Monday Thought: Are You Ready To Roll?
Posted Sep 17, 2012

Fiutak: This might be a special Alabama team, but where is the love?

CFN Monday Thoughts

Fiutak: Tide Rolling

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- Fiutak: The Tide might be special, but do you care?
- Cirminiello: Prove it, Florida State
- Mitchell: The Volunteer running game
- Zemek: The John L. Smith Situation
- Harrison: Virginia Tech being Virginia Tech
- Johnson: Is McCarron in the Heisman hunt?

At the risk of being yelled at by Nick Saban for daring to point out that the sky is blue, or the Tide is crimson, is the college football world fully aware of just how really, really good this Alabama team is? Is everyone grasping just how special this team might be, and why does anyone actually seem to care?

It might be commonplace in today's day and age of hyperbole to overreact way too quickly and say something is the greatest this and the best of all-time that, but last year, according to the CFN Historical Season Formula that ranks campaigns based on strength of schedules, LSU had the greatest regular season in the history of college football and would've had the greatest year ever had it won the BCS championship. Alabama stomped all over that in New Orleans, and now the season is on the other foot.

It's way, way too early to start putting this Alabama team in any sort of an all-timer category, but the foundation is being set. Like last year's LSU team, it's the Tide that's starting out the season in utterly dominant fashion and starting to look like it's on the road to doing something amazing. LSU is toying with teams, and it's certainly going to be even money at worst on November 3rd, but it's not quite playing at Alabama's level so far. There's time, but there's also a reason Alabama is currently No. 1.

There's a chance that Michigan might win the Big Ten title, or at least it'll be in the hunt all season long, yet Alabama rolled through the season opener like it was a light scrimmage.

The Western Kentucky team that just beat Kentucky might be the star of the Sun Belt – it's even better than the ULM team that beat Arkansas – but the Tide breathed through a 35-0 Week Two win. And then came this weekend when Bama pounced on the wounded Hogs so impressively that it made them look like they flat-out quit, at least according to the star quarterback. And no, Tyler Wilson wouldn't have made a 52-0 difference.

Coming up are more opportunities at greatness with road games at Missouri, Tennessee, and of course, LSU, to go along with home dates against Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Auburn. Yes, over the last 16 games Alabama has played one team – Arkansas of last year – that could throw a forward pass, and Tennessee, Texas A&M or Mizzou could have a right day/right time type of performance if the passing game clicks on all cylinders, but right now, as things stand, no one in college football other than LSU and possibly Georgia, because of its defense, can come within three touchdowns of the Tide.

The offensive line is the best in the nation by far, the backfield is loaded with options, AJ McCarron is playing with the confidence of a national title winner, and the coaching is peerless. This is a take-no-prisoners team that plays like someone said their mother was ugly.

How dialed in is the Tide? In three games it gave away just one lonely fumble in the win over Michigan, hasn't thrown a pick, and has committed a not-that-bad 15 penalties. In the first halves of the first three games, Alabama has outscored its opponents by a grand total of 86 to 7 – and that's without playing the Savannah States of the world.

But does anyone care?

There's nothing about this Alabama team that's capturing anyone's imagination. There isn't a Tim Tebow or Reggie Bush to excite the masses, and there isn't anything flashy or fun for the casual fan about phenomenal defense, a pounding offensive line and a crisp short-to-midrange passing game.

And then there's Saban, who toes the fine line on a minute-by-minute basis between being a coaching genius and a miserably grouchy bag of gas. There isn't a tougher screw to turn than Bill Belichick, but even he at least appears able to enjoy the successes when they come. Saban wins a national title and he acts like the post-game celebration is twenty minutes of lost preparation time for the next season.

Of course, every college football fan dreams of having a coach as good as Saban and a team and program as strong as Alabama's right now, and Tide fans are through-the-roof giddy, but that doesn't mean that anyone else seems to be buying.

Some fans appear to be sick of the SEC's brilliance during this current run of national titles, and judging by the responses we get, other are still mad that the Tide got a chance at the national title last season after not winning its division. Maybe it's because there isn't a signature star to focus on – AJ McCarron doesn't move the needle - or because Alabama games are so boring in their ruthlessly dominant precision, but something isn't clicking.

Maybe it's because there hasn't anything remotely fun about what this business-like Bama team is doing.

For all the talk of Saban preaching about how he learned from the mistakes he and the staff made after winning the national title three years ago, and for wanting this time to be different, there's one problem; he doesn't appear to have learned the history of what happened in 2009.

Florida wasn't just supposed to repeat with Tim Tebow and a loaded team returning from the 2008 national championship squad; the entire season was about making Greatest Of All-Time statement. What happened was a joyless ride by a team wound way, way too tight before getting blown away in a Tebow-crying, Urban Meyer chest pain-inducing loss to the Tide in the SEC championship.

The 2012 Tide doesn't appear to be as twitchy and paranoid as the 2009 Gators, but the intensity is at such a fierce level that it might be impossible to maintain THIS until early January. But it might, and at the very least it seems like Alabama and LSU are on a collision course for something very, very special on November 3rd.

But with all of that said, I want to see Florida State be as good as advertised and be a national storyline the rest of the season, or I want Clemson to come up with a huge win this weekend and go on a run of its own. I want Florida to be as tough and as nasty as it showed over the first three games, and I want Georgia to put it all together and be a real, live challenger for more than just the East.

I want the West Virginia high-octane machine to keep it all rolling, and I want Texas to be Texas again and for Oklahoma to figure out its offensive line issues in a hurry.

For my own selfish purposes as a college football writer, please keep on rolling Notre Dame, and I'll be more than happy if Stanford, Oregon, UCLA and Arizona keep on rocking while USC gets its mojo back in a hurry.

Basically, I want some team out there to rise up and be good enough to challenge the Alabama-LSU winner in a great BCS championship.

And then, maybe the college football world will start to appreciated the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide and consider them that much greater for having repeated.

- Fiutak: The Tide might be special, but do you care?
- Cirminiello: Prove it, Florida State
- Mitchell: The Volunteer running game
- Zemek: The John L. Smith Situation
- Harrison: Virginia Tech being Virginia Tech
- Johnson: Is McCarron in the Heisman hunt?