OK, there is no bright side. But, here's food for thought. Because of the historical propensity to use the bowl game as a measuring stick for next season ... incorrectly, I might add ... there's a very good chance that Bama slips under the radar a bit next season. Because of the way Ole Miss closed out its season and the way LSU dominated Georgia Tech (and seemingly addressed its defensive issues with the hire of John Chavis), that momentum will carry over into the offseason. It's not real momentum. It has zero to do with how those teams will actually perform because the bowl game means nothing with regard to next season. But the perception says otherwise. The Rebels and Tigers will be the theoretical beneficiaries of positive momentum and don't be surprised if they're picked 1-2 in the SEC West next year more often than you might expect.
Bama's tepid performance in the Sugar Bowl, combined with the loss of significant talent on offense, will give the program a sense of negative momentum, especially relative to Ole Miss and LSU. I'm not saying it's fair or correct, just that this is how CFB fans think, especially if you give them 8 months to stew and dissect and froth over the next season. People can talk themselves into anything. Don't be surprised if we're picked to finish with 8 wins and a possible 3rd place finish in the West. All of which could work to our advantage. With diminished external expectations, the Tide will have the luxury of establishing a new identity on offense without the bullseye on its back. While we do figure to have an adjustment period on offense, and 11-12 wins is probably unrealistic, 9-10 wins isn't out of the realm of possibility. Thus, we can use the "lack of respect" angle, let alone the embarrassment from last night, to be a motivating force all offseason. At least this is what I tell myself in between the sobs of rage.
Happy New Year and Roll Tide.