I know, I know, there’s nothing “bitter” about the pistol-whipping administered by the Tide to the Gators on Saturday night.
But think about it. In the last 3 years, Alabama’s meteoric rise to the top of the SEC (cough, cough, America) had one metric against which we measured ourselves: the Gators. Don’t get me wrong, in 2008 we had to cure a lot of other diseases (like winning in November). But we took our temperature in the SECCG, against a year-removed national champ from 2006 and reigning HTW from 2007. And we weren’t ready quite yet. They were the best. In 2009, we went for a “recheck” and came out with a clean bill of health….
But this game was bittersweet, the way the decline and fall of the Roman empire was bittersweet. Yes, we’ve reclaimed our rightful perch atop the CFB landscape, but it sure felt like the better measure of our hold on the top spot so far was an Arkansas on the way up, not a Florida on the way down. They’re not the same team. Tebow cast too long a shadow.
Meanwhile, Bama right now is “plug and play.” Rolando’s gone? Welcome Moseley (aka “Theodore”). Kareem Jackson’s in the league? Hello Kirkpatrick, Menzie, Lester. No Ingram? No problem. Just stick TR in the backfield. There are folks who can’t wait for McElroy to leave so we can put McCarron in.
Scarbinsky said something that was strong conceptually, even if he bumbled the execution trying to get a little too cute: “Consider the implications of these two knockouts these last two years. Alabama beat up Florida after Alabama circled Florida. Alabama beat down Florida after Florida circled Alabama.” (http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/10/scarbinsky_all_else_being_equa.html).
Anyway, enough philosophizing. We’re a cold-blooded machine killer right now, and I will absolutely relish every minute of it:
· This game was over in four plays: (1) the jump pass INT by Nico; (2) TR’s field-flipping 30 yard run to the outside left; (3) Ingram’s first TD run to the outside right; and (4) Julio’s field-flipping punt return.
· All of those plays happened before Florida’s 3rd offensive possession, so Urban Meyer can “what if” all day long about how the game unfolded, but after 15 offensive plays they were down 17 points. They had no chance.
· Why those four? #1 is obvious – They tried to “do” Tebow without Tebow, and they failed. Plus, the shot of Kirby Smart warning of the jump pass showed how we have Florida’s pulse on playcalling.
· #2 and #3 is because we took their supposed strength, this lights-out defense, and beat them straight up. We had the better scheme, the better personnel, and the better execution. We had linemen and receivers flowing to the point of attack, sealing the edge, and springing our horses. No chance, Gators. No chance.
· #4 is because their punt coverage team has been stellar for years. Remember Javy trying to break the return yardage record against a unit that had allowed ZERO net positive return yards last year? Um, did I mention that the Gators are on the downhill?
· I’m sure the atmosphere was electric … at least until halftime.
Guess we’ll take Soukerlina’s best shot next week, and Ole Miss’ the week after that, and so on and so on. We might not win ‘em all. We might see Florida again in December and get creamed. But I doubt it. Right now, we’re on top, and the drop off is pretty precipitous. What a great time to be an Alabama fan.