Who can stop NCAA's Alabama Crimson Tide? Nobody 0
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. (MIKE STONE/Reuters)
I dare ya.
Call it a dynasty. I will.
Back-to-back national championships and three NCAA football titles in four seasons is enough to give Alabama its due.
Ok, so we're only through three weeks of the U.S. college season. But the money's got to be firmly on the Crimson Tide at this point.
Especially after what we witnessed last Saturday night at Stanford, where the team that was supposed to hold back the Tide this season - the USC Trojans - were felled by the host Cardinal.
The No. 2 Men of Troy went down to rival Stanford in what is a shocker, only for the fact the best quarterback in the nation, Matt Barkley, and USC were supposed to conquer the country en route to the BCS National Championship Game.
Barring a wave of major upsets to ranked teams now above them on the AP Top 25 Poll - USC has fallen to No. 13 - the Trojans won't be playing in that title tilt Jan. 7 in Miami.
So who's to stop Alabama now that the Men of Troy have been slashed to their knees?
That's easy to answer.
'Bama's already taken on a ranked team and a previously ranked team, and respectively, the Crimson Tide have disposed of Michigan 41-14 and rival Arkansas 52-0. Both opponents came into the year ranked inside the top 10.
The Tide defence is just terrific, and the program's not missing a beat offensively without Trent Richardson, now with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, in the backfield.
So let's bring on challengers - if we can call them that.
No. 2 LSU? We've been down that road before. See last year minus too many key players.
No. 3 Oregon? Too one-dimensional - not enough defence.
No. 4 Florida State? Getting waaaaay too much respect early in the year.
Perhaps the only team in the top 10 that's got a shot at giving 'Bama a run for its money sits at No. 5 in Georgia. The Bulldogs have bite on both sides of the ball - enough to make them an SEC contender and, in turn, a national title contender. Whether it's enough to rise up against the Crimson Tide has yet to be determined.
Many have tried over the last three-plus seasons. But few have succeeded.
FIRST & GOAL
Holy finish, Batman! Did you catch the bizarre ending to the annual Holy War between Utah and BYU last Saturday? The Utes' 24-21 win was like a throwback to the band debacle of 1982 that saw California upend Stanford on a zany, lateral-filled final play - one that saw Stanford band members take to the field in a premature celebration, with the trombone guy getting flattened in the endzone on the winning touchdown. This time around, it was Utah fans, coaches and players charging the turf prematurely on what was thought to be two game-ending plays. They weren't allowed to celebrate until after an instant replay call to check the scoreclock on a last-ditch BYU throw and two subsequent field-goal attempts - one blocked and the other sent wide - by the Cougars.
FOURTH & INCHES
If Michigan's Denard Robinson wants a true shot to win the Heisman Trophy, he'll make hay against ranked foes. Sizzling efforts the last two weeks over UMass and Air Force don't cut it despite 499 total passing yards and 324 more on the ground. Robinson's going to have to dissect No. 10 Notre Dame's 'D' this Saturday, and the bottom line may look more like his Week 1 flub vs. Alabama, when he posted just 200 passing and 27 rushing yards . So what happens for Florida State now that it'll have to play real teams? A 3-0 perfect start came against Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest for a combined 176-3 score. Next up is No. 10 Clemson, so maybe then we can truly see how the Seminoles stack up . Riddle me this - how is Air Force a powerhouse along the ground, with its 387 yards per-game average tops in the country? Shouldn't it be throwing the ball, given the school's aerial focus? Navy, too, puts a premium on running the ball, also unusual given this is an air and ship school. Now, Army's got it right - it loves the ground attack. Trouble is, the Black Knights (384) are the second best rushers in the nation to Air Force.
On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof