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Crimson and White Roundtable: Blackout Edition

Alabama Gameday is your host this week, so without further ado:

What are your feelings on Alabama’s current position in the polls? Are we overrated? Underrated? Just right?

Are we a top ten team? My heart says yes while my gut, traumatized by years of letdowns and horrific losses to mid=major "cupcakes," says "this is all going to fall apart around us and leave us a sobbing heap of rage, frustration, and shattered hope." The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. We've shown that we can dominate games three out of four weeks and even shown that we can win the ones that are far too close for comfort relative to the alleged weakness of the opponent. This far in the season, though, we might as well be a top ten team if only because we are undefeated thanks to beating a preseason favorite and thoroughly shaming our conference (road) opener.

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?

Obviously we had a banner day rushing, and even though I expected we would have plenty of yards on the ground as we continue to pound the ball with Coffee and Ingram, I was certainly shocked at how easy it was for our O-Line to completely bully their D-Line and how poorly the Arkansas linebackers and safeties covered the cutback lanes. Those two big TD runs of Coffee's and the long TD run for Upchurch were total gimmes, and even WKU didn't allow that much running room for our backs.

I wouldn't say we were really dominated in any phase of the game, though I have to give their O-Line (and Luigs in particular) a lot of credit for keeping Dick relatively safe in the pocket most of the game. We still got a pretty good push, especially Cody despite the double teams, but they corralled our rushers away from Dick effectively and clearly had a great plan to handle our size.

Name your player of the game on Offense. Also name one on Defense.

On offense you have to go with Coffee. I've talked a lot about how his long runs shouldn't have been so easy, but you still have to give him credit from finding those cutbacks and getting north/south quickly. Even against defenses that weren't over pursuing like Arkansas was those would have still been good runs for decent yardage, just not the long TD runs like we saw Saturday.

On defense I'm going with Javier Arenas. Not only was his pick six a thing of beauty (if they won't kick to him, he has to score somehow, right?), he played a lot of great coverage in the game (had 2 PBUs) and also got a sack on a corner blitz. The kid is really turning into something special.

This is my wallpaper for the week, by the way.

Alabama has dominated the first quarter, outscoring opponents 64-0 in the first quarter. How do you think this team will handle its first taste of adversity this season?

The traumatized gut would think they will crumple like a used tissue, but we've seen some evidence to the contrary. We survived Tulane despite nothing working on offense and still managed to put the game away with a great scoring drive keyed by the power running of Mark Ingram all while avoiding the kind of boneheaded turnovers and mistakes that doomed the more haplees Tide teams of the past few seasons. We also didn't let giving up a pair of fourth down scores against Arkansas start an implosion either (though there probably wasn't much they could have done to get back in the game at that point, anyway) or the kickoff return for a TD by Clemson rattle us. The team has enough of a different attitude that I think we can survive a little adversity, but I'm not terribly sold on the offenses ability to score at will if we get down big and need a significant rally.

Setting aside Georgia, now that the season is well underway, how do you feel Alabama stacks up against what you've seen of their big opponents?

Honestly, if we can get past Georgia the only two things keeping us from Atlanta are LSU and ourselves (and even if we don't get past UGA, we still should run the rest of the schedule). Kentucky is 3-0 but they haven't shown anything resembling the offensive firepower we saw over the past two years yet, Ole Miss is still a work in progress (though they still scare me), Tennessee is craptacular, Mississippi State is back to being Mississippi State, Auburn's Spread Eagle is producing more turnovers than scores and igniting a civil war among the fanbase, while LSU is the only team left on the schedule that still looks like an SEC team. Realistically I think we have a very good chance at taking the west so long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, but with the caveat that I think that's more of a function of this being a down year for the division than our being back to conference contender form.