The dynasty may be over, but Alabama is right where it needs to be
Alabama was put in an unusual position entering its tilt with Georgia this week: the role of the underdog.
It was the first time since 2009 that Vegas put Nick Saban’s team in that position, and boy, did the Tide respond.
No. 13 Alabama pieced together a 38-10 statement victory on the road at No. 8 Georgia, quelling any thoughts that the Tide’s season was over in October and ending the notion that this program’s best days are behind them.
It was easy to write off Alabama after losing to Ole Miss. That was a loss that perhaps Saban’s team would have won in years past.
The popular move was to pronounce the Tide dead in the water. Most did. That led to the team being called an underdog for the first time in six years.
Since then, Alabama has outscored its opponents 72-10, which includes defeating Georgia, a team many pegged to win the SEC.
Instead of caving in and letting talks of the team’s demise come true, Alabama turned in the team’s most complete game of the season, including the best performance of the year from quarterback Jake Coker and an equally impressive effort on behalf of the defense, which held a Bulldogs offense to its season-low point total.
Alabama put forth its most dominating game of the year, but more impressive was the fact the team did it with its back against the wall.
“I told them before the game that the plan that we had for them, ordinary men couldn’t go out there and get it done. We needed them to be extraordinary and that they were, and they were special,” Saban said after the game.
“They’ve been that way all year. I know they’ve been criticized a lot, but I thought we played an outstanding game today, every part of the game.”
Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss at home was uncharacteristic. The way it responded in the uncustomary position Saturday was not.
This is the type of ‘Bama team many of us are used to seeing year in and year out: dominant in all three phases of the game; imposing on the road; playing the role of villain as so often Saban’s team has done.
The Tide have fallen in big spots before. But this week in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the national spotlight shined on the team for all of the wrong reasons.
The team was called “ordinary” with glaring problems across its defense and at the quarterback position. National title aspirations were squashed after the first month of the season.
The dynasty, as many referred to it as, was pronounced over.
Maybe. Maybe not.
But at 4-1, only three have better records than the Tide, and they have a chance to line up against two of them in the next five weeks. If all goes according to Saban’s plan, they’ll even see the third team in the SEC Championship Game.
Call the dynasty over. Declare Alabama’s season over. Write Saban off and begin pondering where he’ll be coaching next year. Alabama is right where it needs to be.