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Sure they can. Remember 1992? Going to play Miami in the Sugar Bowl the media pronounced the game over before it even began. Alabama had a “second rate defense and a one-dimensional offense.” Miami had the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and were the defending national champions. And then Alabama plowed them under, 34-13.

There are plenty of examples of the same type scenario: the nation is mesmerized by the potent offense of a team like Florida (Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, etc. etc.), forgetting that a bruising rushing attack controls the clock, keeps the ball out of that potent offense’s hands, and a stifling defense makes that potent offense look a lot more pedestrian.

The Florida team you will see on Saturday will look a lot different from the one you’re used to seeing pummel their opponents. Alabama is well-equipped to handle the Gators.

Alabama: 34
Florida: 28

Asked how he feels about being an underdog to Florida in the SEC Championship game, Nick Saban said, “That’s a’ight, don’t bother me any.”

Alabama’s been playing football since 1892. They won their first Rose Bowl and National Championship under Coach Wallace Wade in 1925. Over their 100+ year history, they’ve amassed 12 national championships and have been to more bowls–and won more–than any other team. In the history of college football, only Notre Dame has been nearly as successful. In fact, it’s safe to say that Alabama and Notre Dame are programs 1A and 1B and everyone else is ranked behind them.

Here is a fact: Coming into this season, since 1908, Notre Dame had 1 more win than Alabama for most wins in the past 100 years of college football. We’ve all seen Notre Dame post their 6-6 record this season, and everyone is also well aware that Alabama is 12-0 and ranked #1 in the country. Did you also know that Alabama has now moved into first place in wins over the last 100 years? Does that make Alabama the program of the century? I think so, yes. Over the last 100 years, Alabama is #1, and all other football programs are #2 or lower, including Notre Dame.

Wins, from 1908 – 2008:

  1. Alabama: 754
  2. Notre Dame: 748
  3. Texas: 747
  4. Oklahoma: 743
  5. Tennessee: 731
  6. Southern Cal: 717
  7. Nebraska: 715
  8. Ohio State: 712
  9. Michigan: 710
  10. Penn State: 706

elephant

Lane Kiffin is a good guy with a good pedigree (his father is heralded defensive guru Monte Kiffin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), he’s had good coaching experience as a coordinator (SoCal Offensive Coordinator), but as a head coach his only job was with the Oakland Raiders, where he was fired.

Granted, the Raiders are a train wreck, but we here at Houndstooth wonder how Kiffin got that job in the first place. And to go from being fired by Al Davis into the SEC’s second greatest program ever?

He’s made some good moves right off the bat, stealing his dad from Gruden to be the DC and Ed Orgeron will be OC, but it remains to be seen if he can rebuild the Vols. I’m betting Kiffin’s going to be on a short leash, because the Vols have great talent. If he doesn’t turn this thing around in a year or two it’s going to be adios, moving on to the next coach.

FIX IT

Once again, voters’ opinions have thrown the national championship race into turmoil. How it’s possible that Oklahoma is ranked ahead of Texas, who beat them, is beyond me. And again, as I wrote last week, no way does USC deserve to be ranked ahead of Texas Tech.

The NCAA has always been a duplicitous beast. It hammers the teams that it supposes have transgressed some of its hallowed rules, but then it lays off the teams and conferences, letting them formulate their own methods for determining their champions. The SEC proved that a championship game is the right way to go, and the Big 12 followed suit. Now it’s time for the Big 10 and the PAC 10 to get on board. The recent trend of voters’ rewarding conferences who do have a championship game is promising, as seen last year when 2-loss LSU played for the BCS title in lieu of 2-loss USC. At least they got that one right.

But this year the polls are on their backs, and the official is counting. Something must be done to fix the system. I’ve already given one idea that could work without instituting a playoff, which the powers-that-be are so adamantly opposed to. But a few things must happen without question: The Big 10 and PAC 10 must crown their champions in a championship game. The Big 10 will have to either add a team or cut a team for that to happen, but if Notre Dame would get off their high horse and join, both the Big 10 and ND would be better off for it. All the PAC 10 really has to do is schedule the game and play it, since they’ve already got an even number of teams, although it would be nice if they’d add a couple more teams to the pot.

The Big 10 and PAC 10 may already have plans to that effect. Surely they see that their lack of a conference championship is costing them consideration at season’s end. Everyone said the SEC would put themselves out of contention when they started up their championship game, but in fact, just the opposite has happened. The SEC is getting more consideration because of the championship game. Several other conferences have followed suit. At this point, to refrain is nothing more than a display of stubbornness.

There are ways to fix the system, NCAA. We all know you hate the idea of a playoff, despite the wishes of the fans of the sport, but there are other ways than the BCS. Use your imagination and come up with one, or just ask me, I’ve got a guaranteed formula for success. I call it the Super Conference.

AP voters, you’ve really screwed up this time. With USC leapfrogging Tech in the most recent polls, the BCS picture–still not reliable due to its dependence on voters’ opinions–is once again screwed up.

Let’s look at the losses these two teams have suffered. Both have one loss; USC’s to Oregon State, a 7-3 team with a conference loss to weakling Stanford, and TT’s to Oklahoma, another one-loss team whose only loss came at the hands of Texas, current one-loss #2 in the BCS. Aside from that, TT plays in a much stronger conference–and don’t give me that crap about how USC’s defense is the best in the nation, if TT was playing in the lackluster PAC-10 their defense would look stellar too.

How is it possible that two teams with one loss each can be ranked so wrong? There’s no way SC deserves to be ranked ahead of TT, other than the love affair current AP voters have with all-things Pete Carroll. Give us a break, AP, vote for body of work instead of who you’d like to see winning. At worst, TT shouldn’t have dropped below fifth.

The Big 12–of which I am not counted as a fan, by the way–should have some combination of teams ranked currently at numbers 2, 3, and 4. Period. How you rank them is up in the air, but there’s no question in my mind that Texas’s, Oklahoma’s and Texas Tech’s one loss each is a much better loss than either Florida (who lost to a pretty good team in Mississippi and should be ranked #5) and USC, who lost to Oregon State and should be ranked no higher than #6.

What’s really frustrating about this is that I don’t even see how there can be any question that it should be this way. So long as you’re looking at things rationally and with no bias, at this stage in the season the top ten is pretty clear cut. At least it is if you’re not an AP voter.

Here’s the current Houndstooth Top 10. There’s not much difference between this poll and the AP poll, except 1-5 and flip flopping Utah and Penn State. But at this point in the season every little spot counts big time, and USC just doesn’t deserve to be a top 5 team:

  1. Alabama
  2. Texas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Texas Tech
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Utah
  8. Penn State
  9. Boise State
  10. Georgia (I’d have no problem putting Oklahoma State in the ten spot)

Les Miles Sucks

Hey, one more note on the Houndstooth front, and nothing that should surprise anyone: LSU’s Les Miles is a big, fat boob. I know you LSU fans are tired of hearing it, but it’s about to be said again: Les has won with Nick Saban’s players. He won the national championship with Nick’s players, and now his true colors are coming out; with his own players, he can’t get it done. Not that I’m really eager for LSU to fire Miles, no, as an Alabama fan I’d rather them keep him around as long as possible. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching LSU suck for years to come. If they did hire a new coach though, and the new coach happens to be a fireballer…well; at that point LSU might once again be a contender. If Nick Saban was the LSU coach this year they’d win the national championship going away. Going away.

11-0

Not much else to say. Roll Tide Roll and keep on Rollin.