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Thought Experiment: Make your super team to beat ‘Bama

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The Mothership proposes not a four-team playoff, but a super team to face Alabama.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This actually was a neat concept from Dan Rubinstein and Bud Elliot at the CFB SB Nation hub:

Instead of debating which four teams should be in the playoffs on the weekly SB Nation College Football Selection Committee show, I joined Dan Rubenstein to select something else: a super team that could take down Alabama. Dan’s rules were simple.

We were to pick position units and a coaching staff, but no more than one from each team.

I took: Louisville’s QB, Florida State’s running backs, Clemson’s receivers and tight ends, and LSU’s offensive line.

My offensive coordinator was Lincoln Riley, of Oklahoma. I want to score on explosive plays, as it is very tough to drive the ball methodically against the Tide. On defense I went with Auburn’s defensive line, Ohio State’s linebackers and Michigan’s defensive backs. For a coordinator, I went with Pete Kwiatkowski, of Washington.

For a head coach, I went with Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze, because in order to beat Alabama, a team must not be intimidated, and Freeze’s Rebels show no fear when facing the Tide.

I disagree with Bud’s selections, having had the benefit of watching the team more closely. For instance, LSU’s OL is P*O*O*P and hasn’t stymied Alabama’s d-line in years. If you want a unit from LSU that poses problems for the Tide? Try the secondary which gave Alabama fits two years running. Also, Ole Miss’ TEs and WRs, with all that height and speed and experience against ‘Bama, are just as lethal (and maybe more so) than Clemson’s unit (esp. at tight end.) And, obviously, I disagree with Lamar Jackson -- to beat Alabama, you throw vertical and you throw accurately, two skills Jackson has not shown against teams that make him win with his arm.

Here are mine:

  • Offensive Line: Western Kentucky: Why mess with success? This is a great unit that kept Alabama out of the backfield, and has at least one 1st rounder on it (and as many as three total draft picks on it by the time 2018 rolls around.)
  • Defensive Line: Auburn: No one played the zone-read option better and bottled up the things that make the 2016 Alabama offense run. There are three legit NFL draft picks on that front three.
  • Secondary: LSU: Aranda has a complex scheme that eats up errant passes, forces bad reads, and he has the horses to run it. It may not stand out like the vintage #DBU teams, but three of these guys will be drafted.
  • Receivers and Tight Ends: For the reasons above, Ole Miss. Alabama hasn’t shut down the Ole Miss passing game since 2013.
  • Quarterback: Clemson: Deshaun Watson is having an even better season than last year, when he was the Heisman runner-up. He is the complete package, and when he’s on, there’s nothing a DB can do. The definition of a game-changer.
  • Running Backs: Oklahoma: Samaje Perrine and Joe Mixon do so many different things. If Lincoln Riley ever had a lucid moment, this would be the one team that could probably commit to the run with some success.
  • Linebackers: Since I can’t pick Alabama’s linebackers, nor more than one unit from each team, Louisville has a really nice unit. Devonte Fields could start on the Alabama defense, and that is high praise indeed. (I almost went with Washington here. Budda Baker gets the pub, but the linebacking corps (when healthy, and they’re not) creates the chaos the Huskies have thrived upon.)
  • OC: Doug Meacham (TCU) - I suspect the highly vertical passing game, a lot of which was adopted by Ole Miss, would pose some problems for a thin Alabama secondary.
  • DC: Don Brown - Michigan’s defense is the definition of exotic, and by and large it works: Two-man fronts which lead to an eight-man rush on one play followed by a base 4-3 quarters look would be a good chess match with Lane Kiffin.
  • Head Coach: There’s really only one answer here, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. He may be despicable, but he’s the best in the game outside of our beloved Nicktator.
  • Special Teams: This is crappy, since LSU and Auburn have the two best that we know about, and are excellent. But, try this one on: Memphis. Memphis uses two punters (who have a 44.5 yard average,) and PK Jake Elliot will play on Sundays (he was 6th in % last season, with a long of 56.)