it wasn't going to be pretty, and the predictability level was high. Most of everything that exploded was on Arkansas,
most notably the OL. Their one chance to get confidence, early, they missed a blown coverage by Bama that would have resulted in a TD and then missed the FG. That was it.
You've got to wonder how good Tyler Wilson is at this point. He was peanut butter to a PBJ sandwich. Sure, alone, people like PB (like NFL teams will like Wilson), but no one has a jelly sandwich (the rest of Arkansas team today). For Alabama, the road to Miami is paved with blowouts still.
Fun stat from this game: In the last 64 quarters against FBS football teams, Alabama has let by 10 touchdowns total. That deserves a "wow."
Rocky Long Poinsettia Powl Post Game Thoughts
Post-game thoughts from Aztecs' head football coach Rocky Long on the Poinsettia Bowl. Watch the complete press conference in theMW.com archives.