...please accept this week's edition of the:
Hosting duties are back here at RBR this week, and both gerry and 3SIB have already gotten their posts up. As always, any Bama bloggers (or just Bama fans with blogs) are welcome to participate, just be sure to e-mail me a link to your post at rollbamaroll -at- gmail.com or leave it in the comments section of this post. Without further ado;
What are your feelings on Alabama's current position in the polls? Are we Overrated? Underrated? Just right?
I'm okay with it for now, but I'm a little concerned at the 3 first place votes Penn State got from the coaches while our's vanished. There's been plenty of talk on the internets and radios of a "coaches conspiracy" to get Paterno what could be one last shot at a National Title while shafting Alabama (and, more specifically, Saban) despite our having played a better/tougher schedule, but that's all talk for after Thanksgiving. Right now we need to be worrying about winning out, and hopefully that will take care of the polls.
What aspect of the game did Alabama control that shocked you the most? What aspect of the game was Alabama dominated in that shocked you the most?
As far as what we controlled, I was really surprised at the outside running and how effective we were with it. Ole Miss's down four really gave us fits in the running game, and considering the vast majority of our runs are between the tackles it was something that was bound to happen eventually. Looks like the coaches decided that, if you're going to load the box to keep us from running it down your throats, we'll just go around you, and it worked like a charm. I will also say that that toss sweep we run out of the shotgun looks all kinds of weird, but I guess it works well enough for them to keep running it.
I really don't think we were dominated in any phase of the game, but we did have some pass blocking issues that made the early goings a little uncomfortable. I still think our line is one of the best out there, but the last two weeks have exposed some flaws there. Thankfully we have a staff that understands the concept of in game adjustments now, so at least we can be comfortable knowing that, when one part of the team isn't working, they find some way to compensate and keep things clicking.
Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.
On offense, is there really any other choice than Roy Upchurch? Whatever he's been doing to convince the staff that he needs more touches is working, and I'm excited as hell about the prospect of him moving over to FB. No offense to Baron Huber, who is a fine traditional blocking back, but with Upchurch lining up at FB, that gives the offense a whole new dimension when running an I formation. He's physical enough to act as a lead blocker for the tailback, he's a hell of a rusher himself, AND he's a great pass catcher and gets north-south quickly when he gets the ball on screens and passes to the flat. Not to bring up bad memories or anything, but I haven't been this excited about a fullback since Jimmy Johns switched positions before the '07 season.
On defense, I'm going with Josh Chapman. His numbers weren't anything particularly special (4 tackles), but he stepped right in as the starter at NG for Cody and the line didn't miss a beat. I'll admit that I was a little uneasy about our run D without the Legend in there even though I know in my head that Chapman is a solid NG in his own right, but seeing it first hand really impressed me, and I'm glad we have him.
And I'm going to put this in here because it was something I wanted to say during the radio hour(ish), but my hat goes off to the Tennessee players. Fulmer can rot for all I care, and UT fans should be upset with him and the staff and the mediocrity that they've dragged the Vols into, but their players went hard the whole game and showed nothing but pride and effort throughout, so kudos to them. Personally, as much as I'd love to see Fulmer stick around so we can tear some more sweet (drunken?) revenge out of his filthy, cheese encrusted hide, I'd also like to see the Bama/Tennessee rivalry get back to being fun (read: competitive on both sides) again. RTT overheard a comment after the game that has really summed up the series for some time now:
It's never that both teams are great or that both teams suck; it's that only one of the two teams sucks. That's the rut we're stuck in right now.
It would be nice to get back to this being a game of importance instead of just a game of revenge again, don't you think?
Arkansas State got a BCS scalp at Texas A&M to open their season, while we're still living down the humiliation of a loss to their fellow Sun Belt member La.-Monroe. We've worried about a letdown all season long and, considering a similarly dominating win over UT preceded the November death spiral last year, are we in danger here?
Honestly, even though I am of the firm belief that anyone can beat anyone these days, I don't think we're in a lot of danger. This year's model has shown that it learns from it's mistakes, and I can just imagine how much the staff is drilling the ULM loss into their heads in practice this week. And that's not to take anything away from Arkansas State, because they are a good team that could pose some problems for us. I've been looking at some of their numbers for a preview that will go up on Friday, and they're more than respectable (if a little bit overinflated by their walloping of 1AA Texas Southern), so we have to continue to play smart and efficient football if we want to get past them unscathed. Still though, it is a game we should win, and I am a lot more comfortable in believing that we will win the ones we should with this group.
Looking around the SEC, which team is the most undervalued in the league? Who is the most overvalued?
My first reaction was to think Ole Miss, but considering how much everyone was convinced they would be improved and probably headed to a bowl with the coaching change, and the fact that they are currently 4-4, which is improved, and likely head to a bowl, I'd say they are pretty well where everyone expected them to be right now. I'm going to go with South Carolina on this one since they have been at least competitive in all of their losses thanks to the defense and are sitting at 5-3 with a shot at a decent bowl game (if by decent I mean anything but the Independence or Papajohns.com), all while being an afterthought in the East.
Most overvalued has to be LSU. Their defense is non-functioning at this point, and it doesn't look like things are going to get any better any time soon. More damning is the fact that the Tigers actually outgained UGA this weekend by roughly fifty yards, but shot themselves in the foot with three INTs and a 38% 3rd down conversion rate (5-13). Also, did I mention the defense?