Ok, first of all I blame the whole 2013 season debacle on Barack Obama. Thanks Obama for your socialistic policy of redistributing the wealth. Thanks a lot.
Be that as it may, there are some things I definitely take away from 2013 going to 2014. First, it is really, really hard to repeat as NC, but a three peat is nearly impossible because your best players only stay 3 years. So to three peat you would need the top recruiting class with no holes and they would need to be freshmen the first year you win it all. At any rate I seriously doubt anyone will do it in the playoffs because that would be domination on the level we should never see with the 85 scholly limit. It would mean a team would have to win 6 straight play-off games over a 3 year stretch against the top 3 teams in the country.
Secondly, looking objectively I think we would have lost to FSU. The main reason being the two things AU was able to do to slow them down...pass rush and aggressive secondary play were not our strong suit. I think we could have scored on FSU but not enough to beat them. Not that I think they are unbeatable. In fact Mich. St.’s D may very well have stopped them enough to win. The really down side to this whole FSU thing is that they have a cake walk to the final 4 next year.
Third, this talk about the SEC dominance being over is a little premature. Two of the SEC’s traditional powers, programs who will bounce back, UT and UF were both out of the bowls. However, 10 teams did make the bowls and 7 of them won. The result is that at the start of 2014 we will probably see as many as 8 teams preseason top 25- they will be (in no order- aTm, AU, Mississippi, Mizzou, LSU, UA, UGA, USCe.) There is no other conference that will have 8 top 25 teams. And Vandy, MSU and UF will probably be in the 25-35 range. Only Arky, UK, and UT will receive little preseason recognition. Not that I root for the SEC, but it is pretty obvious the SEC is way ahead of any other conference.
Next, Alabama may not make the playoffs in 2014. I’m, not saying we won’t, I’m just saying we could lose two games next year (maybe LSU & AU, but Miss and aTm are also games we could lose) and that will keep you out. There are a lot of areas we will need work to get better next year. I think the most important area will be on offense finding a game managing qb and on defense finding an aggressive secondary. I think 2014 is about as big a mystery as we have had at Bama since 2008. That year worked out pretty good, but going into the season we had alot of questions.
Finally, although I was mighty upset after AU this year and also upset after the Sugar Bowl I still think this was a very good team. Very good but not great. We did not win any championships, but we did finish in the top 10 for the 6th straight year, we had our 5th BCS bowl in 6 years, and we beat UT once again (that never gets old.) Being really objective I do not think we had a team that was complete enough to win the NC. We had weakness at DB, on the D-line, the O-line and at place kicker. I think you could be weak in one of these areas and still pull it off, but weak in four areas...it is too much to overcome. And yet if it had been 2014 we would have been in the playoffs none the less.
Going forward the NC is going to be harder for everyone to win because you are going to have to beat 2 of the best 3 teams in the nation in back to back games. Somebody will prevail, but whomever does will have had to work much harder to win it. And that is why the retaining of Scott Cochran is one of Saban’s top priorities. In the future you are going to need great skill players to get you to the final four, but the final four is going to be won by linemen, linebackers, and kickers.
By the way, perhaps the most important thing this year was Saban deciding to stay. I think he is here for 4 or 5 more years at least. We are going to have to get a bit leaner and in even better shape to keep up with the HUNH. Most teams will be going with it for the next 5-10 years. Saban is determined to turn our defense around and create a defense that can stop the HUNH. This is probably going to take a couple of recruiting classes and a couple of spring practices. I do think we make a championship run and win it all in 2015. That will make 4 our of 7 and that ain’t bad.
Anyway, if you have some random thoughts about Bama football next year I’d like to hear them.