Thursday, June 11, 2009

Did Utah expose Alabama during the Sugar Bowl?

(Editor's Note: The NCAA placed Alabama's football program on three-year's probation today. According to published reports, this could result in the Tide vacating up to 21 wins earned from 2005-07. Since the sanctions did not result in any loss of scholarships or a ban from appearing in bowl games, the punishment is pretty toothless. Still, it must be considered an embarrassment to the program and the Southeastern Conference).

Talk to any Alabama football fan, and they will enthusiastically talk about how last year's team marked a return to dominance for the program. After all, the team started 12-0 and was ranked number one for most of the season. Head Coach Nick Saban was living up to the expectations created by his $4 million a year contract.

However, what did the Crimson Tide really achieve? True, they did win their first 12 games and beat Auburn. After that, there was no dream ending to the magical season. Bama was clearly overmatched by Florida in the SEC championship game. More surprisingly, they were not competitive in their 31-17 loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

The loss to Florida was excusable, but the loss to Utah was a stunner. Star offensive left tackle Andre Smith was suspended for the game, and by the time the offense found some rhythm, it was too late.

Did Utah expose Alabama? Bama's offense appeared only average without Smith. Mix that in with the loss of quarterback John Parker Wilson this year, and the Tide has a lot of questions to answer on offense.

If Bama's offense could not be competitive against Utah without Smith, how will they fare without him against SEC competition this year?

It is one of many compelling questions to be answered this fall.


Larry J. said...

3 facts of life: death, taxes, and Alabama football on probation.

Chris said...

I couldn't have said it better.