Upset-proof Tide just keep rolling
We interrupt your regularly scheduled upsets to bring you a report on the most efficient team in America. In case you slept through it, Alabama steamrolled another opponent Saturday. This time it was Arkansas, an alleged budding offensive juggernaut led by a mad genius coach and cannon-armed quarterback.
Alabama won, 35-7.
Sorry, national television audience. Alabama refused to get caught in the rise-and-fall cycle that consumed Ole Miss, Cal and Miami this week. Alabama is the football equivalent of Honda, cranking out a reliable, dependable, un-sexy product that will roll for 300,000 miles as long as coach
If all this sounds boring, it's not. There's something comforting in a team built to dominate both lines of scrimmage. There's a touch of they-don't-make-em-like-that-anymore nostalgia for team that still uses the run to set up the pass. "Being efficient," Alabama quarterback
McElroy is Captain Efficiency. On Saturday, he completed 17 of 24 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. That equates to a passer rating of 213.9. On the other side of the ball, Alabama allowed a stingily efficient 3.8 yards a play and 4.7 yards per pass attempt. Entering Saturday, Arkansas quarterback
In the age of the 85-scholarship limit, we're conditioned to expect upsets. It's not a satisfying college football weekend without them. That's great for fans and terrible for coaches and players, who must keep winning if they hope to play for a national title. For them, boring is great. Boring is a far superior alternative to what happened to the Rebels, Golden Bears and Hurricanes.
Since Alabama's season-opening slugfest against Virginia Tech, the Crimson Tide have faced little adversity. On the rare occasion when the Tide has been challenged, they've responded with extreme prejudice. On Saturday, Mallett hit tight end
The loss of Hightower was handled with equal efficiency. Cory
Most teams couldn't be ready because they wouldn't have the depth. Alabama used to be one of those teams. "A couple of years ago," Reamer said, "I don't know if we'd been able to do that." Now, like Florida, Texas and USC, the Tide can simply shove another blue-chipper into the fray.
This isn't to say that Alabama is vanilla. The Tide's second touchdown is perfect evidence: Tailback
A more telling statistic is the fact that while Alabama only had one scoring drive longer than 3:14, the Tide still kept the ball seven minutes longer than the Razorbacks. The lone long drive was a 99-yarder that might never have gotten rolling had McElroy not altered the inflection of his cadence to draw a Razorback offsides and get the Tide off their own goal line. McElroy downplayed the importance of his quick thinking; but like the auto designer who puts the cupholder in the perfect spot, the little things matter.
So call the Tide efficient. Heck, call Alabama boring. It doesn't matter, as long as at the end of the day you also call it a winner.