Columnists, Sports

Driving the Lane: Keep on Rolling

I don’t like the University of Alabama.

Continuation without a helmet is actually a penalty? Are you kidding me? That’s called being a man. Did you see this call during the Alabama vs. Texas A&M University game Saturday? The Tide offense was driving, and the Aggies desperately needed a stop. A Bama offensive lineman (probably illegally) pushed off the helmet of an A&M defensive lineman on a running play. Said defensive lineman then instinctively went to try to stop the ball carrier. But somehow this player was then called for a penalty.

According to the NCAA rules, this player should have just given up on the play after he lost his helmet. During what might be the biggest game of his life, he’s just supposed to watch the ball carrier run by him and do nothing. Bama eventually went down the field and scored on this drive. I understand that these rules are designed for player safety, but this is where I draw the line. This now takes the title as the most ridiculous rule in sports.

But Alabama would be the beneficiary of this terrible rule. That’s just how things have been going for them the past five years. Thanks in part to this silly rule, Alabama won a huge game and continued its dominance in the SEC.

Alabama just survived what may have been its best chance to lose this year. Even when the Tide’s vaunted defense allowed 42 points to Jonathan Tackle Football, Alabama still won. After back-to-back championships, Alabama is still firmly the number one team in the country.

Who’s going to stop these guys? The more success they have, the better players they recruit. And the better players they recruit, the more success they have. It’s a seemingly endless cycle.

But it has to end at some point, right? Otherwise, by this logic, no dominant college football program would ever stop being dominant. And this is not the case. But Alabama is different. It hasn’t dominated because of a plethora of skill position players like other programs have.

The University of Southern California dominated because it had Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Once it lost them, the magic stopped. The University of Florida had Tim Tebow and a bunch of speedsters on the outside. Without Tebow, the Gators just haven’t been the same.

But Bama is different. They’ve never had a star quarterback. A.J. McCarron is just a glorified game manager. He’s the product of the best situation a quarterback could ever dream of. Sure, they’ve had the best running backs coming out of the draft every year. But I believe this is more of a product of Alabama having the best offensive line in the country every year.

Alabama has built its success by having the nation’s best defense and dominating the line of scrimmage on offense. This is why its success is so sustainable. ‘Bama is not reliant upon any one player. Even when it loses a great player to the NFL, its recruiting is so strong that there is always someone to replace him, a next man up. There is no stopping these guys.

I hate it. The words “Roll Tide” make me sick. All other sports dynasties at least have an end in sight. The Heat won’t be the Heat once LeBron is gone. The Patriots’ run of dominance will end when Tom Brady retires (which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time). But there is no end in sight for Alabama because it’s not about the players. It’s all about the system.

I challenge any college football program to stop these guys. Please, this isn’t good for college football. Everybody likes parity. But right now, it’s all Bama. It is probably going to win the SEC then steamroll whichever non-SEC team makes the National Championship Game this year.

It’s like Tiger Woods back before his wife tried to club him with a 3-wood. You were actually better off picking Tiger over the entire field. If someone asked me to bet on Alabama or the field, I’m taking Bama. And as a statistics major, I find this crazy given how many other teams there are. But Alabama is just that good.

So please, somebody needs to beat them. But I just don’t see that happening. Maybe all we can hope for is some huge scandal of NCAA violations. A few bowl bans and lost scholarships ought to stop these guys, right? Right?

One Comment

  1. roll tide